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Man flees the scene after hitting a woman riding in northeast Portland – UPDATED

Posted by on October 23rd, 2015 at 4:45 pm

hitrun-aleah

Aleah Greene receiving treatment at the scene last night.
(Photo: Brad Biddle)

Portlander Aleah Greene is recovering from her injuries after she was involved in a collision yesterday evening.

At around 6:00 last night Greene was riding her bike at Northeast 13th and Wygant whe she was struck by a man driving a Dodge Caravan. Here’s how Greene remembers it:

“It all happened pretty quick. I was riding down 13th (helmet and lights on), when I got to the intersection of Wygant and started passing through I noticed the white van heading towards me was not stopping and was turning left into/in front of me. I don’t remember seeing a signal. We both had the right of way, no stop signs were run. He just didn’t see me is what he said.

I had split seconds to react so luckily I turned my shoulder into the car when I hit instead of my face/head. I wasn’t thrown thank god, I hit and rolled off and fell to the ground. Most of the impact was to my left outer shin/calf and right inner/top ankle, I have a slight bump on my nose. But it could’ve been much worse so I’m fortunate.”

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Brad Biddle and his wife heard the collision and arrived on the scene right after it happened. Biddle snapped a photo of the man who hit Aleah. Then, as Biddle called 911 he says, “the driver jumped in his car and raced away.”

According to Greene, the man is still on the loose. He’s driving a late 1990s white Dodge caravan with temporary Delaware plates.

Thankfully, Biddle snapped a good photo of the suspect and the police are using it in their investigation. (I’ve decided to not post the photo because the man has not been proven guilty of any crimes.)

We heard from Greene via email just a few minutes ago. She’s feeling pretty sore and has, “gnarly bumps and bruises, and some lightheadedness.” Her bike is totaled and will require $350 to get back on the road. “At that price I’m just going to buy a new bike,” she said. “It was an oldy I bought off craigslist years ago, but I put so much into it over the past 6 years it’s said to see her broken.”

If you have any information about this collision or this vehicle, please call the Portland Police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333 or contact Officer Patrick Johnson via email at patrick.johnson@portlandoregon.gov.

UPDATE, 6:42pm: The suspect has been caught! Here’s what I just read from Ms. Greene:

“I have such good news! We found the guy thanks to the posts you all posted. Turns out the guy lives next door to me, very very strange…. I can’t say again how much I appreciate all that you have done.

Also, I just realized this all came about because one of our readers took action after reading this post. Here’s the comment Rob posted below:

Oddest series of events I’ve ever been in. I saw the Delaware tags, so stopped to take a picture. Then I crossed the next intersection to stop and call the police non-emergency number.

While I was on hold, the Fox-12 News van pulled up. I assumed someone else had called it in, but no it turns out I was in front of the victim’s home and they were there for an interview.

Aleah (the victim) comes out and I give her the phone to talk to the police. In the mean time the drive comes out and the Fox-12 people go and confront him – not surprisingly he runs off.

Anyhow, last I saw the cops were on the their way and the driver was positively identified.

UPDATE: Fox-12 TV was on the scene when it all went down and they talked to Rob. Read their story here

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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peejay
Guest
peejay

I wonder if the local media will stop its gleeful anti-bike coverage of the past few days because of this. Nah, I didn’t think so. Get well, Aleah, and I hope they catch the sociopath who did this.

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

Late 1990s white Dodge Caravan with temporary Delaware plates. Should be easy to find it if it’s still in the Pacific Northwest.

Where’s that photo of the driver?

Anne Hawley
Subscriber
Anne Hawley

Discouraging. So discouraging. I hope Aleah gets well quickly and is able to find another bike she can afford and love. So glad Brad Biddle and his wife were on hand to lend support.

daisy
Guest
daisy

Fast healing, Aleah! Sorry you got hit by a jerk. 🙁

Cheers to Brad and his wife for rushing to help — and for thinking to snap a photo of the assailant!

Adam
Subscriber

The driver should lose their license for life. We can not tolerate this behaviour and maintain a productive society. People who do this kind of thing should permanently lose the right to operate a dangerous machine.

Get well soon, Aleah!

Mossby Pomegranate
Guest
Mossby Pomegranate

Could we say the same about cyclists who run lights and mow down pedestrians?

Ron
Guest
Ron

Wow. Can you say false equivalence? Look at some statistics. Dangerous and idiotic people on 30 pound bikes are no match for dangerous idiots driving 3000 pound cars.

Mossby Pomegranate
Guest
Mossby Pomegranate

Carole Barkley might disagree with ya there.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

What if the results are the same? You know, expensive, debilitating, life threatening injuries that will be with the victim for the rest of their life.

