No charges in Powell bike crash that severed man’s leg

alistair corkett 06012015_163528

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) – The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday determined that it will not prosecute the driver involved in a crash that severed a bicyclist’s leg; however, police confirmed three citations will be issued.

Alistair Corkett, who lost his leg when he was hit by a pickup truck, is back on a bike, June 12, 2015 (COURTESY CORKETT FAMILY)

The crash occurred on Sunday, May 10 at 9:52 a.m. at the intersection of Southeast 26th and Powell.

The driver of a 1988 Dodge pick up, Barry Allen, was travelling north on Southeast 26th, according to a memo filed by Senior Deputy District Attorney Glen Banfield. According to the prosecutor’s memo, Allen was in his designated left turn lane. Alistair Corkett was riding his bicycle southbound on Southeast 26th approaching the intersection. Banfield writes that “Allen made a left turn onto westbound (Southeast) Powell Blvd. in front of Corkett.”

The impact between Corkett and the rear bumper of Allen’s vehicle severed Corkett’s leg.

“Although Allen may have been negligent or even careless in failing to yield the right of way Corkett, his conduct … is not the type of conduct that rises to the level of criminal conduct.” Banfield writes. “This tragic event is not chargeable as a felony assault. Accordingly this case is declined for criminal prosecution,” Banfield concluded.

According to the memo, Allen’s vehicle “was marred by numerous dents” and it was difficult to identify specific damage caused by this collision. A witness to the crash told police that he saw Corkett and his riding partner travelling southbound about 4 blocks to the north of the crash scene. The witness told police that he thought “they (the cyclists) were going pretty fast,” according to Banfield’s memo. The witness told police that “Corkett did not appear to slow down as he approached the intersection and did not move into the ‘Bike Box,’” according to the prosecutor’s memo.

A second witness told police that she saw Allen’s truck enter the intersection to make the left turn. She witnesses one cyclist pass the truck and then saw the other hit the right rear panel of the truck. She told police that Corkett was knocked off his bike then slid across the intersection coming to a stop on the south side of the intersection.

The cyclist who was riding with Corkett told police that as the two approached the light at Southeast Powell, he noticed the light was a steady green for southbound traffic and looked like it was going to stay that way. The cyclist with Corkett told police they were “riding at a conversational pace of approximately 18 (miles per hour),” according to Banfield’s memo.

According to the cyclist’s account, he saw Allen’s truck pull into the intersection and saw the driver (Allen) hesitate, “like he was waiting for us,” according to the memo.

Corkett, when interviewed by police, estimated his speeds to be 22 or 23 miles per hour, according to Banfield’s report. Corkett said he too saw Allen pull into the intersection and saw the hesitation described by his riding partner. Corkett told police that he thought he could make it through the intersection based on his assessment of the scene, according to the memo.

Allen told police that he had just delivered a load of scrap metal to a business located on Southeast 26th Avenue just south of Southeast Holgate Blvd., according to the memo. Allen told police that there was a car in front of him. When the light turned green, that car, according to Allen, turned left from Southeast 26th onto Southeast Powell, according to the memo. As Allen was into his turn he saw a bicycle “going faster than he realized,” according to the report. Allen tried to turn out of the path of the bicycle but was not able to do so in time.

Allen passed all field sobriety tests, according to the prosecutor’s memo. Two officers conducting the tests reported that he did not detect any signs of intoxication from either alcohol or controlled substances. A breath test and urine sample were conducted and given by Allen. The urine sample submitted to the lab indicated the presence of 9-Carboxy-THC, a metabolite of marijuana.

Banfield’s memo cautioned, urinalysis cannot measure impairment due to consumption of marijuana and that remnants may remain detectable in urine for days and sometimes weeks after past use in regular smokers.

Police determined that both Corkett and Allen had the green light at the intersection. “Allen was not aware of Corkett’s presence until he began his turn into the intersection,” according to Banfield’s memo. As Allen made his left turn, Corkett tried to avoid Allen’s vehicle but struck the passenger side rear portion of the vehicle.

According to the memo, speed was not a factor in this collision. Corkett, according to the prosecutor, had the right of way. However, in order to criminally prosecute, “the question then becomes whether Allen’s actions in failing to yield the right of way was reckless under the circumstance or done intentionally to cause physical injury to Corkett.”

“There is insufficient evidence…(to) conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Allen intentionally or knowingly caused physical injury to Corkett,” Banfield wrote.

Allen will be cited for careless driving to a vulnerable road user, making a dangerous left turn and driving while uninsured.

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