Man on bike dies when run down by 'raging' driver
After the Checkered Flag Tavern, on S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses at Flavel Street, closed down in the wee hours of Sunday morning, June 23 – a scuffle across the street led to a murderous road rage incident, according to a man who was there.
Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers received a call at 3:32 a.m. about "a person injured in a crash involving a sedan", near the intersection of S.E. Flavel Street and 79th Avenue.
"Portland Fire & Rescue paramedics arrived and determined the injured adult male bicyclist was deceased at the scene," said Portland Police spokesperson Lt. Tina Jones.
The PPB Traffic Division Major Crash Team responded to the location and took charge of the investigation, Jones reported.
Later that morning, just after police investigators cleared the scene, neighbor Taud Coffman was looking at paint outlines at the end of his driveway. "This is where they found the bike rider's shoes," he remarked. "I'd just gotten up to 'use the facility' when I saw all of these units coming into the area with their [flashing emergency] lights on.
"When I went outside to take a look, a guy – who said he was a friend [of the bicyclist] – told me that somehow the two of them ended up across the street from the tavern, at the 7-Eleven store, to get some smokes.
"For some reason, they couldn't get the cigarettes," Coffman said that he was told. "When [the bicyclist] couldn't get them, he asked the girlfriend of another guy standing there for a cigarette – and apparently, that guy got real mad, and there was a little scuffle.
"The guy got on his bike and took off [westbound] on Flavel Street. The couple started fighting; and when the driver got into his car, the girl stayed behind, at the 7-Eleven," related Coffman.
The driver then took off after the bicyclist at a high rate of speed, caught up with him – and allegedly intentionally smashed his car into him.
"The guy on the bike was hit so hard, it knocked his body from here, in front of my house, to nearly the third house west, down the street," Coffman pointed out. "I thought I heard the officers here say the car must have been doing 65 mph or better."
Police later identified the victim of the crash as 32-year-old Lance T. Hart.
"The PPB Major Crash Team investigators arrested 21 year-old Nicholas Pena Martinez, the driver of the involved sedan," reported Lt. Jones.
Martinez was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center at 10:37 a.m. that morning, on a Felony charge of Manslaughter II, and Misdemeanors of Reckless Driving, and DUII (alcohol).
At his arraignment in Multnomah County District Court, Martinez learned he will face all three charges; he is now in custody at Inverness Jail in lieu of $255,000 combined bail.
Anyone else who witnessed, or has information regarding, this incident is asked to contact Traffic Investigator Phillip Maynard at 503/823-2216.
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