It isn’t as likely with a bicycle but it IS possible and the knee-jerk reaction “BUT! BUT! HE WAS ONLY RIDING A BIKE!” is not diplomatic immunity nor absolution of responsibility.

9watts
Subscriber

There are a few persistent folk here who delight in this sort of false equivalence. Not sure what keeps them motivated.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

I expect people in cars to lose touch with what it’s like to be a vulnerable road user. I don’t expect that from a cyclist. Why defend them? And if you think it’s just fine to be hit by 200+ pounds of bike and cyclist at 15-20 mph, then be my guest.

9watts
Subscriber

Lester,
the difference I’d highlight here is that cars, by their very design, are simply not a good fit for our human frailties. The speeds their designs encourage, the difficulty seeing out of one, the minimal training people are required to have to pilot one, etc. all play roles in making this a 33,000 x per year problem (and those are just deaths). The bicycle, by contrast, has almost none of those in-built, systemic, dangers. Which doesn’t mean that careless or arrogant people riding them can’t inflict injury or even death, but I’d venture that this is both statistically and physically going to always be the exception, is not usefully treated as a set of circumstances that should govern how we treat the category of bicycles.

Let’s face it: Our roads are dangerous places to be for everyone, regardless of mode, but not, by and large, because of people on bikes (the ubiquity of bike on Dutch roads and their injury statistics should if nothing else suggest otherwise).

9watts
Subscriber

Not to mention the fact that on the *rare* occasion when someone on a bike acts like this the media, law enforcement, public opinion is all over this in an altogether disproportionate fashion to how the same cast of characters shrugs when the perpetrator is in a car and the victim on a bike, quite apart from the physics and statistics that point to the latter as a bigger threat.

J_R
Guest
J_R

If the vehicle operator (motorist or bicyclist) leaves the scene the result should be the same – prison time.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

Nope. We blame the infrastructure.

Randall S.
Guest
Randall S.

Sure. I’ve seen one cyclist run a light and hit a pedestrian in the 35ish years I’ve been alive, whereas there are thousands of pedestrians killed and even more struck by cars ignoring traffic laws.

I’m more than willing to trade a handful of reckless cyclists for the tens of thousands of literally reckless AND life-threatening motorists.

Alan Love
Guest
Alan Love

Unfortunately, revoked licenses don’t seem to mean much. It seems a good deal of hit and runs seem to involve those who have already lost their license but drive anyway, hence the “run” part.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Photo of the suspect posted here, may help in locating him.

Rob
Guest
Rob

We found him. After reading this I saw the van on my way home. He was parked just down the street from the victim.

buildwithjoe
Guest

Always get a lawyer as a victim of hit and run and always file for punitive damages. You can win.

http://www.bikelaw.com/2015/10/22/taxi-driver-flees-crash-with-chicago-bicyclist-later-pays/

In 1995 I was the bike victim of a car who made an illegal left turn into me and then hit and run. Took just 2 weeks of trying different routes to/from work to find the car. The cops took care of the driver. My expensive frame that was crushed was replaced thanks to a lot of extra hard work. I should have gotten a lawyer, as the driver remained arrogant and only made it worse when the cops got involved. Still thought she was not at fault. I feel she went on driving too fast and illegally with no lesson learned.

Lizzy
Guest
Lizzy

Yes, and always get medically checked out very thoroughly. You may have a concussion and other hidden injuries.

Rob
Guest
Rob

Oddest series of events I’ve ever been in. I saw the Delaware tags, so stopped to take a picture. Then I crossed the next intersection to stop and call the police non-emergency number.

While I was on hold, the Fox-12 News van pulled up. I assumed someone else had called it in, but no it turns out I was in front of the victim’s home and they were there for an interview.

Aleah (the victim) comes out and I give her the phone to talk to the police. In the mean time the drive comes out and the Fox-12 people go and confront him – not surprisingly he runs off.

Anyhow, last I saw the cops were on the their way and the driver was positively identified.

bjorn
Guest
bjorn

Does anyone know how long it took between the collision and when they caught him? Long enough to sober up?

Electric Mayhem
Guest
Electric Mayhem

Yes!

Aleah
Guest
Aleah

I just want to say thank you to everyone for the kind words, but in particular Mare, Brad, Jonathan, and Rob for being my heros and just being in the right place at the right time. I’m going to get justice a lot sooner than I thought, I honestly thought probably not at all. I’m truly amazed by the community in this town. Another reason I love it so much! I don’t know what else to say, so thank you thank you thank you

J_R
Guest
J_R

Aleah: Some advice. Get an attorney. Let your attorney do the talking for you with the driver’s insurance company, assuming he has any. Keep a detailed log of all your aches, pains, medications, sleeplessness, dizziness, etc. Based on my sister-in-law’s adventure, be prepared to go through hell to get justice and financial compensation for your losses and injuries.

