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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Drive like a maniac, kill a bum? No biggie, here's a ticket.

There's something horribly wrong here.

Comments (34)

In Oregon, driving while suspended can be a felony under certain circumstances...I think this guy certainly qualifies.

Why not? After all, it's open season on bicyclists, so why not pedestrians?

At some point Oregonians may decide that people not encased in two-ton steel cages deserve to be able to use the roads and live to tell about it, but that day seems far distant. Read any paper after the killings and you will see the yahoos writing that people who dare to bike on county roads only get what they deserve -- it's the death penalty for slowing down an SUV, basically.

Guys, I know it's hard for you to get this, but this post is not about cycling. It was a pedestrian vs. a notorious scofflaw behind the wheel.

It seems to me we should be starting the analysis with some sort of homicide crime.

I was in court last week for a seat belt ticket and there were two hispanics using an interpretor. On had 19 tickets for driving driving while suspended, driving without a license and all without insurance and half of them were under a false name on his "Oregon Driver's license he used for years.
The other had multiple tickets for the driving without a license or insurance.
He told the judge he couldn't get a license because he couldn't read.
The judge suggested he contact the DMV and find out if someone could take the test with him.
Oh how far we have drifted.

this post is not about cycling

OK, then. But our tepid new law that seeks to protect "vulnerable users" lumps pedestrians and cyclists, so it's not so much of a stretch to reach the point mentioned by George Seldes (which could be made with equal validity about this Salem incident or other pedestrian fatalities). As long as there are such mild consequences for those who drive without a license, with suspended license, and without insurance, etc., those infractions will continue, along with their consequences. Oregon needs a vehicular homicide law.

maybe no one will have to worry about this guy for long, if he flees the state.

Following are snippets from the poster "sandeec" on the forum of this story at the Statesman Journal's site:

His mom and step dad and brother are all tweekers (dopers) use big drugs. So does he. Is he getting special treatment because he is handicapped? He was crippled in one of his past car wrecks... He can not go through a day without pot.
Through a phone call to a family member of mine I know for a fact Mr. Hagen is planning on getting on a bus Friday and leaving for Utah.
I know for a fact, Sean his mother Cindy and Seans son are getting on a bus Tomorrow morning for Utah. I told the police that and they said there is nothing they can do. So again, Mr. Hagen will not appear in cout and he will have a warrent put out for him that they will do nothing about. His step dad is on a job that will finish in a few weeks and the rest of the family will be leaving OR also to go to Utah. I guess the only good thing for you folks in OR is you won't have any of them driving on your roads and streets again, until they sneak back into the state.

Oregon needs a vehicular homicide law.

Isn't there already a crime of homicide caused by reckless behavior?

It's called a Double O license! (licensed to kill)

How is it that the victim is a bum?

Isn't there already a crime of homicide caused by reckless behavior?

The problem seems to be that carelessness or negligence behind the wheel, including traffic infractions, is not enough for a criminal prosecution, even if it causes a death. It should be.

How is it that the victim is a bum?

A pedestrian? In Salem? Ipso facto.

This is crazy, we end up making tons of laws, cause that is what legislators do and then we don't enforce them.

Unless it is done selectively to someone, for example, who would piss off a city commissioner. I mean are these law-makers so self-possesed they don't realize you make a law you need jail space? Not to mention more PERS employeees to enforce it?

I think it is interesting that the article states that the driver has never had a license and yet he is convicted numerous times for driving on a suspended license.

So, his first incident of driving without a license results in a "suspended license" punishment, effectivcely preventing him from going to the DMV to obtain a license, then thereafter he is charged with driving on a "suspended license?"

My dad used to threaten me when I was 15 with, "I'll take away your license before you even get it!" I guess it's possible!

I hope you get the traction on this issue that you got with "stolen truck scam". But frankly I doubt that there will be any help from "the powers that be"

A pedestrian? In Salem? Ipso facto."

Grrrr. Not nice, and not very accurate. Harumph.

Anyway, it appears Mr. Bertoglio wasn't so much a bum as an intentional transient:

Noting that Bertoglio received income from Social Security and a veteran's pension, Johnson said, "He had money. He had income. He wasn't destitute. He just liked to move around."
I don't see how a headline using the word "bum" was more usefully informative than simply "man".

