Bicyclist struck by bicycle-driver does "right" thing
Back on January 20th, a 68 year old man was riding his bicycle, when a young female driver blew a red light, then thumped the bicyclist, sending him careening to the pavement. Since I am, myself, of similar age, I know that had to hurt. From this point, the story becomes a little cloudy, to say the least. First, my curiosity was piqued when I noticed how the press, and the citizen loving Clackamas County Sheriff's Office kept praising the "young" driver, one Amanda WILLARD, for "doing the right thing." Many news articles were printed, and the Sheriff's Office put out an inordinate number of bulletins praising her, because, she actually stopped, and asked the poor, old, dazed victim if he was alright, before getting into her car, and leaving him, seated on the curb.
I am a news junkie, and have my google alerts set up to notify me when certain names, and certain agencies pop up anywhere on the wire, which is how I was alerted to an article in one of the Pamplin Rags (The "Bee"), concerning this now almost two month old incident:
Bike-bumping driver does the "right thing" — twice!
I will copy and paste most of this article after I have my say, for those interested in reading it. What struck me as balderdash, and strangely over hyped praise, was that this woman, old enough and smart enough, apparently, to have been issued a license to drive a motor vehicle, blew a red light, smashed into a bicyclist, and supposedly considered stopping and asking "are you o.k.?" of a man, who was injured, possibly in shock, and then driving off-was the "right thing???" Then, I noticed that her surname, WILLARD was strikingly similar to the name of a Clackamas County Deputy, who most of us know and love as the bible thumping killer who gunned down Fouad Kaady back in 2005.
Coincidence? I ask, then my question is answered a paragraph or two later, when that Deputy, DAVID WILLARD, was named as the officer who responded to a 911 call from someone else who actually DID do the right thing, and stopped, rendered aid, and took the time to learn that the victim had been injured. At this point, I was blown away by all of the coincidences in this story, but maybe I am simply to cynical for words.
The "Young Driver," who was thoroughly described in a hastily issued bulletin, somehow again "did the right thing," by coming forward, to take her lumps, before anyone but Deputy Dave discovered her identity, thus avoiding prosecution for anything, including running the red light. What a young hero. Thank God for Deputy Dave WILLARD (no relation, I am sure). Good work, CCSO! You covered that up almost as well as you did the Kaady murder. Sleep tight.
Here is the Bee's article, in case you care:
Bike-bumping driver does the "right thing" — twice!
Recovering in his home, Howard Dempsey was presented with a gift of reading material to help pass the time during his recovery by the driver who struck him, Amanda Willard, followed by a handshake.
Because he says he likes exercise, 68-year-old Howard Joel Dempsey was out riding his bike on the Springwater Trail on Sunday, January 20th.
His outing ended painfully at 10:50 am, when he was by struck by a car — the driver ran a red light — where the popular trail intersects with S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard and Bell Avenue.
As Dempsey sprawled on the pavement, his bike going flying, the driver did do the right thing: She pulled over, and ran to Dempsey's side.
"Witnesses on-scene confirm that the driver tried to aid the injured cyclist," reported Clackamas County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) spokesman Detective Jim Strovink. "This driver was very concerned for the welfare of Dempsey, and did what was compassionately expected, and required by law."
However, as Dempsey struggled to his feet, he refused to accept any insurance and contact information which the driver attempted to provide. "Reportedly," Strovink added, "Dempsey continued to exclaim he was going to be just fine, and intended to just 'walk it off'."
Fractured hip and no insurance
"After the responsible driver gave up trying to get Dempsey accept her information, she departed the scene," said Strovink.
But, a short time later, Dempsey discovered he couldn't mount his bicycle, and fell to the pavement in pain.
Thanks to a 9-1-1 call from a bystander, CCSO Deputy Dave Willard arrived on-scene, and summoned medical personnel to examine a still-reluctant Dempsey. He was taken to Providence Milwaukie Hospital, where clinicians found Dempsey was suffering from a seriously fractured hip, requiring extensive surgery.
During the investigation, Deputy Willard discovered Dempsey is a nearly-full-time volunteer in that very hospital — and, unfortunately, didn't have medical insurance.
Because those on the scene described the woman whose car struck Dempsey as appearing very genuine and conscientious, Strovink issued a press release asking the driver to come forward. "We hope that she is courageous enough to step forward, at this most difficult time," it invited.
Less than four minutes after he heard local radio talk show host Lars Larson mention that the Sheriff's Office hoped the driver would step forward, Michael Willard (who is no relation to the investigating CCSO Deputy) called and reported that the driver for whom they were looking was his teenage daughter.
The Deputy visited the Willard home on January 23rd, obtained insurance and driver's information, and filled out an accident report. Because the daughter, 19-year-old Amanda Willard, was insured under the family policy, Dempsey's medical bills will be covered
Driver and victim reunite
Subsequently, at an unusual meeting on the evening of January 24th, the Willard family visited Dempsey, who was by now at home, recovering from the operation, which included the placement of three steel pins in his damaged hip.
Amanda, a dental assistant student at Concordia University, walked into Dempsy's home with a stack of books — tied with a ribbon and bow — for Dempsey to enjoy while he recuperates.
Dempsey's kitty, Muffins, looked bemused by the media crews and equipment that filled his living room.
"It's nice the way it's worked out," Dempsey admitted, "but I hope it never happens again."
Asked how the accident would change his life, Dempsey replied, "It'll probably be a couple of months before I can get back to my volunteer work at the hospital. I volunteer a lot. I like being around other people.
"It's better than being here by myself," added the recently-widowed gentleman. "I'll go back to riding my bike when I get better; I'm not to let this shut me in. I'll ride 30 to 40 miles on a weekend. It gets me out of the house."
Amanda didn't want to speak on camera, so her dad, Michael Willard, met the assembled media. "As soon as Amanda came home, as soon as she came right in the door, she told us what happened. She did get kind of emotional, at that point."
At the time, her father recounted, since the victim had waved off Amanda, the family didn't think the man struck was seriously injured. "Had we thought so, we would have filed a report the next day."
The young lady's dad continued, "I went to lunch at work on Wednesday afternoon, I always listen to the Lars Larson Show during my lunch break. I called the Sheriff's Office, was put through to Deputy Dave Willard, and found out this was indeed the incident. Because it's my daughter, I was a little hesitant to say I know what's going on, but everything matched up."
THE BEE asked Willard why he thought his daughter did the right thing at the scene.
Willard replied, "When we put her on our insurance, she studied the course the insurance company gave her. And, she's a responsible girl. She did what she thought was right. When I heard they needed to talk with Amanda, I picked up the phone. I try to do the right thing too."
Interestingly, despite the blown red light, no citations were issued in this case, Strovink said. But, his headline on his final press release about the incident summed up his view of the situation: "Well, yes, we do have compassionate and extraordinary citizens amongst us
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