News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

A failure of civic duty

The evening of January 18 of this year my daughter and her friend were struck by a moving vehicle making a left turn onto North Oak Street from East Cascade Avenue. The two teen girls were walking inside the crosswalk when the vehicle struck my daughter from behind directly on the outside of her right leg, which threw both girls onto the paved surface.

Stunned, in shock and wounded, the girls got up to find the driver asking if they were OK and that she could not call for help because she had no phone. The injured teens in shock stated they would be OK.

The driver proceeded to drive her vehicle away from the scene. Simultaneously the girls moved down the road toward safety and entered Sisters Saloon where they were received by a helpful staff and patrons. Thank you, Sisters Saloon!

They were cared for immediately and I was contacted about the incident. I arrived shortly afterwards to find both girls visibly shaking and wounded with abrasions from being struck and hitting the pavement. The local ambulance had been contacted. The girls were evaluated in short time and interviewed by a Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office deputy.

While the girls were being interviewed I set out on foot to possibly find the vehicle. It was a Friday night and I had a hunch the vehicle might be found nearby. After the girls settled down and exited the ambulance, I drove my daughter by the vehicle I found that fit the description. She confirmed it immediately and I sent the info through dispatch to the deputies.

Many months passed, the girls’ injuries mostly healed and, despite lost opportunities with sports, things are relatively back to normal. Although the emotional and physical injuries were not life-threatening they were significant and remain in a recovering status. The bruises incurred where the vehicle struck my daughter are shocking.

I pushed the sheriff’s office to follow up and issue a citation. Shortly after the accident I spoke with the officer and he indicated that the D.A. would review the case. About four months later we found that the District Attorney was not seeking hit-and-run, and this was not a criminal offense.

Personally, I agree with the D.A.’s decision declining a criminal charge. However I am unsettled that the driver was not cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The driver carries on with no consequences nor record of an accident that was frighteningly close to severely injuring not one but two people in downtown Sisters that night.

Our community citizens suffered injury that night, for how will the laws be upheld if they are not enforced? Especially when the law was clearly violated and — admittedly so — by the driver.

The officer lost my support by not following through with his duty.

A driving infraction in this circumstance was necessary to uphold the law for all of the people who walk the streets of Sisters.

I followed up with the deputy and other deputies from Deschutes County many times, demanding the driver be cited.

The citation was never given and the six-month limitation has long passed.

I personally called the non-emergency line and left messages to the deputy three times this summer.

He never took the courtesy to call me back nor did I receive a message from him.

As a community I ask you to question whether you are being served appropriately by those who are sworn to protect and serve. I ask you to be intuitive and engage with what is right legally and civically. I have personally provided information to police that upholds law, order, and good civic duty. My daughter is doing the same, recently helping police find a runaway. I am grateful to those who serve our community. Whether you serve as a firefighter, police officer, EMT, teacher, volunteer citizens, etc., we can’t have a good community without your service.

It takes all of us doing the right thing to maintain the high-quality community Sisters is known for.


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