This is my own personal little rant, but I was hobbling to MAX yesterday with a cane (having broken vital body parts) and was off the sidewalk in the pedestrian path and a lady in an SUV (but of course) saw me and kept barreling down the street towards me. I hobbled faster to get out of her way and yelled at her, "Like, were you planning to STOP?" She honked and I flipped her off. I should have shook my cane @ her! Do you know how many times I have almost been (do not drive) hit by drivers who just could not give a rat's ass? And the SL just passed a new stricter law, that if you're ON THE CURB ABOUT TO STEP OFF THE WALKER HAS THE ROW. DRIVERS HAVE TO STOP. Driving is a privilege not a right you big fat pig SUV drivers. And what the hell are people doing driving those things when young people are dying in Iraq so we can have cheap gas? Do you know how much a gallon of gas costs in England? Or Michigan, for that matter! This whole country is going to hell in a handbasket. I live for January 20, 2009!

Once upon a time I was crossing from the corporate division to the capital building while all engrossed in the copies I had just picked-up when, out of the blue . . .

. . someone tried to run me over. I don't what they were thinking but it must have been intentional, whatever it was.

I'd be surprised if other bums have not had a similar experience at that very spot. I defy anyone to describe me as anything but a bum, in the context of car meets man (or otherwise).

"Isn't there already a crime of homicide caused by reckless behavior?"

Yes, causing death recklessly is manslaughter-II, or manslaughter-I if done with the added fact of "extreme indifference to the value of human life." The problem is the element of causation. Whether you think driving without a license is recklessness -- "awareness of a risk and nonetheless proceeding in the face of that risk" -- or is simply a negligent act -- basically, acting unreasonably -- did the act of driving without the piece of paper cause the death? Or was it some other, discrete act? I understand the driver in the Salem death turned the corner and didn't see the guy -- "failed to maintain adequate lookout" or "too fast for conditions then and there existing" which for my money should be enough to convict for negligent homicide. Oddly, the difference between negligence that will sustain a conviction and one that won't is in practical terms what the jury will accept. Hardly a due process analysis. Oregon needs a vehicular homicide statue.

My post wasn't about cycling anyway -- it was about the deeply rooted hostility that we've developed to ANYTHING other than automobility.

This latest incident is another great argument for having auto liability insurance being included in the price of gas, so that there is no such thing as an uninsured motorist. There are at least 12% of the drivers on the road who are totally uninsured, and that statistic only looks at licensed drivers. Since I myself was involved in joyrides as a 14 year old, I know that you sure as hell don't need a license to drive a car.

If you want to use this incident for good, learn about Andrew Tobias's plan for pay-at-the-pump no fault insurance; he wrote a good book about it called "Auto Insurance Alert" that's sadly out of print but might be available through a library.

The gist of it is this: all insurance premiums collected through a per-gallon fee. The insurance companies bid for equal-risk blocks of drivers and are responsible for servicing all their claims. Every year the blocks go out for bid again, so that there is competition among the companies to promote efficiency in claims service. Every year the drivers get to evaluate the service that their claims-handling company has provided, and companies with poor ratings have their bids down-weighted (so poor service drives up their costs to win blocks of drivers to service).

The benefits:
* no more underwriting expenses
* no more marketing expenses
* no more advertising expenses
* no more policy exclusions
* no more need for UIM coverage
* no more UIMs, period
* out-of-state drivers help pay for it also with their in-state gas purchases
* no more having to buy insurance by the month--this rewards conservation by shifting the cost of insurance into a variable cost rather than a cost of ownership; the high-mileage drivers pay more, low mileage drivers pay less.

... Once upon a time I was crossing from the corporate division to the capital building while all engrossed in the copies I had just picked-up when, out of the blue someone tried to run me over. I don't what they were thinking but it must have been intentional, whatever it was.

By any chance were you ever involved in the investigations of the state corrections system?

"By any chance were you ever involved in the investigations of the state corrections system?"

Which reminds me, I recently saw a minivan down here with a big sticker across the window for "". Bit of a surprise, that.

"I should have shook my cane @ her!"
You should have wacked her car with that cane.

"You should have wacked her car with that cane."

Especially if it's got a big heavy steel knob on the end and you can connect with the windshield.