John H
Guest
John H

J_R that is GREAT advice. Aleah – and I do wish her the best possible treatment and recovery – has already made one big mistake, saying “We both had the right of way.” There is no such thing. ONE driver/person has the right of way, the other does not; that’s why it’s called the right of way. Much like “whose turn is it?” in checkers, it’s either A’s turn to go, or B’s turn to go, but it can’t be both.

http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/801.440

Hire an attorney immediately and then Stop Talking about it, to friends, neighbors, websites and blogs, etc. Discuss your injuries and treatment with your doctors and other medical professionals. Let your attorney decide what information to release, to whom, when, and under what circumstances.

IMHO… when the “driver” who did not have a license (“he was driving without a license, he said”) got behind the wheel and started the engine, he was ALREADY guilty, and should be in jail just for that, even if he hadn’t crashed into someone.

Kudos to the witness who took a picture of the hit-and-run driver.

Steve Scarich
Guest
Steve Scarich

Gotta disagree. I was hit by a car last year. Minimal damage to me and my bike. I got $4000 pain and suffering and all bike repairs. State Farm was more than fair. I think a lawyer would have unnecessarily complicated, delayed, and reduced my payout. I say that because my claim was ‘small’ by industry standards (I used to be an adjuster for Farmers). If a lawyer had gotten involved in my claim, I would have had to prove all my expenses (which amounted to less than $400), the insurance company would have figured out that fighting me would be in their best interests. I do agree, that if you are not 100% sure of your medical recovery, wait and maybe hire an attorney.

ethan
Guest
ethan

I could be wrong, but Wygant has a stop sign. I used to take 13th daily.

I hope she recovers soon.

ethan
Guest
ethan

And if anyone wants to contact her, I live off thirteenth and have a bike that she is welcome to use for as long as she needs.

Aleah
Guest
Aleah

Ethan thank you so much, very kind! I’ll probably take public transport until my nerves settle 🙂 after that I think I have a bike I can get my hands on.

ethan
Guest
ethan

No problems! If you do end up needing a bike, or anything else, I could help you out. Best of luck with your recovery and I hope your nerves get settled soon.

Larry Erickson
Guest
Larry Erickson

There are most definitely stop signs. One even shows up in the Brad Biddle photo posted at the top of the article.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

This sounds like a “left cross” where both the rider and driver were on 13th, headed toward each other, when the driver decided to turn left onto Wygant without first looking for other traffic.

mark
Guest
mark

A semi happy ending. Just think…had the guy stayed…he would have possibly been given a ticket.

Possibly.

Now? He committed a crime.

buildwithjoe
Guest

Had the car driver hit and stopped there would be no ticket. There is still no ticket for the driver who jumped the curb and killed a pedestrian on the Burnside Ave sidewalk. Excuse was he passed out on his soda. Cops said no law was broken. I’m serious. I looked up the record of the driver in the courthouse computers next to city hall. Then I waited weeks for staff from the Mayors office to say no law was broken because the driver was unconscious. Yet another story for bikeportland or Portlandia.

Dead Salmon
Guest
Dead Salmon

Article says he choked on soda and passed out. Guess it could happen…..
http://www.kgw.com/story/news/local/2015/06/14/burnside-bridge-closed/71222796/

If you pass out, the accident isn’t your fault – you wouldn’t even know it happened. You didn’t do it on purpose. Thus, no crime committed. Seems fair to me. Even though it wasn’t a crime, you might still lose a civil lawsuit and be ruined financially – unless your insurance paid the amount awarded. Then, you get to live with that guilt for the rest of your life and if you’re a good person, that’s probably not easy.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

This would be a great excuse to use for all traffic infractions. “But officer, I must have passed out just before the intersection, then regained consciousness on the other side! I just didn’t see that red light—how could I, being passed out and all?”

Granted, “medical emergencies” are a touchy area, but what seems “fair” to me, is that if you know you have a medical condition, such as epilepsy or diabetes, or you choose to engage in any activity in your car that could lead to a “medical emergency”, e.g., holding hot coffee in a paper cup, smoking, eating, drinking sodas, sticking a mascara brush in your eye, holding your breath in a tunnel—whatever—you are responsible for the outcome.

