Wednesday, March 4, 2020

In Hit and Run, Driver Strikes and Kills Person walking Bike on McGilchrist Street at 22nd

On a road without sidewalks and bike lanes, signed for a lethal speed too fast for an urban context, and very near our emergent brewery district, a driver last night struck and killed Mario Lopez-Lopez walking a bike on the shoulder of the road. The driver compounded the catastrophe with the crime of hit-and-run.

The first release from the Salem PD:
The Salem Police Department is looking for anyone who may have information regarding a fatal hit and run crash which occured late on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020. At approximately 11:29 pm on March 3rd, 2020, Salem officers responded to McGilchrist St SE and 22nd St SE on a report of an unconscious male. When officers arrived they located the male laying on the north shoulder of McGilcrist St SE, between 22nd St SE and Ford St SE. The male was pronounced deceased at the scene. It appears the male had been walking his bike along the shoulder of McGilcrist, near 22nd St SE, prior to being struck by a vehicle, which left the scene without stopping. Investigators had McGilcrist shut down for several hours while they investigated the crash. Anyone with information regarding the driver and/or the vehicle involved in this crash, or who may have been in the area at the time the crash occured and may have seen something, are asked to contact the Salem Police Department TIPS line at 503-588-8477. Investigators are working to identify and contact the next of kin for the deceased.
A first update:
The victim in yesterday's fatal hit and run crash has been identified as Mario Lopez-Lopez, a 44 year old Salem resident. Next of kin has been notified.
McGilchrist at the SSA Office:
40mph, no sidewalks - but watch out for pedestrians!
The area is slated for the first phase of modernization on the McGilchrist corridor, which will provide sidewalks and bike lanes, but the changes may make it even more zoomy. It's a mixed bag of improvement.

22nd will be straightened out with a swoop
This is an unsafe stretch of road for non-auto users of all kinds. Last summer, on August 22nd at about 7am, Margaret Foresee was traveling westbound in a Jeep Wrangler on McGilchrist and turned left onto 19th Street SE. She turned in front of and hit Todd Dowty, who was traveling east on McGilchrist by motorcycle. Dowty died at the scene.

Update, Thursday

The story alternates between driver and vehicle
The print story in the paper talks about seeking the "driver" as responsible agent, yet the crash is in the passive voice and the driver erased: "struck by an unknown vehicle." Even in a hit-and-run, with an unknown driver at the center of things, we still erase the driver in descriptions of the crash itself.

Salem Reporter also erases the driver
Update, Friday March 6th:

From Salem PD after the driver turned himself in:
The suspect is identified as Jerry Lee McKennan, a 48 yr old Salem resident. McKennan was charged with Criminally Negligent Homicide and Fail to Perform Duties of a Driver to Injured Persons and was booked into the Marion County Correctional Facility.

McKennan told investigators that while driving his vehicle, he leaned over to pick up a dropped cell phone and didn't realize he had struck a person until the next day when he noticed damage to his vehicle and read about the fatal crash.
Update, Saturday March 7th

People are circulating a Salem Reporter story from late January, "Longtime volunteers probe south Salem's hidden corners in search of homeless campers":
As they pulled into an alley next to the former Value Village, Mario Lopez, 44, rode a bike in the opposite direction.... Lopez has mostly lived in Salem over the past decade, but was living in Florence over the summer when his roommate assaulted him and broke his hand, he said.... Lopez said he’s been homeless before, but this is his first time without a car. “It makes a big difference,” he said.... Lopez said lost his license after being ticketed multiple times for not having insurance, which he said he couldn’t afford. Not driving wasn’t an option because he had to get to work. “I have to eat,” he said. After he didn’t pay those tickets, he lost his car too.... “I’ll be okay. I’m just having a hard time right now, but I’ll be fine,” he said.
This post will be updated.

We say "troubling"
but really, how troubled are we?
Killed in 2020
Killed in 2019
Killed in 2018
Killed in 2017
Killed in 2016:
Killed in 2015:
On erasing the driver - Columbia Journalism Review
For more discussion of language see these recent examples:
For more on the cultural and legal context of our autoism in which we minimize the responsibility of drivers and shift blame to people on foot, see:


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

(updated with multiple edits and the name of the person killed)

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated with name of driver and preliminary charges

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

updated with excerpts from a short interview with Lopez in January, touching on transportation issues