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Road Rage, Vehicular Assault - Portland, OR


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Road Rage, Vehicular Assault - Portland, OR

  1. 1. Road Rage Leads to Vehicular AssaultWithout a shadow of a doubt, every driver on Oregon roads, no matter how good, careful andcourteous they are will eventually do something that seriously annoys another driver. In most cases,it’s not intentional, but even the most trivial action by one driver increasingly leads to the ever-increasing phenomenon known as road rage in someone else. This can and does lead toconfrontation and inexcusable behavior and occasionally to the need for Portland injury attorneys toget involved, after the fact.Lance Hamel, 38, recently became the victim in a case of road rage that ended up in court. Hamelknows that it could have been much worse. Instead of being in a courtroom explaining what hadhappened to him, he could easily have ended up in a cemetery.Why is this guy following me?Hamel was on his way to work one day, driving through North Portland, when he noticed anotherdriver following him, waving his hands and honking his horn. Hamel knew the other driver wantedhim to stop. He also knew it would be a bad idea, so he continued on to the house he wasremodeling.The other driver was Shawn Mitchell Brockway, a 52-year-old Portland man. Brockway continued tofollow Hamel all the way to the house. Then he got out of his car and accused Hamel of not yieldingto two bicyclists. Hamel said he hadn’t seen any bicyclists, and an argument broke out.Brockway bizarrely started to take photos of Hamel, whereupon Hamel went to Brockway’s car tomemorize the license plate number.Things got ugly...and dangerousRight up to this point, there would have been no need for Portland injury attorneys to be involved.But then Brockway jumped in his car and suddenly accelerated. Hamel was thrown up onto the hoodand had to cling on for more than 100 feet. Brockway never slowed down. Instead, he made a sharpturn that threw Hamel off the car and onto the pavement. Incredibly, Brockway drove off, withoutstopping to see if his actions had seriously injured or killed Hamel. In fact, Hamel was badly injured.He had a fractured tibia and numerous bruises and abrasions.Two City of Portland employees witnessed the incident and one was prepared to tell the court shesaw Brockway deliberately drive into Hamel.Ok, I’m sorry—kind of...Brockway was brought to court and came before Judge Kathleen Dailey. Ironically, Judge Dailey hadonly returned to work after being off injured. She was recently struck by an inattentive driver whenshe was cycling to work.Judge Dailey was told that the defense team and prosecutor had reached an agreement wherebyBrockway would spend 30 days in jail, write a letter of apology, pay Hamel $1,977 in restitution, takeanger management counseling and have his license suspended for five years. Brockway will also beon probation for three years. In return, he pleaded no contest to third-degree assault. When Judge
  2. 2. Dailey asked Brockway if he wished to speak, he declined, saying, “I think I’m OK.” He offered noexplanation whatever for his actions on the day, from following Hamel to his place of work tostriking him with his car and eventually leaving him lying on the pavement with a broken bone. Thejudge disagreed with Brockway’s remark, reminding both Brockway and his attorney, Tom MacNair,that a no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt; just a concession the prosecution will most likelywin the case. Brockway refused to answer how he therefore planned to write a letter of apology, asagreed, when he indicated he didn’t agree with the prosecution’s version of events.In perhaps the greatest irony to come out of this case, it emerged that Brockway actually made iteasy for police to find him after the incident. He phoned 9-1-1 to complain that Hamel had jumpedonto his car and tried to pull off the windshield wipers. What he didn’t know is that neither Hamelnor the two city employees had been able to get his license number.Judge Dailey summed up her own feelings about the case when she told Brockway, “I don’t thinkyou’re OK. When you carry someone on the hood of your car for 100 feet before you dump them off,something is not right. You’re lucky you’re not here on a manslaughter...or homicide charge. This isnot how sane people conduct themselves.”For his part, Hamel knows he’s lucky to be alive. Portland injury attorneys have seen many caseswhere road rage incidents similar to Hamel’s have ended up the victim suffering catastrophic injuriesor worse, with the family of the victim bringing a wrongful death claim.To borrow a phrase from Abraham Lincoln, you “can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Hecouldn’t have known it, but this is never more true than when you’re out driving. Road rage is acommon occurrence and at its worst, it leads to people being injured or even killed. If you or a lovedone has been injured in a road rage incident in Oregon, it’s important to know that the person whoassaulted you, for whatever reason, can and should be held accountable for their actions. Contact ateam of dedicated Portland injury attorneys, who will explain all your options in detail. They will alsoexplain how you should be compensated for any physical injuries you received, as well as anyemotional and psychological distress you may have experienced.