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Witnesses: Road Rage Driver's Car Plowed Into Cyclist

The Oregonian: Driver who backed into bicyclist Friday was going 40 mph, according to witnesses

by Michael Russell, The Oregonian
Monday August 31, 2009, 5:55 PM

A driver who argued with a bicyclist Friday afternoon in Northeast Portland put his car into reverse and backed into the bicyclist at an estimated 40 mph, according to court reports.

Witnesses told investigators they heard yelling about 2 p.m. in a parking lot at Northeast 122nd Avenue and Glisan Street, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in the case.

They watched as the driver slammed his white 1997 Kia Sportage into reverse and drove it "as fast as it possibly could go" before plowing into the bicyclist, witnesses told investigators.

After impact, the victim appeared to be stuck to the back of the SUV.

The SUV ran through a planter box, forcibly dislodging a boulder estimated to weigh more than 100 pounds, investigators wrote.

Wayne Conrad Thompson, 35, of Portland was looking over his left shoulder, in the direction of travel, and appeared agitated when he struck Michael F. Luther, 52, also of Portland, according to the document.

Thompson was arrested Saturday on accusations of first-degree assault. Bail was set at $250,000.

Police obtained a search warrant early Saturday morning to search Thompson’s SUV and to test his blood for intoxicants. Thompson did not appear intoxicated at the scene, officers reported.

Luther was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center in critical condition. By Monday evening he had improved and was listed in fair condition.