Witness version of fatal Polk County crash differs from police

Approximate location on Wallace Rd where the collision happened.

“They’re saying he fell into the road and if that was my family, I would want to know exactly what happened. The truck never moved over. I feel like they’re protecting the driver.”

– RM, witness

A driver who saw the tragic collision that took the life of Vancouver teacher Adam Joy has come forward to try and set the record straight.

On June 10th, Joy was biking with his young son on Wallace Road NW in rural Polk County when he was involved in a collision with the driver of a Ford F-350 truck. Joy was hit from behind and did not survive. A woman who saw it happen is frustrated because she believes the official account shared by the Oregon State Police (and parroted by media outlets statewide) is false.

As we reported last week, the police statement issued on June 12th included a number statements about what they believed took place. “The bicyclist fell over, into the lane of travel, just as the F-350 passed,” the OSP statement reads. “Even though the F-350 had slowed when passing, the rider of the bicycle was run over by the F-350.” (Note: Oregon law says drivers must give bicycle riders enough space when passing so that if they were to fall over a driver would not hit them.)

Adam Joy. (Photo: Vancouver Public Schools)

The F-350 was being driven by McMinnville resident Robert Weeks. Given that the police didn’t see what happened and that the other party in the collision was unable to speak, it seems as though the OSP simply accepted Weeks’ version of what happened. They then issued a statement. The media repeated that statement. And the narrative — that Joy, a highly experienced bicycle rider, just happened to fall over right as a large truck passed him — was set.

But based on a conversation I had this morning with someone who saw the entire crash unfold from a close distance, what actually happened might have been much different.

A woman named RM (I’m using fake initials because she asked to remain anonymous) says she was driving her Chrysler Pacific minivan north on Wallace Road on Saturday and had just passed Hopewell Road when she began to see oncoming traffic come into her lane. Then she realized why: There were two bicycle riders on the southbound shoulder heading toward her.

“So I was scooting over onto the shoulder a bit to let people have enough room to go into the middle of the road,” RM recalled. “I had done this for three cars before I saw the truck.”

As Weeks and his F-350 approached RM’s minivan, she realized something wasn’t right. “I was like, ‘Oh, that truck is going pretty fast,'”. So RM slowed even more (as did the car in front of her). Then she noticed Adam Joy look back over his shoulder toward the oncoming truck.

“The truck [which RM described as a “big fricking truck”] never moved over. And then he clipped him. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It was very obvious that [the truck driver] didn’t stop or swerve,” RM said.

RM then pulled over, called 911 and waited for police to show up. She wanted to share what she saw with OSP troopers who arrived at the scene; but says she (along with at least one other witness) was told to leave the scene (this could have been due to safety concerns given the road is narrow and there’s no shoulder). She left her phone number and was told she would be called for a statement. RM then read about the crash in the news and was disturbed to learn the OSP statement didn’t match what she saw.

“It bothered me. Why would they say that? Why would they say that? They’re saying he fell into the road. If that was my family, I would want to know exactly what happened. I feel like they’re protecting the driver.”

She has tried for over a week to contact various law enforcement officials to share her story, but has not been able to do so. She has left messages and has not heard back. She has reached full voicemail boxes.

BikePortland tried to call the Polk County DA’s office, but no one picked up and there’s no option to leave a voice message. Emails to DA Aaron Felton have not yet been returned. Inquiries to the OSP have been referred to the DA’s office.

RM won’t give up. She wants the public — and more importantly, the family — to know what she saw.

“I feel for that man and his family so much,” she told me. “For everything that I saw, he was doing everything right. He was checking, he was all the way over. This truck did not move over any… any little bit.”


UPDATE, 6/23: I’ve spoken to OSP Capt. Kyle Kennedy about this witness. He says they have every intention of doing a full investigation and all facts will be considered. I can also confirm that they have gotten in touch with RM and have taken her statement. “It will be documented and considered during the course of the investigation,” Kennedy said. Stay tuned.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Slow Eddy
Slow Eddy
1 year ago

It’s time for the bicycle community to respond to this. I think the Bikeportland blog is doing its job well and RM is doing what she can and appears to be ready to do more. We need to take the next steps. There are a number of reasons to do so:

– Mainly, because we’re now nearly certain that law enforcement is acting in a way that’s at least negligent and probably hostile to bicyclists. It’s was already obvious that the OSP had 100% accepted the driver’s account. That’s the only way they could make any inferences about Mr. Joy ‘falling into the truck’s path or the driver slowing down. Now we have an actual witness with a different account who, along with another witness, was sent away and has not since been allowed to give her account either to the OSP or to the Polk Count DA. This is not only unjust but dangerous.

– The media have repeated the OSP account at face value even though anyone with the slightest bit of ability to think critically should immediately want to ask how they knew about the falling cyclist and the slowing truck, and journalists much more so. There’s no chance of preventing more such fatal encounters without getting accurate information out and that won’t happen unless blatant disinformation is responded to with strength and persistence.

– The public, including drivers, need to know what’s really happening out there. In my experience, most people, including those with pickups, really try to keep cyclists safe. Calling attention to what really happened here and the terrible role that law enforcement and the media have played, I think, would change how many people drive. For example, I doubt that more than 1 out of a hundred drivers know about the change in rules for passing bikes. I only learned about it from reading Bikeportland. Busy, frustrated commuters who don’t really want to kill anyone might think a bit more about how they drive near more vulnerable road users.

