Call

Blog

Law
02

Blog

Oregon Cyclist Killed in Hit and Run Crash

Driver Was Reading Text Message When He Drifted Onto Shoulder and Hit Cyclist

A driver who killed a cyclist near Rainier, Oregon has been arrested and booked into the Columbia County Jail on charges of First Degree Manslaughter, Felony Hit and Run, and a misdemeanor out of Washington County for Fail to Appear.

Oregon State Police report that the driver, 34-year-old Kristopher Lee Woodruff, of Vernonia, Oregon was driving westbound on Highway 30, west of Rainier, on August 30, and became distracted while looking at a text message on his phone. Woodruff was reported to have drifted onto the shoulder of Highway 30 at about 3 P.M., where he struck and killed Peter Michael Linden, 74, of St. Helens, Oregon. Linden was killed on impact with the ground.

StateBadges_Web_OR

Police report that Woodruff then fled the scene, but was arrested approximately 5 miles further down the road.

It is against the law to text while driving in Oregon. First Degree Manslaughter can be charged when a death is the result of reckless behavior “manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.” First Degree Manslaughter can also be charged when the death is the result of reckless or criminally negligent behavior “by a person operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants” and the driver has previous convictions specified under the law. Oregon State Police reported that Woodruff did not have a valid drivers license in his possession when he was stopped by a state trooper. There is no word yet as to why Woodruff did not have a valid driver’s license in his possession. However, if Woodruff lost his driver’s license due to a previous conviction, that may be a factor in the decision to charge him with First Degree Manslaughter.

First Degree Manslaughter is a Measure 11 crime and carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years. The penalty for a felony hit and run which results in a death can include a 5-year license suspension, up to 5 years in prison, and a fine of up to $125,000. Although these penalties may seem harsh to some, they are intended as a message to the driving public that these are serious crimes and will not be treated lightly.
Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that cell phone distraction while driving has the same impairing effect on drivers as driving under the influence.  Although Oregon law prohibits the use of cell phones for drivers under the age of 18, Oregon does not prohibit hands-free cell use for adult drivers. This is a serious flaw in Oregon law, because studies clearly show that there is no difference in driver impairment between hand-held cell phone use and hands-free cell phone use. Nevertheless, despite the fact that Oregon law permits adult drivers to use a hands-free device for cell phones, Oregon law prohibits texting while driving for ALL drivers.

In Oregon, the penalty for using a hand-held mobile device while driving carries a penalty ranging from $142 to $500. These penalties are new for 2014; before this year, the maximum penalty was $250. Legislation to increase the penalty originally specified a maximum $1000 fine for using a hand-held mobile device while driving. However, Senate President Peter Courtney found it necessary to reduce the maximum fine in his bill to $500 in order to get enough support in the legislature for the legislation to pass.

Despite these increased penalties, it is very common to see many Oregon drivers continuing to flout the law, despite studies that show that drivers know that cell phone use and texting while driving are dangerous behaviors.

Comments

Family bicycle charity
Bike Law Aug 17, 2021

GUEST POST BY BIKE LAW AMBASSADOR KURT AREHART The bike charity Raleigh Community Kickstand, or just Kickstand for short, is a four year-old project organized under Oaks & Spokes, a 501(c)(3) engaged in fostering cycling in Raleigh. Kickstand channels donated bicycles to low-income and homeless members of our community whose lives can be improved with […]

Read More
Contributory negligence Bike crash
Ann Groninger May 08, 2021

If you’ve met me, you’ve heard talk about contributory negligence many times, including here and here and here. My vocation and my passion as a bike crash attorney is representing injured bicyclists and families of bicyclists who have been killed by careless drivers. Contributory negligence severely impairs the right of these individuals and bicyclists to […]

Read More
Asian-American Triathlete
Rachael Maney May 04, 2021

Bike Month 2021 is setting the bar pretty high. Two days ago, Sika Henry became the first Black woman to earn her pro card in the sport of triathlon. And today, Bike Law and I are honored and excited to announce our sponsorship of the only Asian-American racing on the professional triathlon circuit, Clarice Chastang […]

Read More
Cycliq video close call
Rachael Maney Apr 22, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 23, 2021 Jon Korin, President Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (‘BikeAAA’) 443-685-4103, [email protected]   Rachael Maney, National Director Bike Law 410-382-7803, [email protected]   DRIVER CONVICTED ON CYCLIQ VIDEO EVIDENCE Christopher Lee Bradshaw of Lothian, MD was convicted of violating Maryland’s 3-foot bicycle passing law and negligent driving on […]

Read More
cycling friendship
Ann Groninger Apr 21, 2021

Cycling friendships are wonderful benefit to our sport and community.  A major part of our work as bicycle “accident” lawyers means putting a value on losses that our clients suffer as a result of injures from crashes. When it comes to past and future medical expenses, lost income and other financial losses, the job is […]

Read More
Contributory Negligence
Ann Groninger Apr 08, 2021

There is finally a positive development in the fight against Contributory Negligence in North Carolina. Last week a bill called the “Victims’ Fair Treatment Act” was filed in the North Carolina Senate. If passed, the bill would finally bring North Carolina into line with all but 3 other states by eradicating this deeply unfair law. […]

Read More
Bike Shop with wheels
Danny Feldman Apr 04, 2021

Birmingham is blessed to have a number of great bike shops.  Two of these shops, although very different, are the focus here.  Future blog posts from Bike Law Alabama will focus on some of the other great shops in Birmingham and throughout Alabama. A NON-PROFIT BIKE SHOP: REDEMPTIVE CYCLES Why choose Redemptive as your Bike […]

Read More
Dooring of bicyclist
Charlie Thomas Mar 24, 2021

Buena Batiste did not plan to be “doored.” She was knocked off her bike by a car door and then yelled at by the woman who opened it. Fortunately, we were able to take Buena’s dooring case to trial and win. And in doing so, we set a new precedent for bicyclists who suffer a […]

Read More
Bike Hand Signals
Peter Wilborn Mar 12, 2021

Before you get a driver’s license, you typically have to take a test that demonstrates your understanding of the rules of the road. This includes the importance of signaling your intentions when you are turning or changing lanes. Across the United States, bicyclists are required to use signals to let others know what they plan […]

Read More
Load More