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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How to Get Charged for Assault With a Car

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Tue, May 25, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Last week the news broke that the TriMet bus driver who made an illegal turn into a crowd of pedestrians, killing two people, would be given a handful of traffic tickets rather than charged with a crime.

This prompted many commenters to wonder: what the hell does it take to get charged with a crime for running someone over?

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  • Dave Neeson
This week brings one example: Wayne Thompson, the man who ran over cyclist Mike Luther in an East Portland parking lot last summer, has been found guilty of third-degree assault.

Luther was not killed in the incident, but left in critical condition with a brain injury. After months of rehabilitation, he is still unable to work. So what makes this a crime? The major difference between Thompson's case and TriMet driver Sandy Day's is that Thompson intentionally ran over Luther.

According to the police account, Luther and Thompson were shouting at each other in the parking lot. Then, Thompson put his Kia Sportage into reverse and zoomed backwards into Luther. Good on the police and courts for taking this assault seriously, but it also points out the need for more tools in Oregon's law to deal with deaths and injuries resulting from car crashes. There should be some tier between prison and a traffic ticket.

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