I think focusing on the above is much better, much more worthwhile than wallowing in hate for and wanting to lynch the driver in this case. So, rallies, picket lines? I confess that I haven’t participated in any organized pro-biking political activity in some years. I’m ready, now.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
1 year ago
Reply to  Slow Eddy

wallowing in hate for and wanting to lynch the driver in this case

Several bales of premium quality alfalfa hay were used to build the above strawman.

No one here suggested the driver should be lynched and no one wrote that they “hated” the driver.

Todd/Boulanger
1 year ago

For the BP readers seeking to take constructive action for the family of Mr. Joy [+other rural cyclists/ pedestrians] and who are Oregon residents/ voters please consider an organized effort to communicate to your local and state representatives WHY Oregon State Police (OSP) needs to revise how it communicates traffic crash press description conducts witness interviews in a more professional manner (based on this recent report)..

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
1 year ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

Or one could contact the actual branch of government that has absolute authority over the OSP: Governor Tina Kotek.

Superintendent Casey Codding, appointed by the Governor as the 15th Superintendent of the Oregon State Police, began his career serving Oregon as an OSP Cadet in 1996 and has over 26 years of Law Enforcement experience with the agency.

HJ
HJ
1 year ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

Absolutely. It’s far more important than people realize.
When my dad was killed while riding I first heard about the crash on the radio as I was driving. A “serious injury” that had the road closed where I knew he was riding. I figured worst case I’d get a call telling me which hospital to go to. Sadly not the case, he died at the scene. The drive home was excruciating.
The police didn’t tell us any details about what happened. Absolutely none. Only that dad was in a crash and died. All the initial information I got with any kind of info (including things as basic as direction of travel) came from BikePortland. (Thank you Jonathan for your always excellent and impartial reporting, it is greatly appreciated)
It took us 4 months and a lawyer to get a copy of the police report to find out what really happened.
Thankfully in our case the WCSO did a half decent job of being impartial and objective in their statements. If they hadn’t? I shudder to think. The phrase cruel and unusual is all that comes to mind. Not knowing is awful, but it’s better than biased inaccurate statements.
The police have a duty to not exacerbate the harm caused by these situations. FWIW I think most take that very seriously and try their best to tread carefully. But it only takes one person to screw it up. That people actually responsible for public statements are willing to be so irresponsible not only harms society as a whole and in particular victims and their families, but also the entire force of officers that they represent.
Frankly whomever was responsible for releasing the false statement to the press should be fired.

fselker
fselker
1 year ago

I propose that the state government convene a committee to address this crisis. I have proposed this to Gov. Kotek and my representatives and encourage others to do so if you agree.

Here was my brief note:

Dear Sen. Lieberi,

It is time for change. Please read this shocking story, which is all too familiar to those of us who walk and bicycle on Oregon’s roads:

https://bikeportland.org/2023/06/20/witness-version-of-fatal-polk-county-crash-differs-from-police-376374

The police do not hold drivers accountable. The prosecutors and courts follow their lead. 

I propose a committee be formed to find a solution. I could nominate several outstanding attorneys knowledgeable about pedestrian and cycling.

We are overdue to address this menace and injustice.

Thank you for your consideration,

Frank Selker

Megan
Megan
1 year ago
Reply to  fselker

Thank you for taking this step Frank.

Ozan Ugurlu
Ozan Ugurlu
1 year ago
Reply to  fselker

Thank you Frank. Similar to others I really want to do something to help the biking community, educate drivers and get the cops to protect cyclists as they supposed to but I don’t know where to start. I read most of the comments here and yours seems to be the only action anyone took. I would like to use your letter and send it to Tina Kotek as well but I don’t know how to send proposals Tina Kotek and representatives. Could you please share the link or steps to do that?

fselker
fselker
1 year ago
Reply to  Ozan Ugurlu

Thank you. I think this is a concrete way to get action. One Senator I contacted already reached out to the OSP about this – that’s progress.

Please write Gov. Kotek and your representatives. They need to know this is a problem. Feel free to use/modify my letter above:
https://www.oregon.gov/gov/Pages/share-your-opinion.aspx

Find your state representative and senator to contact: https://geo.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/lookup/index.html?appid=fd070b56c975456ea2a25f7e3f4289d1

jakeco969
jakeco969
1 year ago

Kudos to RM for their persistence in trying to be heard. With this new witness statement it seems to confirms many suspicions that there was not an accident when for whatever motivation Robert Weeks killed Adam Joy. I say it was not an accident because knowing where your vehicle ends and where another person is (or at least should be) at the minimum……
 163.005 Criminal homicide. (1) A person commits criminal homicide if, without justification or excuse, the person intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence causes the death of another human being.
     (2) “Criminal homicide” is murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide or aggravated vehicular homicide.
     (3) “Human being” means a person who has been born and was alive at the time of the criminal act. [1971 c.743 §87; 2007 c.867 §4]

Andrew S
Andrew S
1 year ago
Reply to  jakeco969

Can someone with better understanding of the law help me get this straight? Regardless of the situation here, it seems that Oregon law makes it really difficult to prove criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter so long as the driver isn’t intoxicated. Seems like a law that ought to change…

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission shall classify manslaughter in the second degree as described in ORS 163.125 and criminally negligent homicide as described in ORS 163.145 as crime category 9 of the sentencing guidelines grid of the commission if:

(1) The manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide resulted from the operation of a motor vehicle; and
(2) The driver of the motor vehicle was driving while under the influence of intoxicants.
ORS 163.147

Fred
Fred
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew S

You are correct. It’s a pretty open secret that in Oregon – as in most states – a driver who hits a pedestrian or a cyclist need only demonstrate sobriety (by DUI test or lack of interest by law enforcement) to walk away with no penalty.

