Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Media here and media there

This is just a quick post to link a couple articles. I have been fortunate to garner some media attention in the past few days, due to some unpleasant events. Most recently, I wrote about young Henry Schmidt, a victim of hit-and-run a couple weeks ago. A couple months before that, Mike Cooley was also severely injured in a hit-and-run. They were both riding their bikes home from work; okay, technically Henry was pushing his bike because it had a flat tire. But both were just minding their own business, legally on the road after a full day's work.

Henry has had some good news: on Thursday, a young woman turned herself in (after an auto mechanic called the police to report the suspect car had been taken to him for repair). Unfortunately, still no word in Mike's case.

BikePortland.org posted an article about Henry's case and I made a comment about the results of research I've done since Dustin died. This prompted a call from News Editor Michael Anderson for an interview, which I of course granted. I am pleased to see that attorney Joshua Shulman also was interviewed. Here's the article http://bikeportland.org/2013/08/23/how-can-oregon-make-hit-and-run-feel-as-evil-as-drunk-driving-92885

On Friday, I went to the arraignment of the reported driver in Henry's case. She is 29 years old, employed at a bar, and a mother of a 2 1/2 year old. I hope the child wasn't in the car during the crime! She plead not guilty and was allowed to leave with no restrictions other than to not drink and not drive. She was already driving illegally. She has a history of at least two convictions for PCS (possession of a controlled substance) and has been multiple traffic infractions and has had her license suspended 4 times in the past few years. Unbelievable.

I introduced myself to Henry's mother and at her request gave her my contact information. Then I boldly went up to a KPTV reporter who had interviewed me two years ago when Dustin was killed. She didn't have time to talk to me much but later in the afternoon I got a call from reporter Kai Porter asking for an interview. Here is that broadcast/article: http://www.kptv.com/story/23244950/mother-of-hit-and-run-victim-offers-support-to-henry-schmidts-family

 Hopefully something good comes out of this.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Thankfully He's Alive!

Henry Schmidt, KGW

On the news tonight was a story about 20 year old Henry Schmidt, hit by a car and left critically injured in the street.http://www.kgw.com/news/local/20-year-old-hospitalized-after-SW-Portland-hit-and-run--220067111.html This young man, simply riding his bike home from work, was struck by a person who didn’t care what condition Henry was in after they plowed into him, didn’t care that he could be hit again, didn’t care if he was left alone to die on a dirty road like a possum. 

Fortunately, he was discovered by people on a Tri-met bus before the worst could happen. Emergency personnel was called and he is now in the ICU at Oregon Health and Sciences University. By all accounts, he will hopefully eventually make a full recovery, though he will have to endure months of rehabilitation and possibly a lifetime of lingering pain from his injuries (I’m just presuming this last part; I hope I’m wrong!).
His mother, speaking for his family, is shaken by what all of us affected by hit-and-run are shaken by: a person causing such a serious [crash] and just leaving the scene. Yes, a person knowingly leaving a human being dead or dying. 

In a Trauma Nurses Talk Tough presentation in Clark County, Washington, a nurse explains the “Golden Hour” as the time immediately after a traumatic injury in which it is critical to get help for the injured because things can so rapidly deteriorate. This term was also used in testimony before the Oregon House Judiciary Committee in April 2013 as one reason why hit-and-run is so devastating and must be treated more seriously. The cowardly hit-and-run driver, in saving him or herself, is basically ensuring that their victim will suffer even more, one way or another. 

Kipp Crawford, from ghostbikes.org/portland
Take the story of 31 year old Kipp Crawford who was killed in November 2009. Granted, it is believed that initially he was assaulted while riding his bike and ended up in the roadway, but then two separate drivers ran him over and left him there. Yes, two different people drove over him and both of them kept going. Ultimately, it couldn’t be decided who was responsible for killing him, so they were both convicted. (The person who assaulted him to begin with has never been found). 

Henry is so fortunate! He has survived and will recover. His parents have not lost their child. Yet even if the cowardly person who injured him so cruelly is caught and questioned, there will never be a satisfactory answer to the question of how they could just leave.