"I'm sorry, officer. I was jumping out of the way and I wasn't paying attention to my cane. Somehow the end of it just ended up poking out there. If only the driver had respected my right-of-way, this terrible accident would never have happened!"

[ahem] Sorry. Little fantasy of mine there.

Thank you for the validation Alan! I wanted too, badly! I could not get over her giving me this complete attitude like I was in the wrong and she was in the right. Who are these people? What is the matter with them?

Well, about three weeks ago some idiot almost ran me and my family down in a marked crosswalk on Court street right in front of the Capitol building in Salem. She was in the center lane, it was early afternoon, and with a three-year-old riding on my shoulders a guy my size is not exactly inconspicuous; there was no question of our visibility. Yet she missed my wife and stepson by under two feet because she apparently didn't give a damn for yielding to pedestrians.

Would I have inflicted body damage to her car right then if I could have? Call me a vandal if you like, but hell yeah.

I don't see how a headline using the word "bum" was more usefully informative than simply "man".

In case you missed it, I don't share the view taken by the headline. But do you think the dead guy's "transient" status has anything to do with the fact that his killer is driving away scot-free, for the umpteenth time, for being a menace behind the wheel?


Not that I don't have to know the relevant statutes that apply to this or anything due to my profession, but, are you under the impression this law applies if you are jaywalking against the signal, or walking out in the middle of the street far away from an intersection or marked crosswalk ?

Just curious...

'Cause I nearly kill people on a nightly basis, who jaywalk right in front of me downtown without looking first to see if 2 tons of steel is bearing down on them at 20-25mph.

When I was in Yamhill --the town, not County-- for a speeding ticket several years ago, most of the people on the docket were Hispanic, and many of them had multiple charges (no license, no registration, no insurance). They were generally handed large fines, but with nearly all of the fines suspended as long as they didn't get caught again. It was almost like a "leave town and this will all go away" response. Or maybe it was compassion, I don't know. I know I paid a higher fine for going 35 in a 25mph zone than those guys did for having no license, insurance or car registrations.

I'd say if you were caught driving without a license there should be some automatic throw-your-butt-in-jail penalty...except when I was 16 I drove my Dad's '63 Buick Wildcat with my girlfriend to a secluded spot to go do some heavy breathing. When a cop showed up he looked at me, saw I had no license, no registration and no insurance...and told me I was lucky I was parked and if he saw my sorry ass on the road driving I was toast. I went straight home and amended my ways (as we used to say in the Catholic Church).

Kill a pedestrian in a crosswalk when you've no license, though? There should be some serious jail time.

"This latest incident is another great argument for having auto liability insurance being included in the price of gas, so that there is no such thing as an uninsured motorist"

Why is there a group who thinks the only answer is to tax the responsible ones?

"Why is there a group who thinks the only answer is to tax the responsible ones?"

As opposed to the irresponsible ones, who drive around causing destruction on empty tanks? How do these ne'er-do-wells get their cars to move? With their bare feet, Flinstone-style?

"Why is there a group who thinks the only answer is to tax the responsible ones?"

The responsible ones already pay in the form of increased premiums all around, if you are to believe the insurance companaies. At least with a tax, even the irresponsible ones will pay.

Do you know how many times I have almost been (do not drive) hit by drivers who just could not give a rat's ass?

Hmmm, probably about the same amount as me being run down by bicyclists on the sidewalk or a crosswalk who dont give a rats ass.
I work downtown, and the three years I have been working down there, I think I have had maybe two problems with cars. But every single day I have a close call with a bicyclist. They are not even supposed to be on the sidewalks downtown.

Good point Cabbie. That is why I was so mad. I was crossing in a legally designated pedestrian lane. There was absolutely no doubt of who was in the right (me). And I do not jaywalk or take chances, especially with my bad leg and especially with my child who I definitely don't want to pick up bad habits or take chances when she is by herself. As for bicyclists, well, I call them "Ragu with Brains." Do you know how many bicyclists I see running stop signs? Why aren't they taxed? And a bicyclist nearly caused me to get killed once because she gave a driver the right of way! I was like, "What am I, chopped liver you moron." Oh please...Gotta go, obv. need more caffeine. Just writing this stuff gets me mad!


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