I first became aware of this situation about 25 years ago in California when a male cyclist riding on the shoulder of a rural highway was killed when a young woman driver plowed into him from behind. She got no penalty except for a ticket for leaving the lane of travel – that’s all the police could charge her with, as there’s apparently no law in California that says a driver can’t kill someone with a car. If it happens, it’s just unfortunate. It’s every man for himself out there.

Andrew S
Andrew S
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred

That really sucks. Has anyone tried (successfully or unsuccessfully) to get better legal protection on the books? It seems like even if a judge or jury wanted to hold someone accountable, the law is working against them. Is there anyone currently fighting the good fight to create a better legal environment for vulnerable road users?

Facts n truth
Facts n truth
1 month ago
Reply to  jakeco969

Jakeco

Learn some facts before you determine your opinion of what you didn’t see. The witness claims the driver of truck didn’t move n clipped the bike rider, then how in the _UCK wasn’t there any damage to the bike? The truck n bike never touched, no dents no paint trades nada.

Pockets the Coyote
Pockets the Coyote
1 year ago

His son was with him when it happened.

His son was with him.

I hope that he can find a way to live with this, and knows its okay to not be okay.
I hope that he can know that this was never at any point or in anyway his fault.
I hope that he can find a way to get back on a bike and complete the STP he and his father were training to complete together, maybe not this year but one year.
I hope he and his family have all the support that they need and more.
I am so very sorry.

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)
Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)
1 year ago

I echo this. I’ve been thinking about it continuously. His son was with him. My heart goes out to this family and especially to this boy [editor: deleted phrase]…I have no words.

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)
Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)
1 year ago

Thanks for the edit. I mistook a detail, but my heart is there all the same.

Marcie, Adam's aunt
Marcie, Adam's aunt
1 year ago

Thank you for your kind words.

I, too have been worried that his son might be so traumatized by this that he’d quit biking.

I responded in the first article’s comments to Dave Laporte and emailed him, asking him to consider continuing the son’s training for the STP and riding with him in it. I have no way of knowing if he’s seen either post.

Do you know of anyone in your group who could contact Mr. Laporte? He was the boy’s current teacher and seemed to have a good relationship with him.

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)

Oh my heart. Marcie, I don’t know Dave Laporte, and the STP is far outta my fitness level, but I’ll ask around. Can you email me, so we can correspond that way? I don’t always see every comment here, and I would hate to miss a message from you and have you think I ignored it. I promise I will respond to email. I am holding your family in my heart and thoughts, especially as I ride with my children. I’m so very sorry. shannon4bikeportland@gmail.com

David LaPorte
David LaPorte
1 year ago

Hi, Marcie. I did not see your original reply. I just sent you an email.

Marcie, Adam's aunt
Marcie, Adam's aunt
1 year ago

Thank you for your kind words.

Do you know of anyone who could help him train and ride with him in the STP?

Prim
10 months ago

Does anyone know how old his “young son” is? Or if he was hurt in anyway? Was he old enough that he was on his own bike or on a seat? Was his bike hit? Is he old enough to realize what took place? Did he witness his father’s fatal impact? Why is there No mention of the child or any follow up on his status?? Even this witness account says she pulled over and called 911, but No one ran to the child or to the aid of the hit bicyclist?

cc_rider
cc_rider
1 year ago

There’s literally no possible situation where the Robert Weeks didn’t negligently end the life of Adam Joy. Robert Weeks killed a human and is not going to face any punishment because the police don’t care about cyclists.

Cops are also apart of toxic car culture. They drive fast, they break the law, lots of them drive big dumb trucks. We can’t expect these people to care about our safety. The police rolled up to the scene with their preconceived notions and bias, told the only witnesses not involved in the negligent homicide to leave, and then asked the perpetrator, Robert Weeks, what he wanted the story to be. ACAB

jakeco969
jakeco969
1 year ago
Reply to  cc_rider

If you place faith in symbology you should be aware that ACAB has been identified as not so good anymore. SPLC isn’t all that accurate anymore either, but its the modern world.

https://globalextremism.org/global-extremist-symbols-database/
“ACAB” meaning “All Cops are bastards” is an anti-police slogan originating with the British left in the 1920s. In recent years, ACAB has been co-opted by far-right and neo-Nazi groups, particularly skinheads and football hooligans, who have come to see law enforcement as an obstacle to their goals.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
1 year ago
Reply to  cc_rider

All cats are beautiful, indeed.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
1 year ago
Reply to  cc_rider

All cyclists are beautiful <3

Matt
Matt
1 year ago

Another case of the coverup being worse than the crime (and I’m referring both to the driver and to the police). This is absolutely disgusting.

