10-23-2019  12:45 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State Ecology Director Objects to EPA’s Proposed Clean Water Act Rule

Ecology Director Maia Bellon submitted formal objections in which she calls the proposal ill-advised and illegal

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

NEWS BRIEFS

U.S. Census Bureau Hosts Job Recruitment Events in Portland

There are several opportunities to ‘Meet the Employer’ today through Saturday for more information or to apply for 2020 census...

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Woman sues Oregon clinic over claims of past abuse by doctor

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A woman who says she was repeatedly sexually abused by her pediatrician has filed a jumi million lawsuit against the doctor's former medical clinic in Oregon.The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Tuesday that the woman says the abuse occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s at...

Police: Body found is missing university student

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police say a body found near the St. Johns Bridge in Northwest Portland is a missing University of Portland freshman.Police on Tuesday evening said that the medical examiner's office had conducted an autopsy and positively identified the body as Owen...

AP Top 25: Ohio State jumps Clemson to 3rd; Wisconsin falls

Ohio State edged past Clemson to No. 3 in The Associated Press college football poll and Wisconsin dropped to 13th after being upset ahead of its showdown with the Buckeyes.Alabama remained No. 1 on Sunday in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank, receiving 24 first-place votes. No. 2 LSU held...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason wants it known he's the best coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores.Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 22 Missouri 21-14 on Saturday with a stifling defensive...

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Farewells to US Rep. Elijah Cummings to begin in Baltimore

BALTIMORE (AP) — Constituents, friends and other mourners are set to gather at a historically black college in Baltimore to honor the life of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings in the first of a series of planned services.The Maryland congressman and civil rights champion died Thursday of...

Trump claim brings new pain to relatives of lynching victims

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Willie Edwards Jr., a black truck driver, was killed by Ku Klux Klansmen who forced him to jump off a bridge in Alabama in 1957. Two years earlier, white men had bludgeoned black teenager Emmett Till to death in Mississippi. No one went to prison for either...

Trump 2020 targeting Hispanic vote in nontraditional places

YORK, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is making contrarian appeals in the most unusual places, trying to win over Hispanic voters in states not known for them, like Pennsylvania.His second campaign, far better financed and organized than his first, is pressing every...

ENTERTAINMENT

Liam Gallagher talks solo rise, family feud and rock music

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Spend a few minutes with Liam Gallagher and it's clear the rocker hasn't lost any of his bravado, right down to counting himself among the greats in rock history.But Gallagher does acknowledge that one band breakup — not, Oasis, but rather the demise of Beady Eye in...

Lori Loughlin, other parents charged again in college scheme

BOSTON (AP) — "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband and nine other parents faced new federal charges Tuesday in a scandal involving dozens of wealthy parents accused of bribing their children's way into elite universities or cheating on college entrance exams.A...

Celebrities to get drag makeovers in RuPaul's new VH1 series

LOS ANGELES (AP) — RuPaul is giving a dozen celebrities the chance to get drag makeovers for charity and bragging rights.VH1 said Tuesday that "RuPaul's Celebrity Drag Race" will air as a limited series next year.Each of the four episodes will feature a trio of stars competing for best drag...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Is the stethoscope dying? High-tech rivals pose a threat

CHICAGO (AP) — Two centuries after its invention, the stethoscope — the very symbol of the medical...

Trump 2020 targeting Hispanic vote in nontraditional places

YORK, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is making contrarian appeals in the most...

Pennsylvania's gas politics churn as Trump embraces industry

EXTON, Pa. (AP) — For a second time in three months, President Donald Trump is headed to Pennsylvania to...

Botswana votes as ruling party faces surprising challenge

GABORONE, Botswana (AP) — Polls opened in Botswana on Wednesday as the long-peaceful southern African...

Boris Johnson inches toward securing Brexit but delay likely

LONDON (AP) — For a brief moment Tuesday, Brexit was within a British prime minister's grasp.Boris Johnson...

Canada's Trudeau wins reelection but faces a divided nation

TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau begins his second term facing an increasingly divided...

McMenamins
Stephanie Smith CNN

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Jacob Stevens scrambled to new wife Clara's side moments after she was struck by a car and whispered desperate entreaties for her to live.

But in his heart, he knew that Clara Heyworth, 28, would soon die.

Blood from a wound on her head was spilling onto the road, Stevens said, and it was clear that she was seriously injured.

"I don't think anyone can fix this," Stevens told friends that morning. "We all know this can't be fixed."

A lawsuit filed Monday in Brooklyn federal court claims that the driver of the car that struck Heyworth was intoxicated, speeding and violating other traffic laws.

But the civil suit -- which names the driver, Anthony Webb, and the New York City Police Department -- is far from open-and-shut.

