- Portland Police Bureau
- Celine Geday
Original post: Typically when a driver hits a cyclist on Portland roads, it's treated like no big deal. If someone on a bike isn't injured enough to merit a hospital visit, an at-fault driver doesn't even face a ticket (assuming they're not drunk and don't flee the scene).
Today, though, things went the opposite direction for an allegedly thoughtless, dangerous, and enraged motorist on the south edge of downtown.
Cops say 29-year-old Celine Julia Geday sought vengeance on a complaining cyclist by swerving to topple him from his bike near SW Jackson and Broadway. The cyclist, 47-year-old Brian Lee Groce, wasn't severely injured, but Geday faces potential years of prison time anyway. That's because cops are recommending she be charged with second-degree assault, a Measure 11 crime that carries a hefty minimum sentence in many cases.
It's a very rare step for Portland police. Bureau spokesman Pete Simpson can't remember another time a driver's been charged with assault for hitting a cyclist.
"Typically they’re not intentional," Simpson says. "They’re just either bad decisions by turning in front of somebody, or, in the case of drunk driving, it’s reckless driving. This time, witness statements led officers to believe it was an intentional act."
From the press release Simpson sent out:
Groce was suffering from non-traumatic injuries and told officers that he had been cut off in traffic by a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta (driven by 29-year-old Celine Julia Geday) and he'd ridden up to her and told her that she'd almost hit him and she replied by honking her horn.
Groce explained to police that they were both traveling East on Jackson and stopped at the red light at Broadway and he repeated to her that she'd almost hit him. Groce told police that the light turned green and they both started to cross Broadway when the driver swerved left, knocked him off the bike, then stopped her car.
Based on Groce's account of events, and independent witness statements, Assault detectives were consulted rather than Traffic investigators as the information indicated that the crash was an intentional act.
It's doubtful it will come to this, but if Geday were convicted of second-degree assault, she'd probably face a sentence of 5 years and 10 months under Measure 11's mandatory minimums. In 1997, lawmakers passed a loophole to that mandate, allowing for more-lenient punishment if:
(A) That the victim was not physically injured by means of a deadly weapon;
(B) That the victim did not suffer a significant physical injury; and
(C) That the defendant does not have a previous conviction for a crime listed in subsection (4) of this section.
I'm no judge, but: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta = deadly weapon.