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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Witnesses Detail Near-Fatal Bike/Car Crash

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Sep 10, 2009 at 10:59 AM

There are some interesting witness accounts contained within the now-public police request for a search warrant in the case of Wayne Conrad Thompson, the Kia Sportage driver who struck and nearly killed Portland cyclist Mike Luther two weeks ago. Conrad is currently being held in jail on charges of first and second degree assault with a deadly weapon (the deadly weapon being his car) while Luther remains in Legacy Emanuel hospital, slipping in and out of consciousness.

Luther's family met with reporters last week to emphasize that Mike was a safety-first, pacifistic guy. "He's not a fighter at all. Whenever there's a squabble, he's always the one in the middle, calming everyone down," said Mike's sister Traci. But according to witnesses, the incident that left Luther seriously injured seems to have originated from some sort of altercation—how or if Luther was involved is not clear. For his part, Thompson has a clean record and was not drunk at the time.

From the police affidavit:

Alme Joseph Franklin, a white male, who was seated in his van in the parking lot near the collision told Officer Robertson he heard someone yell, "Fuck you, mother fucker!" Franklin told Officer Robertson he looked toward the direction of the yelling and observed a white colored SUV type vehicle being driven by a white male who "threw it into reverse and backed up at full speed." Franklin added that the vehicle hit a male riding on a bicycle. He estimated that the vehicle was traveling in reverse at approximately 40 miles an hour... Franklin also told Officer Sweeney the driver of the vehicle was looking backwards over his left shoulder, in the direction of travel, and appeared agitated.

A second witness, Eugene Jackson, was in his car in the parking lot when he heard someone say, "Fuck you!"

Jackson said he then observed a white colored Kia vehicle traveling south in the parking lot in reverse, when it backed over a male that was on a bike. Jackson added that the vehicle struck the bicyclist so hard that the male victim appeared to be stuck to the back of the vehicle.

A traffic officer trained in accident reconstruction arrived on the scene and tried to piece together what happened.

It was his belief that the vehicle was traveling at a high rate when it struck the bicyclist, continued through a planter area, subsequently forcibly dislodging a boulder I estimated to be in excess of 100 pounds.

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