A crowd turned out on Barbur Boulevard last night to remember Angela Burke, according to an account posted on the Bike Portland website. Burke, 26, was killed last week by what The Oregonian, quoting police and witnesses, described as a speeding car (reportedly doing 75 in a 35 mph zone) traveling barely on the edge of control.
The Oregonian reports that the driver who allegedly struck Burke was arraigned last Friday “on allegations of negligent homicide and driving under the influence of intoxicants.” He was reported to have significant amounts of both alcohol and marijuana in his system at the time of his arrest, shortly after the Portland fatal pedestrian car crash that killed Burke. The suspect has another court date scheduled later this week.
As both the newspaper and Bike Portland noted, the stretch of Barbur where Burke died is notoriously difficult for Oregon pedestrians and cyclists to cross safely, especially at rush hour. Even those going to last night’s vigil were urged to take safety precautions.
There is a certain irony in the fact that Portland – a city known nationwide for its friendliness to bicyclists and pedestrians – has seen such a rash of fatal bike and pedestrian accidents over the last few years. The very stretch of Barbur where Burke died last week was the site of a similar Portland fatal traffic accident just two months ago.
While authorities say they are working to correct this situation many broader questions need to be considered by our community. In particular, one has to ask what sort of justice family members of Burke and victims like her can obtain in the wake of Portland pedestrian accidents such as this one. Criminal accountability does not begin to settle the accounts of a family’s pain and suffering, lost wages or companionship. It does not, in short, settle the accounts required by justice. For that we must rely on the civil court system and the assistance a Portland pedestrian and bike accident lawyer can offer bereaved family members, or victims struggling to put their lives back together in the wake of someone else’s recklessness.
Bike Portland: Vigil brings light to tragic stretch of Barbur Blvd