Witness, business help cyclist assaulted in Oregon City
Denny Payne loves to ride his bike. He'll ride in the snow and the ice and said it's his main form of transportation.
Around 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, he was headed to Clackamette Park in Oregon City to go swimming. As he rode along Highway 99E, he swerved to avoid glass in the bike lane "because if you get a popped tire you're walking your bike, and I'd rather ride my bike."
A driver in a van "started honking and getting frustrated," Payne said. "I just kind of dinged my bell back at him and he was real angry, took off after me and ran into my tire, and I flipped off my bike."
The 57-year-old said he hit his chest and then the driver got out "and started punching on me and stuff."
A witness — who asked not to be identified — saw what happened and stepped up to help.
"I did what was necessary to do the right thing, and that was to get out of my car and intervene and yell really loud for the man to stop," the witness told KOIN 6 News. "I saw him hit the bicyclist with his van, and that's when I got out of my car. I just did what I feel anybody should do."
The witness said the driver — later identified as 24-year-old Molalla resident Joshua Harmon — picked up Payne's bike and threw it on the concrete, damaging it.
"The driver did hit him physically, several times," and drove off when the witness called 911. Police found Harmon and arrested him not long after the 911 call.
The story got posted to social media, where Ryan Guard of Hamilton's Appliance in Gladstone spotted it.
"I heard the story on the Oregon City Chit Chat Facebook page and I thought, being a part of the community, we need to sometimes step up and help him," Guard said.
He saw there was an effort to turn this negative into a positive. That resulted in the community getting a new bike for Payne, which he got Aug. 23 at Hamilton's Appliance.
"We'd like to present you with this new bike," Guard told him. "We heard about your story and so sorry about what happened."
Payne said he loves the bike, but is more touched by the outpouring of support.
"I love it. I'm really happy. It kind of brings a nice thing out of a bad thing. It's definitely a plus," he said. "It's a nice bike. It's the people who matter to me. Somebody reached out."
And the witness, who stepped up to do the right thing, is also happy.
"A very bad situation turned really good for the community."
Harmon now faces three counts of assault and failure to perform the duties of a driver.
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