I know we could slippery-slope it to discuss “DWO” (driving while old), and the heart attacks and strokes that might occur in the upper age groups, but those events seem to be in a different category than things involving gambling with known conditions or distracting activities.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I know that New York City has a staggering number of crashes each year classified as “accelerator stuck”. I guess they are just taking the driver’s word for it.

Regarding DWO, this is precisely why we need safe routes for walking and good transit connectivity. No one should feel like they have to drive to survive in a city. It creates really dangerous situations when people lose vision, hearing, and motor skills.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

“I know we could slippery-slope it to discuss “DWO” (driving while old)…”

As a soon to be fully-vested old person, I have a real problem with old people getting behind the wheel. After age 70, old drivers are as lethally dangerous on a per mile basis as brand-new teen-age drivers. At least we put some restrictions on teenagers’ licenses.

Every driver needs to have a trusted person to tell them when “it’s time”. (Time to give up driving.) There was a memorable Dear Abby in which no one wanted to hurt grandpa’s feelings by telling him he was a menace on the road. Then grandpa severed his grandson’s legs with his car. We all age, if we’re lucky. All old people lose reflexes, hearing, sight, cognitive function and flexibility, all of which are important for safe driving. Our elders need to grow up and give up their car keys.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

In this case, the driver would likely be cited for “dangerous left turn”, if the “investigation” led officers to believe he indeed made a left without yielding to oncoming traffic.

9watts
Subscriber

Analogous (but without any traffic lights) to the situation at SE 21st & Powell in which Alastair Corkett lost his leg?

SD
Guest
SD

Next block party is going to be awkward.

9watts
Subscriber

Or even just taking out the garbage…

Brock
Guest
Brock

Last time I got hit and the driver left the scene I suffered a broken hand, 2 broken ribs and a concussion. I hadn’t been at my new job long enough for health insurance so I ended up paying out of pocket. A news team never showed up to my house nor did my story end up on Bikeportland.org, I just dealt with it. Since when did this scenario become news? I’m glad that Aleah survived with minor injuries and the driver was located and will hopefully be prosecuted to the fullest but seriously?! Maybe next time someone purposely hits me with their car I’ll do what everyone else does these days and create a Kickstarter campaign.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

“seriously?!” – Brock

Yeah, seriously. This should happen EVERY time there’s a hit-and-run or other vehicular outrage. Sorry it didn’t happen in your case, but that’s no good reason for sour grapes.

still riding after all that
Guest
still riding after all that

I was teetering on the edge of should-I-subscribe, and this comment did it for me. The idea that when something bad happens to someone, people who don’t know the victim and have nothing to gain will jump in and lend a helping hand… well, it restores a bit of my faith in humanity.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

Welcome to the new age where the power of social media channels is extremely evident.

I’m not sure how long ago your incident was, and I’m glad you’ve healed up, but maybe the reason your story didn’t make the news was that it didn’t get on the social medias, people didn’t stop and help you by taking pictures of the person who assaulted you, whatever.

You can’t blame your lack of news stories on other people– did you post the info about the vehicle that hit you on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/etc etc etc? Did you contact BikePortland? Did you get witness statements?

I’m just saying that there’s a lot that people can do to help out victims of these things.

kittens
Guest
kittens

Can’t wait for helmet cams to get smaller and more affordable so I can deploy one.

Not a fan of the modern surveillance state but sometimes you just have to fight with everything you got. Also want a dash cam to make sure someone else’s bad day doesn’t become my nightmare. Sad it has come to this.

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

kittens, I recently picked up a Soocoo action camera from the evil empi… I mean Amazon with mounting hardware for less than $100. A micro SF card , some gorilla tape and a bit of Velcro strap later and it mounted nicely to my helmet. It adds a little weight but not enough to be bothersome.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Jonathan, perhaps it’s time for an article on how to do a citizens arrest.

Random
Guest
Random

The suspect has already been released from jail.

No bail – released on own recognizance. He did spend the night in jail, however.

Chad
Guest
Chad

He ran twice and gets no bail. God our legal system sucks sometimes.

Random
Guest
Random

Yeah, it’s pretty bizarre that the legal system assumes that someone accused of hit and run will voluntarily show up for court hearings without having to post bail.

bjorn
Guest
bjorn

I think the photo should have been published at least until he was caught. Finding hit and run drivers is hard enough with all available information and the longer it takes the more likely evidence will have been destroyed by the assailant.

Brad Biddle
Subscriber

Great work Rob and Jonathan!