"The New York City Police Department is legally required to investigate traffic accidents if there is a serious injury, but their current policy is not to do so," said a statement from Stevens, who is a plaintiff in the case along with his late wife's estate.

"They canceled their investigation into the crash that killed Clara that very night, destroying crucial evidence, and they've also failed to investigate hundreds of other similar cases."

The suit goes further, saying that rather than being a random lapse, the handling of Heyworth's case is consistent with an entrenched policy within the NYPD of failing to meaningfully investigate cyclist and pedestrian incidents crashes except when the victim's death is certain.

"NYPD systematically misclassifies vehicular crimes as 'accidents,' creating a false appearance of declining crime rates while motorists like Webb escape consequences," according to the lawsuit.

Efforts to seek comment from the department and from Webb have been unsuccessful. The City of New York's law department has said they will review the case thoroughly once the legal papers are formally served.

'Likely to die'

At the heart of the issue is a seemingly simple phrase: "Likely to die."

When traffic crashes result in death, and sometimes when death is imminent, a specialized squad within the NYPD called the Accident Investigation Squad -- trained to perform a comprehensive canvas of the scene -- is called in to investigate.

"A sergeant or a lieutenant makes a determination after consultation with the doctors -- say, at the hospital to keep it simple -- that there is a likelihood (of death)," said John Cassidy, executive officer of the NYPD Transportation Bureau, at a City Council hearing in February. "At that point, the accident investigation technicians ... respond to the location, and they begin the examination of the scene."

The problem, according to Steve Vaccaro, Stevens' attorney, is that the NYPD has substituted a more restrictive and ill-defined standard of "likely to die."

"It is left to untrained officers, given no guidance as to what 'likely to die' means, to obtain a prognosis for the victim from emergency room personnel completely engrossed in saving the victim's life," Vaccaro said. Meanwhile, "the decision of whether to gather and preserve evidence of how the crash occurred hangs in the balance."

The lawsuit says Webb's vehicle allegedly struck Heyworth just before 2 a.m. July 10 at an intersection in Brooklyn.

"I can still hear the screech of his brakes and the sound of the impact," said Stevens, who was steps away but has no visual memory of the accident. "My friends saw the tire marks that (the car) left all over the road."

By 2:06 a.m., an officer who had arrived on the scene, according to the lawsuit, radioed that Heyworth "may be likely" to die.

Two minutes after that, the officer asked for an Accident Investigation Squad detective to respond to the scene.

Then, at 2:59 a.m., while Heyworth was being rushed to Bellevue Hospital, the Accident Investigation Squad inquiry was called off.

"Police canceled the investigation because Heyworth was still alive," Vaccaro said. "No doctor was at that point willing to say she was likely to die."

Doctors later estimated that Heyworth was effectively brain dead when her head hit the pavement, so it is unclear why the Accident Investigation Squad inquiry was never started, Stevens said.

Despite that, doctors at Bellevue offered an operation to save Heyworth's life, with the caveat that her quality of life would be questionable. Even if it succeeded, Stevens said, it was not clear whether she would regain normal functioning.

"The surgeon said, 'I need your guidance here,' " he said. "I was asked, in other words, whether to let her die or to bear the risk of her being severely brain damaged."

Stevens gave the go-ahead for the operation, but despite doctors' efforts, Heyworth died.

This is where the "likely to die" policy -- which is a departure from state traffic law in which an investigation is triggered, at minimum, in the event of serious injury -- becomes murky for families of victims clamoring for an investigation.

"If Clara had survived that operation but come out of it severely brain damaged, what would NYPD's position be?" Stevens asked. "That they were right to cancel their investigation since she hadn't actually died?"

Three days after Heyworth's death, the Accident Investigation Squad opened an investigation of her case -- an act Stevens says came way too late to collect crucial evidence.

Accidents or criminal acts?

Vaccaro says that in many cases involving cyclists or pedestrians versus vehicles, deference is given to drivers, and the tendency is to treat them as accidents rather than potentially criminal acts.

"As a civilized society, we cannot classify every accident as lightning bolts from an angry God," Vaccaro said. "These cases have causes that are understood and have to be investigated."

The lack of Accident Investigation Squad presence on the night of the crash meant Webb would probably not be criminally charged.

"I'm horrified that they canceled their investigation that night," Stevens said. "I'm angry about the fact that this not only applies to Clara and myself, but that there seems to be a policy not to investigate violent road deaths in New York City."

What Stevens hopes to gain from the lawsuit is, of course, justice. But on a broader level, he wants the NYPD to make it the rule of law to investigate these cases.

"I want to see the law followed and for every case of serious injury or death on the road to be properly investigated," Stevens said. "I want the police to solve the crimes that people want solved."

Bicycle injuries: Is the right-of-way fight getting ugly?

 

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