Bicyclist Killed, Drivers Cited in Fatal N. Portland Accident

Date: November 4, 2009
Location: North Willamette Blvd. & North Haven Ave., Portland, Oregon
Names: Kipp Crawford, Carlos Tyrone McCall, Felisa Washington-Berry

So many questions remain surrounding the death of Kipp Crawford, 31, a Portland, Oregon, musician who died November 4, 2009, after he was found in the road next to his bike. According to BikePortland.org, Crawford was hit by two cars, both of whose drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants. Accounts vary as to whether Crawford was already lying in the road when he was hit.

It was around 2:30 AM when he was run over by a Cadillac driven by Carlos Tyrone McCall, 41, then struck by a second car, an Isuzu SUV driven by Felisa Washington-Berry near the intersection of North Willamette Boulevard and North Haven Avenue, close to the University of Portland.

Portland police have accused the drivers with drunken driving in connection with the tragic crash. Washington-Berry was also booked for reckless driving.

Crawford was rushed to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, but, sadly, he died at the hospital. The cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma, according to the Multnomah County Medical Examiner.

Crawford was a drummer who played in several local bands, including Celilo, Thanks Kipp, and Fractal Quintet. The Ashland High School graduate loved bicycling, according to his mother, Jean Crawford, of Ashland, who told the Mail Tribune that it was not unusual for her son to be out pedaling at 2 AM. “He could have been coming from a gig or a recording session. Music was pretty much central to his entire life,” she added.

According to the Portland Mercury, there have been three other fatal bike crashes in Portland in 2009.

The circumstances surrounding the crash remained unclear as of November 4. A KATU news video posted on BikePortland.org reports that a witness heard an altercation, and some say Crawford may have been pushed. The Portland Police Bureau major crash team’s investigation included “hours” of interviews with the two drivers, according to The Portland Tribune.

Comments on the news stories have already begun to show the rift between drivers and bikers, but, as others point out, there is not enough information to know who is to blame. But facts or not, a person was killed, and we need to take moment to remember this man’s life. He obviously had a love of both music and cycling. Maybe as more information comes in, we’ll learn that he had a chance to do both right before he died. Our hearts go out to Crawford’s family and friends, and our thoughts are with you as time goes on.

This accident, unfortunately, highlights so many aspects of safe commuting. First, we don’t know if Crawford was wearing a helmet. Second, and most important and disgusting, there is the obvious infraction by the drivers who chose to get in their cars after drinking. Third, there is the question of whether there was an altercation or another person involved. We ask that anyone who knows anything to please come forward. For the sake of his family, who need answers.

After some of the questions are answered, we might also be able to move ahead and see if there are ways to make that stretch of road safer. Or we can educate everyone, drivers and cyclists, about the dangers of driving drunk. Our greatest hope is that Crawford’s death will not be in vain.

By presidential proclamation, December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month (3D Month).