J_R
J_R
1 year ago

If this witness account is true, several OSP personnel should lose their jobs!

jakeco969
jakeco969
1 year ago

Question is, what can be done?
When George Floyd was killed1800 mile away, Portland lost its mind.

https://www.oregonlive.com/galleries/6JTNG23TENDKZBEQ2HW4JPQVP4/

Adam Joy was killed an hour or two away and crickets. I’ve been thinking a lot on why that is and I can’t seem to think of a reason.

dwk
dwk
1 year ago
Reply to  jakeco969

OK, I give up. What does George Floyd have to do with this?
Something? Anything?

jakeco969
jakeco969
1 year ago
Reply to  dwk

It’s a comparison DWK, between a local person brutally killed in front of his son and nothing happens in comparison to a complete stranger brutally killed far away and Portland goes crazy in sympathy. Why aren’t the streets filled with protesters for Adam Joy? I don’t know, do you?

idlebytes
idlebytes
1 year ago
Reply to  jakeco969

I think if there were an 11 minute video of the driver threatening the cyclist people begging him to stop and eventually the driver killing him with his car people would come out. It’s a pretty different scenario. People came out in protest over Sarah Pliner

jakeco969
jakeco969
1 year ago
Reply to  idlebytes

You’re probably right about the video, it’s unfortunate that it will probably take something like that to motivate the local bicycling scene. I mean, thousands to ride naked, Pedalpalooza to play the fool and barely anyone to remind the police and other drivers that’s it’s not okay to run down bicyclists?? The organizational abilities are clearly there, it’s just an impetuous that’s missing.

Serenity
Serenity
1 year ago
Reply to  jakeco969

So when is the protest ride??? You do have it all planned out, don’t you?

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
1 year ago
Reply to  Serenity

I mean, thousands to ride naked, Pedalpalooza to play the fool and barely anyone to remind the police and other drivers that’s it’s not okay to run down bicyclists??

Cycling activism in this town is far too upper middle class to plan a protest ride that intentionally inconveniences drivers.

Marcie, Adam's aunt
Marcie, Adam's aunt
1 year ago
Reply to  Serenity

Sounds like a good idea.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  jakeco969

I don’t know, do you?

Because the city isn’t stir crazy after several months of lockdown?

John
John
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

This is in the running for top bad takes of 2023. Is there a bad take of the week article yet? To trivialize that as “people were stir crazy” and not, you know, a glaringly obvious and recorded instance of police murdering an unarmed black man is just mind bogglingly tone deaf.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  John

Why couldn’t it be both?

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
1 year ago

This is horrifying. Please stay on top of this. Justice for Mr Joy

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
1 year ago

Eyewitness accounts aren’t as infallible as you’d like to think. Memories are influenced by procedure, repeated retellings etc. not to mention trauma.

Be especially wary of anyone who’s just lost their loved one, as the shock, emotional overload and adrenaline are very strong influencers upon what was likely a very fractured, fleeting moment.

Ultimately we can’t see what the driver saw from their perspective, so the rush to judgement in the comment section is disappointing (no surprise from BikePortland).

I recently began running a dashcam when I drive, partly inspired by the online mob mentality that’s so prevalent today. I pray that I’m never involved in a bad crash, as a driver OR as a cyclist who spends plenty of time on rural roads. But if I do, I’m going to make sure there’s an objective record of the collision. I encourage everyone else to do the same.

J_R
J_R
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Witness statements not taken can never be verified.

Matt
Matt
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Why would you bother mentioning “Be especially wary of anyone who’s just lost their loved one”, when the eyewitness in this article appears to be a random stranger? It seems to me that you are not arguing in good faith.

The official account of this crash does not make sense. This eyewitness’s account makes perfect sense. Why are you trying to “both sides” this tragedy?

idlebytes
idlebytes
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

“Eyewitness accounts aren’t as infallible as you’d like to think.”

“Ultimately we can’t see what the driver saw from their perspective”

How do these two sentences square in your brain? Is the driver not an eyewitness? Why aren’t you questioning their account? Especially when they have a massive incentive to tell a story that makes them appear to not be at fault?

Calling out comments here while you do the same thing on the drivers behalf is pretty hypocritical don’t ya think? As was pointed out in the previous article the driver at the minimum did not give safe passing distance of the cyclist could fall in front of their massive truck. They were also going too fast if they couldn’t avoid the crash.

M
M
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

I mean, everything you say applies double to the driver, who apparently was the sole witness actually interviewed by OSP.

Mark Remy
Mark Remy
1 year ago
Reply to  M

…and who has every incentive to lie.

Chris I
Chris I
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

You’re way out of line here.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris I

No, I’m not.

I’m trying to inject some rationality into the discussion. The rest of the comments here are pure emotion and confirmation bias.

Each one of these articles that gets published pushes the conversation further away from objectivity. We’ve got people parroting the conclusion of armchair experts who are only considering the information that Jonathan Maus is feeding them. It’s a real problem with this forum and with the approach of the publisher.

CL
CL
1 year ago

I don’t know what you feed people because I don’t hang out here much, but speaking as a non-cyclist commuter, I see worrisome behavior from drivers nearly every time I’m on the road. I try to watch out for pedestrians of all types. I appreciate that someone is getting the truth out. Thank you.

