After scary pass and encounter, an attempt to seek justice from video evidence

After scary pass and encounter, an attempt to seek justice from video evidence

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This woman could be a key witness of a dangerous pass on SE 34th Avenue last week.
(Still from video by Tony Tapay)

“We’ve got to do something about this… This is beyond the pale.”
— Ray Thomas, lawyer

Last week we shared a harrowing video captured via a camera mounted on Portlander Tony Tapay’s bicycle. The video showed a man dangerously passing Tapay as he rode with his young son on the back of his bike on SE 34th Avenue last week. The video captured the type of blatantly dangerous driving behavior that is common on our streets — yet usually goes unnoticed and unpunished.

Tapay hopes to change that.

He’s shown the video to local lawyer Ray Thomas and Tapay is now moving forward with the citizen initiated citation process (that we happened to cover just last month). Tapay hasn’t officially hired Thomas, so at this point Thomas is just helping out with advice.

Thomas told us this morning that if Tapay puts in the work and does the follow-up there’s a good chance he can succeed in issuing a traffic citation to the man in that car. “You can’t make a criminal case in this situation,” Thomas shared, “but you can make a case for careless driving, failure to follow the ‘basic rule’, or an unlawful pass.”

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The first order of business is to build the case. Tapay has excellent video footage (which includes some shots of the driver himself) and the license plate number.

Tapay’s video also includes another crucial piece of the puzzle: a potential witness. In the video a woman is shown riding in the opposite direction just after the man in the car careens by Tapay. If she steps forward she could bolster Tapay’s case and help bring the man in the car to justice.

The next challenge for Tapay will be to positively identify the driver. Thomas said that a sticking point in cases like this is when someone claims — even if their car is located and proven to have been used in the incident — that they weren’t driving at the time it happened.

Please take a good look at the woman in the photo above. If you know her (or if it’s you), please contact us and we’ll forward your information to the right place.

Once Tapay puts all the pieces of his case in order, he can then fill out the proper paperwork with Multnomah County and get a court date where a judge will hear the case.

We’ll continue to cover this as things move forward.

I agree with Thomas when he says, “We’ve got to do something about this. This is beyond the pale.”


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