Friday, October 9, 2020

Joleen Braasch Berry Struck while Biking on Cherry Ave, Driver Later Charged with DUI and Assault

Geez. Here is news today of a second person killed by a driver.

Because it was initially an injury only, it did not occasion a release from the Police, but Joleen Braasch Berry died from her injuries today.

The paper writes:

Joleen Braasch Berry, of Salem, was riding with a helmet in the bicycle lane [on Tuesday] when William Justin Chambers, 25, who was driving a Toyota sedan, drifted out of the southbound traffic lane and into the bike lane [in the 2700 block of Cherry Ave NE].

Chambers struck Berry, then came to a stop after crashing into a tree....

Chambers was charged with second-degree manslaughter, driving while under the influence of intoxicants and vehicular assault.

Unlike the crash reporting on the Windsor Island Road death, here in this story there are people biking and driving, and the driver, not the car, is the responsible agent in the crash. Though it should not also be necessary to say Berry was or was not wearing a helmet, as if not wearing a helmet might invite a crash and cause the person biking to have to share some of the blame for their death or that our level of sympathy might vary with helmet use. The lethal error and power is the driver's, not whether a person biking has a helmet. Helmet use doesn't protect against a crash. See the earlier post for more on language and ascription of responsibility.

Update, Saturday the 10th

In print, the story uses the tired and inaccurate "hit by car" trope in the headline. It also corrects the charges from "manslaughter" to "felony second-degree assault" and adds "failure to perform the duties of a driver."

Print uses "hit by car" formula, erasing the driver

As a person with her own story and life, Berry is largely absent, and hopefully follow-up stories on the court dates will give her more dignity and presence. The dead and seriously injured are not able to tell their own story, and structurally the reports always depend too much on the driver. He gets the photo, even if it is a mug shot.

Monday the 12th

Here's a tribute from the Book Bin, with details on an in-store memorial.

via FB

This post may be updated.

Killed in 2020
Killed in 2019
Killed in 2018
Killed in 2017
Killed in 2016:
Killed in 2015:


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

updated with clip from paper and a few revised details

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated with clip from Book Bin

Melissa said...

I keep looking for any information following Chambers' court appearance, which was scheduled for Oct. 16. Does anyone know what his status is?

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

BikePortland has news of a civil lawsuit. In a comment on the first story, a preview, lawyer Ray Thomas writes:

"On August 9, 2021 we will file a complaint in Multnomah County against duster manufacturers and distributors on behalf of the estate and husband of Joleen Braasch-Berry, a 26-year-old bicycle commuter killed October 6, 2020 while riding her bicycle home from work by a young man who minutes before had purchased and taken hits (as recorded on security video) in the parking lot as he walked to his car with an aerosol can of CRC “Duster” from the checkout at the Salem Home Depot store. He then drove onto the street and two minutes later drove onto the shoulder, smashing his car into Joleen."

They also have more on the press conference associated with the filing.

It may be interesting to learn how the existing conditions on Cherry Avenue, the painted bike lane and posted speed in particular, are blamed or held blameless in the legal arguments.

But more attention will probably be given to huffing and liability there.

Unknown said...

I'm still trying to find out what happened to the offender. I don't see him incarcerated anywhere and not listed on probation. I would hope something happened but I can't seem to find out.