Nick
Nick
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Don’t want to pile on, but to respond to your actual point: pushes the conversation further away from objectivity

I’m not the best bike rider but I also don’t just randomly fall over when riding. It’s pretty unbelievable to me that he’d just fall over riding on a fairly flat straight road.

I’m guessing you ride bikes and aren’t just here for the drama, so it might be worth considering: the last time you fell, and how that relates to the story of this driver who would have a pretty clear incentive to make something up if at fault.

Chris I
Chris I
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Yes. Yes, you are. You refer to the person as a “loved one”, which is completely wrong. You should be ashamed.

Serenity
Serenity
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Oh, is that what you’re calling it, Dave. So, do you read a lot of other comment sections?

Fred
Fred
1 year ago

Comment of the week!

Okay – maybe I’m biased but this comment beautifully summarizes the unique value of BP for me and many other readers. If any good could come from these heartbreaking tragedies, it would be to inject some professionalism into the way law enforcement describes these investigations and the subsequent way the media report them.

Daniel Fuller
Daniel Fuller
1 year ago

How to kill someone and get away scot-free, Exhibit #752,943: be in a car or truck, hit a pedestrian or cyclist, make sure there’s no video, and “remain on the scene”.

joan
1 year ago

Thanks so much to RM for reaching out to you. I’m a bit worried for her and appreciate her persistence. Based on his age and name and town, Robert Weeks is ***portion of comment deleted by moderators *** There’s a chance that the OSP cops know him, and this sure seems like an intentional cover-up.

joan
1 year ago
Reply to  joan

The media reports list his name and age and town of residence. Why are you protecting someone who even cops say killed a bicyclist?

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  joan

Joan, we are protecting the BikePortland site. Both Jonathan and myself are sensitive to the appearance of endorsing vigilantism or harassment. I hope you understand.

joan
1 year ago

Okay, thanks for explaining that. I was not suggesting folks harass the guy. I did mean to suggest that someone well-known in his small town might be more likely to get “help” from cops than an out of town bicyclist. It’s incredibly jarring to read the OSP statement in contrast to this eyewitness report.

dwk
dwk
1 year ago

Is that why when the initial story was published and a lot of us stated that we thought it was pretty ridiculous that the Cyclist “fell over” in front of the truck, J Maus broke his back telling me that it was “CERTAINLY” possible that Adam Joy did just that?
Who is exactly going to sue you? I call BS.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  dwk

I don’t have a fear of BikePortland being sued. I dislike justice by internet mob, or any mob. Publishing personal information about a person on internet can be viewed as inviting people to harass them, and there are plenty examples of that happening.

dwk
dwk
1 year ago

“I want to say that I feel it’s absolutely reasonable to think that a bike rider could have fallen over prior to being overtaken by a truck in this location. I can see a scenario where I hear a big vehicle coming behind me, and then I try to move over a few inches — which in this area would mean you are very close to an edge full of soft gravel. You hit the soft shoulder, overcorrect to balance yourself, and then you fall down. Totally plausible…”

Actually it is this statement JM put out in a reply to me because I did not toe the OSP line..
It was never reasonable to think that Adam Joy fell over.
It was the most anti bike stance I have seen here really, and it is was from the Blog owner.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  dwk

It was never reasonable to think that Adam Joy fell over.

It was reasonable to think that it was within the range of the possible, which is all JM was saying. Unlikely things happen all the time.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
1 year ago

The articles have been steering this conversation from the get-go, and the comments making unfounded accusations and personal attacks have largely been allowed to remain.

I appreciate the lip service, but BikePortland knows exactly what it’s doing.

dwk
dwk
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Would you like to share information you have about this crash/incident? I personally think BP bent over backwards to NOT blame the truck driver.
You must have some other information to share since you seem to think the Truck driver was not to blame here.
Care to share what YOU know?

Fred
Fred
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

Dave, you must not be a cyclist b/c if you were, you’d feel in your bones how unfair the OSP statement was to begin with.

(By “cyclist” I mean a person who has done serious cycling over many miles in many environments – rural, urban, etc on various roads and paths. If you’ve ever ridden on a rural highway with no shoulder and 18-wheelers bearing down on you at 65 mph, then maybe you’re qualified to comment about how biased cyclists are against drivers.)

RSD Owens
RSD Owens
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

A teacher, respected and deeply admired by his students and peers, and loved by his family is dead. The school’s principle was quoted saying: “[Joy] was very loved by our students and loved his students in return. We will miss Mr. Joy deeply, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.” And your concern is that a publication cares about telling the story of this man’s death and whether there needs to be a serious investigation of facts based on even loose standards of criminal justice? This is your concerns, Dave Fronk? Did I miss something here?

jakeco969
jakeco969
1 year ago

Hi Lisa,
I’m guessing my post about a certain acronym was deleted, just wanted to let the poster know that it has negative connotations that some might not realize. My apologies if I phrased it poorly.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  jakeco969

I restored it Jake, thank you for the note. To be honest, I don’t always remember what I delete, and some things our filter automatically deletes. But your msg looks fine to me.

Sam
Sam
1 year ago

In the USA, it’s de facto legal to murder someone as long as you’re in a car or truck.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam

This is simply untrue.

