Orion and Anglea's Murderer, Lindsey Llaneza never went to trial...........
Instead, next Monday, April 12th there is going to be a plea-bargain is a Portland judge's chambers..........
Statement from the bike accident survivor
by OLAlise, 7/2/03 13:50 ET
Press Release from: OHSU STATEMENT FROM CAROLINE BUCHALTER ON THE FATAL JUNE 25 CAR/BICYCLE ACCIDENT July 2nd, 2003 10:05 AM
July 1, 2003
Portland, Ore -- "No one in Portland should be discouraged from riding their bike at night or at any time of the day because of the unfortunate incident that took place on Wednesday, June 25. Rather, I hope that community members will be encouraged to live their lives outside of the automobile and to promote pedestrian/cyclist visibility and safety. It is important for automobile drivers to have continued awareness when sharing the road and this will take everyone's cooperation. DUI laws in Oregon need to be more stringent and citizens need to find better transport options if they choose to drink. Drunk driving should not be tolerated and there must be active enforcement of past offenders. I have no doubt that justice will be served in this case and that something positive can come out of the untimely death of my friends. I will miss my friends dearly but I know that the impact of their lives will inspire others to do great and powerful things. This tragedy has not gone unnoti!ced in Portland and I thank all of the friends, cyclists, activists, and community members for their continued support. We canot do it alone and I know that the strength of our spirit will keep our vision strong."
I began this journey of sad and angry words yesterday enjoying a wonderful spring bike ride to work. I have not owned an automobile since 1997 yet I am constantly surrounded and threatened by them. Ever vigilant and constantly defensive I have survived over 40 years on the streets with nothing worse than one shattered leg and enough road rash and cost in medical bills to pay for a new hip-hop Escalade. I am still alive and healthy and having fun on my bikes. Over the years I have lived in the Portland area I have made many friends while riding a bike as I am not insulated from the world behind a fašade of steel, leather and glass, marketed to make me think I am sexier or more powerful than if I were exposed and vulnerable on a bike.
But I digress. Every day since last June 25th when 2 people that I would have loved to have met were killed and another was maimed by a drunk driver while enjoying a bike ride on a beautiful early summer night I have been reminded by a strange twist of fate involving an automobile with a vanity license plate.
Every day I ride to work I pass an automobile in Hillsboro with the vanity license plate "ORION2"... ... ..
Every day I am forced to remember the murder of Orion Satushek. For a few months last summer I went out of my way so that I would not have to be reminded, so that my eyes would not cloud with tears and reduce my ability to see and be safe. Gradually I found that I could once again ride my usual paths and was able to bear the pain easier.
Every day I find my eyes drawn to that plate and every day I say a prayer for Orion.
Two days ago, out of the blue, I found myself saying a prayer for Lindsey Llaneza. I hoped that, condemned to live the rest of his life with the guilt of killing 2 people and maiming a third he would someday be able to find peace. I realized that my buddhist compassion had finally overcome my anger and sadness. I found that I had finally gotten to a space that I was able to forgive him for murder.
There is no other word in the English language for what he did. Yes, the criminal justice system in the U.S. and in Oregon failed, failed miserably. The first time, 18 years ago, he should have been helped overcome whatever problems he had that his only solution was to drown and mask his pain with his addiction to alcohol. Over and over he was arrested while driving drunk. A slap on the wrist later he was back behind a wheel, driving drunk.
Everything that has happened in our world the last year has caused my energies and the focus of almost all of the others in this community that take a personal stake in fighting the systems and injustice in the world to be focused elsewhere than on something that everyone figured was a done deal. Not that anyone wanted to forget Orion, Angela or Caroline, but we felt we all had more important things to worry about. After all, they were dead and justice would be done. We should have known better... ... ... ..
When I called the D.A.'s office today, thinking I was going to be able to find out what sentence had been handed down to Lindsey Llaneza, where he was incarcerated, as I was thinking of approaching some of my fellow bicyclist in order to try to do something for him as the system had failed him and he IS PART OF OUR COMMUNITY... ... ... who would have thought I would find out what's going on?
There has not been a trial.
The new D.A. assigned to his case, Rod Underhill, has agreed to a plea-bargain hearing Monday, April 12th in the office of Judge Kimberly Frankle.
I now find myself once again questioning almost everything that I used to take for granted. The world I grew up in here in the U.S. in the 50's used to be so much clearer. Good and bad were easy choices. The good guys wore white hats. Air and water were clean. When my family and I went for a bike ride or a walk around the neighborhood, if we saw a police officer, we knew his first name, he smiled and tipped his hat, and knew our names too. I learned that the Japanese living next door were not enemies, even though they had just been released from prison camps a few years before. They were neighbors and friends and I learned their ways, their culture becoming blended with my native-american heritage.
What is justice?
I don't think that the man, who should be guilty of murder, originally charged with manslaughter, could afford an expensive lawyer. I am pretty sure that he had not much money at all, as myself and the bicycling and music community helped pay some of Caroline's hospital bills from OHSU by organizing and contributing to fund-raisers.
So, it is not money that has diverted the criminal justice system from its normal course. What has? I want answers.
I want laws changed here in Oregon and in the rest of the U.S. I want it to be safer to ride my bike anywhere and any time. I DO NOT WANT TO GO THROUGH ANOTHER YEAR OF GREIF WHEN ANOTHER BICYCLIST IS KILLED BY A DRUNK DRIVER. I do not want to be forced to question "WHAT'S GOING ON?"
I am tired of seeing MonsterTrucks crush friend's bikes and getting away with it and that friend getting arrested for "criminal mischief". The truck driver felt threatened... ... ..
I am tired of seeing police stealing bikes that are used for fun rides on Sunday's down the west slope.
I am tired of being pepper-sprayed when a police officer sees me taking a picture of him doing something that is illegal.
I want to once again wake up in a world that is sane, where the police are friendly and smile; a world where sick people are taken care of by their community and healed with love and understanding.
Before I die I want to breath clean air and ride free. I don't want to die, killed by a drunk talking on a cell phone while they are driving to the next bar ignorant of the wonderful world around them and only intent on escape from reality while the police consider me a terrorist because I'm "different".
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