Friday, March 1, 2013

Cop Talk, Killer "Gets It," Bicyclists are 'Dissed, Etc.

Exhausted but exhilarated. It has been a busy week. And more to come!

On Saturday Jenna and I attended the High Risk Driver class all day; I spoke at about 3:00. She especially liked the "cop talk" (a police traffic investigator explains the rules and consequences of the road and answers audience questions). Jenna's question: If someone has a BAL (blood alcohol level) of .169 4.5 hours after a crash, what is the estimate of his BAL at the time of the crash? The officer said it depends on who you ask. Defense attorney's say BAL increases for up to 3 hours or so after the person stops drinking and prosecutor's say it decreases. It seems to me someone would have already tested this somehow!

Zach Waddle and Libby Davis
Monday I spoke at a DUII class and for the first time listened to a father who lost his only son. Zach Waddle was 25 years old when he and his girlfriend/mother of his 11 month old son were killed by a drunk driver. This was a heart-rending story but unfortunately I was totally thrown when his father commented that no one should drive after even just one drink because Portland is full of bicyclists who never obey the laws and if one gets hit, even though it's the cyclist's fault, the driver will be blamed. !! (To be fair, there are many bicyclists not obeying the laws...but at least they are not driving tons of steel AND breaking the laws).

Tuesday was MIP (Minor in Possession) class. I changed my story significantly for this, focusing more on a younger Dustin and talking more about Ashawntae, the 18 year old who killed a man, went to prison, isn't able to be with his new baby, lost his girlfriend, whose Mom has visited only twice, will never be able to drive again, and has a homicide on his record. As usual, I had Dustin's urn and showed a picture of him in his coffin but this time I also took the bike. The organizers asked me to bring the bike every time. I was also invited to a Business Breakfast in March and if I can't make it (I'll make it!), asked if I could trust them with the urn and bike...I'm pretty possessive of those

Thursday I spoke at another DUII class. Presenting with me was a man who has made a huge impact on me. While drunk, he killed a mom and her two daughters - 4, 8 months - and severely injured the dad who was driving; fortunately the 2 year old boy was with Grandma and Grandpa. He plead guilty and was in prison for 8 years. I first heard him when I sat in on this class before I started speaking myself. This man has thought it all out from every angle. It's like he steps into my mind and understands my thoughts and feelings and then puts them into words that even I can't say. He makes me feel incredibly hopeful. I wish everybody hurt by Dustin's death could hear this man. (And you can; I can take guests with me any time).

So far for March:

Steph Routh with Sam Adams
*3/4, giving testimony in front of a judiciary committee in Salem on why hit-and-run laws need to be severe. Steph Routh of Oregon Walks (a huge pedestrian/bicyclist advocate) will also be there.
*3/9, 3/11, 3/12, 3/23: my four regularly scheduled High Risk Driver and DUII classes
*3/20: Business Breakfast for Oregon Impact

In April (besides my four regular classes):
*4/6, NW Freethought Conference and presentation of the first annual Dustin Finney Award

May: the usual four +
*5/31-6/2: The Compassionate Friends annual Seabeck Retreat (I can't wait!)

June: the usual four +
*6/26 or 6/27, presenting about the Facilitated Dialogue Program at the annual NW Justice Forum at Clackamas Community College

Hopefully my calendar will fill out more in the coming months with an even larger variety of events and opportunities for me! (And Jenna. Come on, Jenna!)


  1. WOW!!! Now you appear to be getting the feel/ finding your stride for this writing/talking advocate business!!
    I am so very proud of you! I am sure Dustin would be proud too!
    He would be amazed to see how much he impacted friends and family, and now through you many more people will get to know/appreciate him!!
    Your advocacy/work on these hard subjects in his honor are making a difference, not just for others, but I see positive changes in you too!
    I believe that you may have turned a corner on your journey towards were right in pursuing this path, as difficult as it is.
    You seem happier now that you know that Dustin will not be forgotten.His death is now having a positive impact through your efforts in educating those who will listen.
    You are, without any doubt, the most inspirational person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing! I am amazed at your emotional strength and willingness to share your grief, as personal as it is, to a world that is so cold, selfish, violent and cruelly conscienceless. Your determination to make something good out of an absolutely horrific event is amazing! Now, it is easy to see the progress, both publicly as well as personally, that you have made and are continuing to make!
    Your big heart and tremendous drive makes me love you more every passing day...!

  2. I have the most loving and supportive husband. Thank you, Glenn! ... In addition to the events already listed, I also attended Share the Road Safety class and the Clark County victim impact panel (both of which asked me to speak in the future), and today family and friends cleaned up our In Loving Memory of Dustin Finney section of I-5.