It is true that people are not often criminally prosecuted for accidentally killing people with their vehicles (unless the circumstances involve drinking or very reckless behavior), but that is entirely different thing than murder. Even in those cases, drivers face civil liability for their actions.

Can you cite a case where someone intentionally murdered someone with their vehicle and was not prosecuted because their action was “de fact legal”?

The following is (probably) true:

“In the USA, it’s rare to be criminally prosecuted for killing someone accidentally unless extreme recklessness is involved.”

jakeco969
jakeco969
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

You’re making an assumption that it was indeed an accident. According to the assumed impartial witness it was negligence at best.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  jakeco969

I think it is highly likely that the collision was an accident, but I have never asserted the driver was not negligent; in fact, the new information suggests he was.

The two are not mutually exclusive. Negligence is a cause of many accidents.

jakeco969
jakeco969
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

Have to disagree heavily with that. Once negligence is on the table it’s no longer an accident. Negligence and accidents are mutually exclusive. An accident is when something unforeseen happens, like a part breaking. Negligence is not following the law and common courtesy by not giving a cyclist their mandated room. All that’s left is to determine the level of negligence involved (which I’m guessing OSP didn’t concern themselves with since like you they assumed it was an accident).

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  jakeco969

An accident is when something unforeseen happens

Many accidents are completely predictable. They may (and often do) result from people acting negligently.

You can have your own definition of the word, but that doesn’t make you right.

idlebytes
idlebytes
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

Conflating the two forms of “accident” is precisely the problem we have with reporting of these incidents. You can call everything that’s not premeditated an accident if you want but the law clearly disagrees with you.

Being criminally negligent in such a way that causes someone to be seriously injured or killed is not an accident. You don’t even have to injure someone to wrack up a felony for negligence. If I wave a loaded gun around people but never fire it I can still be charged with a felony. If the gun went off and killed someone you may say it was an accident but I’d say you’re being pretty loose with that word.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  idlebytes

Being criminally negligent in such a way that causes someone to be seriously injured or killed is not an accident. 

This is (generally) true. Downing 3 shots of rye before getting into your car is not an accident, and you are intentionally behaving in way that is negligent (at best).

Striking a pedestrian on your way home is an accident, even though it was your negligence that caused to it be much more likely to happen. You are legally and morally culpable for your negligence. Your intent regarding the pedestrian is not the issue.

Safety professionals are not confused about the meaning of “accident”; they use it all the time to describe the sometimes predictable and deadly results of negligence and carelessness, and are able to routinely assign blame and find fault. Nor are the courts: people go to jail every day for consequences of their actions that were entirely accidental. Dozens of citations, definitions, and examples are only a google search away.

My final word is this: I don’t care even a tiny bit whether you use the word “accident” or not. But please do not scold others for doing so based on a personal belief that it means something that it does not.

John
John
1 year ago
Reply to  Watts

It is true that people are not often criminally prosecuted for accidentally killing people with their vehicles

So, it is true. That’s what that means. I’m sick of annoying pedants pretending not to understand that the word murder has moral connotations not just legal ones. This was a murder, whether there is a law on the books or not.

Can you cite a case where someone intentionally murdered someone with their vehicle and was not prosecuted because their action was “de fact legal”?

Well we wouldn’t know, would we? Because there would be no case. Because all you have to do is ask not to be charged by saying “I didn’t mean to”. You’re speaking in tautologies. People aren’t charged with a crime (because it is defacto legal), therefore the crime didn’t happen, therefore they can’t have done the thing that is defacto legal.

Watts
Watts
1 year ago
Reply to  John

I could cite plenty of cases where people were prosecuted for murder (or similar) with their vehicles, despite its “de facto legality”. And I’ll bet you could too.

(Please read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_in_United_States_law for a pretty good description of what murder is and how it is defined across the US. I’ll accept any generally used definition from that source. I’ll also review any neutral sources you can provide that “morally” define an accidental (even if negligent or reckless) killing as murder.)

cct
cct
1 year ago

If he truly ‘fell over’ in front of the truck, the damage to the bike (and rider) would be dramatically different than if the truck ran him down or clipped him and threw him off. Same for damage to the truck. Funny the cops don’t seem to mention other evidence besides witness statements.

To be scrupulous, they may be investigating that evidence, but they don’t word the release that way. Also, note to (nonBP) media: that police press release is not the article.

FTtbTwEWUAg4Rsv.jpg
9watts
9watts
1 year ago
Reply to  cct

If he truly ‘fell over’ in front of the truck, the damage to the bike (and rider) would be dramatically different than if the truck ran him down or clipped him and threw him off…”

I had the same thoughts a week ago when this story broke. Something someone reading this surely can help answer.

9watts
9watts
3 months ago
Reply to  9watts

I would still like to understand the truck-bike collision (see photos of the truck and/or bicycle which were surely taken at the scene). It would seem pretty straightforward to draw some basic conclusions from the evidence available.

Have there been any more developments in this case?

Jason Skelton
Jason Skelton
1 year ago

Within a week of this man’s death i was riding in Columbia county when an F350 buzzed me on a country road and scared me a lot. I doubt it was the same guy but who knows. These people are a menace.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
1 year ago
Reply to  Jason Skelton

“These people”, hmm. Who else uses this kind of language and what purpose does it serve?