It’s obviously and certainly good that he’s caught, and I also find myself feeling bad for the guy: he made a terrible decision in a stressful moment, and that decision is going to be so costly for him. In the minute or so that we interacted with him at the accident scene before he took off, he seemed like a not-horrible person (e.g. he wasn’t indifferent to Aleah’s condition) — just wildly over-focused on the idea that he was going to be in trouble (he was driving without a license, he said). Ironic, of course, because now the trouble is so much worse.

9watts
Subscriber

“now the trouble is so much worse.”

Worse yes, but my hunch would be the trouble he’s in won’t be all that much in toto. I mean he was driving a car. That right there provides an unparalleled amount of immunity.

pink$$
Guest
pink$$

Not-horrible people still deserve to feel horrible if they do something horrible and make bad decisions about it afterwards.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I wonder what would have happened if he would have stayed, apologized and promised to make his victim whole again. I’m betting he would have been out a couple Benjamins with no official involvement whatsoever.

TheRealisticOne
Guest
TheRealisticOne

Brad, I applaud your empathy but I don’t feel the same way. Please remember, he hit someone and ran. He didn’t man up, he didn’t take responsibility for his actions. Frankly, that makes him a piece of poop, I have no sympathy for him, I hope he gets what should be coming.

bjorn
Guest
bjorn

Not true, he made a terrible decision before the collision to drive with no license and no insurance. The victim is likely going to have a huge uphill battle to be made whole and I doubt she will be successful.

eddie
Guest
eddie

wait, why will it be hard for the victim? seems pretty cut and dry, the driver is gonna get the shaft here.. sorry i missed something

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

Driver has no license, which almost certainly means driver has no insurance, and he is more likely judgement proof than wealthy so at a minimum she will have to go to small claims court to sue him which involves paying a bunch of court costs and then even if she is victorious she still has to figure out some way to collect the money etc. etc. etc.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

You never know when that cyclist (or driver) you threaten or yell at will be your neighbor…

Mark
Guest
Mark

Thankfully the bystander took a photo. Without that. I suspect the DA would say ” can’t prove it.”.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

So he gets temporary Delaware plates in September, and comes out to Oregon with the van. I see that the plates are still valid, but something just seems odd here. I wouldn’t be surprised if something else illegal is going on here.

They should crush his van into a cube.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Yes something may be up regarding the registration etc.

But as for crushing the vehicle – its not the “van’s” fault it was used in a crime. It should have more years of service left as long as it in in the hands of another operator. (Think of all the energy and carbon pollution that went into its creation.) Also, the van may be the only asset the operator has to help defray the cyclist’s medical and other costs. (She could choose to crush it if so motivated if it became her property…or use it for good…like transporting adults to create a commuter trainings at the CCC etc.)

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Vans don’t kill people…

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

Nickle to a hole in a donut that he will be in another state by Monday morning with a spray can paint job.

Joshman!
Guest
Joshman!

From the bicyclist own words, the driver probably would have gotten a failure to yield ticket at most. But leaving the scene never works out, now he’s facing jail tim.

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

What is so terrifying about a failure to yield ticket that causes so many people to A) not stop and render aid like a normal human being, B) flee the scene and risk jail time?

J_R
Guest
J_R

There won’t be any jail time. The pick-up driver in Springfield who blew a red light at 40 mph and killed three children didn’t even get any jail time!

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

What does that have to do with this?

Lopes was already booked in jail.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

This is why everyone should have a ride camera.

In Russia, nearly every motorist has a dashcam because of the frequency of reckless drivers, lack of law enforcement, and incompetence in the criminal justice system. Cyclists in Portland are stuck with the same problems.

Ride-cams aren’t a panacea, but provide a record when one is needed.

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

Has the boom in russian dashcams reduced crashes?

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

Couldn’t tell you but Russian dash cam footage is one of the best things about YouTube.

lop
Guest
lop

It’s reduced insurance fraud.

Joshman!
Guest
Joshman!

Dashcam’s in Russia are required if you want insurance, that’s why there are so many. Bike cams will be just one more thing to get stolen. I have enough trouble trying to get my gopro working for the times I know I want it, let alone have it charged, enough memory and running when I’m commuting.

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

Nearly 10% of Oregon drivers are operating without one or more of the following: registration, (valid) license, and insurance. This is sad and scary.
And 0% pay for their fair share of the roads.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

I think it might be higher…since 10% sounds like only one of the above missing items (data about insurance likely).

oliver
Guest
oliver

Minivans replaced the Full size SUV as my cycling nemesis 5 or 6 years ago.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

SUV’s or minivans are the civilian equivalent of “Armored Personnel Vehicles”. Been that way forever. It makes no difference if they are distracted Soccer Moms or Stoners drinking or snorting coke or texting. The result is the same.