These people are you and I. The vast majority of cyclists also own or at least sometimes drive automobiles. We are not somehow excluded from the possibility of being involved with a fatal collision simply because we also sometimes ride bicycles.

blumdrew
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

It’s very easy to not own an F350 and close pass a cyclist. My experience riding makes me a much much more careful driver – especially around people on bikes.

qqq
qqq
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

I read “these people” to mean 1) the guy in a large truck that buzzed him on a country road, 2) the guy in a large truck that hit the bike rider on a country road in this article, who according to the witness didn’t move over enough to pass safely, and 3) others in large trucks (and possibly other vehicles) who don’t pass bike riders safely on country roads.

Anyone who doesn’t pass unsafely–including large truck drivers and people driving on country roads–isn’t included in “these people”. There’s not even a suggestion that someone who passes unsafely, but sometimes rides a bike, is excluded from “these people”.

And of course people who sometimes ride bikes are not excluded from possibly being involved in a fatal collision, but the commenter didn’t even remotely hint that they believe that those people are excluded from that.

Matt
Matt
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

I believe you were asking the question rhetorically (especially based on the rest of your frankly unproductive comments here), but I’m going to answer it anyway: In this instance, “these people” can be taken to refer to “people who drive with callous disregard for other people’s lives, especially vulnerable road users”. Nice try, though.

Serenity
Serenity
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Fronk

That sounds like an emotion, Dave.

Serenity
Serenity
1 year ago
Reply to  Jason Skelton

A guy in an F-350 did that to me during the Petal Petal on that same day, but that one was dark blue. I wasn’t even aware of it, until the truck close passed me.

Nathan
Nathan
1 year ago

Jonathan, have you filed any public records requests with OSP or Polk County related to this? E.g. requesting crash investigation/reconstruction reports, bodycam/dashcam footage, etc?

John
John
1 year ago

This is the kind of thing that makes people (myself included) skeptical of anyone who wants to say something about “innocent until proven guilty” or talking about letting the legal system play out. This guy murdered a person with witnesses and is just getting away with it. I don’t know what to do, but I don’t have any faith in our legal system right now.

Charley
Charley
1 year ago
Reply to  John

It may be frustrating at times, but innocent until proven guilty is one bedrock ideal that I hope we don’t throw out. There are many elements of our criminal justice systems that need reform; presumptive innocence isn’t one of those.

9watts
9watts
1 year ago

“She wanted to share what she saw with OSP troopers who arrived at the scene; but says she (along with at least one other witness) was told to leave the scene.”

This bothers me the most.
I would really, really like to understand if this is protocol, and if so why, or if not, on what basis the police treated her this way?

Also I missed earlier that Joy’s son was biking with him. Was his perspective considered, heard, and if it differed from the truck driver’s how do the police justify preferencing the driver’s account?

Confused, sad, and angry at how poorly our system always seems to handle these avoidable deaths.

Fred
Fred
1 year ago
Reply to  9watts

I once witnessed a hit-and-run collision and I chased the runaway car to get the license-plate number. I returned to the scene and told the sheriff’s deputy I had info for him and left my phone number, but he never called.

The quality of law enforcement is really hit or miss, obviously. We want to support police but we can’t count on them to do a good job.

Marcie, Adam's aunt
Marcie, Adam's aunt
1 year ago
Reply to  9watts

Adam always rode behind his son as protection from traffic. This time it also protected him from seeing this happen to his father.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor

I’m sorry you had to correct that Marcie. I was just myself logging in to comment that BikePortland had not reported anything about the order of the riders, it was an assumption one commenter made. I wanted to nip it before it spread even further.

Please accept my condolences.

Marcie, Adam's aunt
Marcie, Adam's aunt
1 year ago

Thank you.

9watts
9watts
1 year ago

RM’s report is so valuable.
I would like to highlight the unsafe passing behavior by the vehicles in front of Robert Weeks. I haven’t measured the lane widths on Wallace Rd but have my doubts that giving someone a bike an adequate berth while passing them is possible when oncoming car traffic is present.

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)
Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)
1 year ago
Reply to  9watts

Yes, I am thinking the same thing! According to RM, multiple vehicles were passing the cyclists in a dangerous “squeeze between” scenario: cyclists to the right, oncoming traffic on the left, no wiggle room or margin for error. I had a car pass me like this, dashing middle-of-the-road between my cargo bike to the right and oncoming traffic to the left, and it was scary. I felt very disrespected. Corvallis right-of-way had a great analysis of this danger and advocated that this sort of “squeeze between” pass not be done, but that drivers wait until the oncoming lane is clear to make a full lane-switch to pass. I wish this was the law and the training given to drivers. It’s the way folks pass a giant slow-moving tractor on a rural road. You just have to wait for the oncoming lane to clear. Without that being the rule, drivers seem to think they can make it, or think they had enough space–in other words, their bad discretion may remove some guilt. But if they were required to make a full lane switch, drivers wouldn’t be permitted the poor judgement of “I thought I gave enough space.”
https://corvallisrightofway.com/faq/driving-around-bicycles/#safepass
See the link for an even better explanation and video.

9watts
9watts
1 year ago

Years ago El Biciclero (still my all time favorite commenter on bikeportland) spelled out this compulsion on the part of so many (most) who are piloting cars: MUST PASS! MUST PASS! as if the alternative, to slow to the pace of the cyclist until the road is clear, was simply inconceivable. We have all been there, experienced this. And as a driver I started catching myself doing or wanting to do this, after reading El Biciclero here.

Bobcycle
Bobcycle
1 year ago
Reply to  9watts

i couldn’t agree with 9watts more. Had the vehicles that had “squeezed” past in front of the truck instead slowed to the pace of the cyclist and waited for a clear opening to pass, forcing the truck to slow, there would likely have been a different outcome.

9watts
9watts
1 year ago
Reply to  Bobcycle

I stopped at the location shown in the photo above yesterday. I didn’t see any indication of exactly where Weeks killed Joy with his truck, but across the road in the ditch on the N-bound side is a cross marking the death of another person at this location in 2017. One thing I did notice is that although the google streetview above shows no solid yellow lines, immediately N and S of this short stretch there are such lines. This crash happened on the Southbound side, where there is a do-not-pass solid yellow line right up the place where the streetview image above was taken. Of course the google streetview image above may or may not be anywhere near where the crash took place. The Hopewell Rd intersection with Wallace Rd (mentioned by RM) is about a mile South of the location shown in the image above.

At this point (a month on) I would think we should know a lot more than we did back in June. Chiefly in exactly what manner Weeks’ truck made contact with Joy’s bicycle. RM’s account is at odds with the fell-over narrative, and it doesn’t take more than a few seconds to understand which of those occurred if you are at the scene and are able to assess the damage to the bike. Clipped (RM) is nothing like Fell Over in Front The Truck (OSP).

Can someone please clarify/update/answer these questions?

Thanks.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  9watts

Jonathan, please note questions in last paragraph.

9watts
9watts
9 months ago

Bump. Still curious if we can learn exactly where this crash occurred, and the relationship of the location to a solid yellow center line?

9watts
9watts
3 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Bump.

Fred
Fred
1 year ago

Does anyone know if law enforcement routinely checks a driver’s cell phone after a collision?

It’s standard practice in the UK, Germany, France, and other first-world countries.

mark
mark
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred

We’re actually no longer a first-world country. We’re a joke.

jakeco969
jakeco969
1 year ago

“Unfortunately the main witness was Adam’s son. I don’t know the law around witnesses who are minors, but I hate to think of him being there at the scene with no one but the driver, then cops, then EMTs. So much chaos and confusion, and I worry he might have been vulnerable to others’ interpretations of events.”

This is the line from the original article in the comments section that revealed his son was with him. I’m not sure how much help his statement is going to be since he has the trauma of his dad being crushed (I’m going out on a limb and saying this, but it is F350 vs human body) immediately (I’m assuming) in front of him. As posters have been mentioning, the immediate participants to trauma need a well thought out and considerate line of questioning to get the most coherent answer, of which I do not think OSP is capable of doing.

Christopher
1 year ago

God, this makes me angry. Couple of months ago I got a beautiful new Ira Ryan built and to be honest, have been scared to ride it. I drive quiet a bit to mountain bike and fly fish, and I am seeing drivers run stop signs, red lights, texting, etc. It makes me not want to ride on the road at all.

NJ
NJ
1 year ago

The driver lives and Adam is gone. That’s all I wanna say.

robwpdx
robwpdx
1 year ago

I am a pedestrian who was struck by a car. It could have been much more serious. The police declined to cite because I was not transported to the hospital by ambulance. I later had to go to the hospital by friends and relatives. The other serious car-on-car accident I was in, the police declined to interview witnesses, similar to this one,

The police know their place in the hierarchy, if you believe in hierarchy in America, and police fear paperwork.

In this case, lacking dashcam or rider GoPro evidence, they declined to cite a prominent local business person.

Even if they had actively gathered witness statements, the county prosecutor could decide go to the local county grand jury, and then proceed to court. Without video evidence, the benefit of the doubt would be unlikely to lead to proven guilt.

This case is finished.

The best course for the bike and ped community would be to discuss new rules set by the Oregon attorney general’s office or the legislature for police agencies to more actively and aggressively gather scene evidence in bike and pedestrian accidents. Once people leave the scene, the value of evidence declines precipitously.

Serenity
Serenity
1 year ago
Reply to  robwpdx

I’m sorry that happened to you.

CL
CL
1 year ago

Wow, this is insane. I’m a driver, not a bicyclist, but we must share the road if we want to get where we need to be. I don’t see why people don’t understand this.

Just today I was nearly rear ended because I signaled to make a right turn into a parking lot, but there was a bike in the bike lane, so I had to wait to turn in until they passed the driveway. The truck behind me had to swerve into the turn lane in order to avoid a wreck. I’m glad he didn’t rear end me but why not just slow down and stop tailgating? SHARE THE DAMN ROAD

9watts
9watts
1 year ago

I’m still trying to understand where this crash took place.
One news report mentioned milepost 11.5
RM said she had just passed Hopewell Rd heading North.
The photo above is about a mile N of that intersection and roughly 9.8 miles N of the start of Hwy 221/Wallace Rd. at Hwy 22in Salem.
If we go 11.5 mi N of Salem along Wallace Rd we are just N of the intersection of Hwy153 (Bellevue-Hopewell Hwy). Which isn’t even in Polk County.
It would be nice to figure this out.