A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Cyclist’s death still under review

Written June 1st, 2015 by Hasso Hering
Roadside memorial for Grant Garner still looked fresh on April 3.

The roadside memorial still looked fresh on April 3. Deputies have mentioned speed, not texting, as a possible factor in the crash. .

You’d be wrong if you thought everybody but the family had forgotten about the death of Albany bicyclist Grant Keith Garner last Feb. 17.  In fact the case continues to be under active review of potential charges against the driver who lost control of the car that killed him.

The crash happened near the curve where Oakville Road becomes Queen Avenue. Garner, 60, was riding his bike west, on his way home after work, when a 2000 Subaru Legacy was coming the other way, failed to make the turn, ricocheted between guardrails and hit him, according to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office. He died at the scene.

Deputies identified the driver as Than Xuan Nguyen, 24, of Corvallis and said she was treated at the scene for minor injuries and was cooperating with the investigation. They said alcohol was not a factor in the crash but excessive speed may have been.

At the end of March, Sheriff Bruce Riley reported that his department’s crash report had been forwarded to the Linn County District Attorney’s Office. On April 7, the DA’s office told me the case had been referred to the Lane County district attorney for review to avoid the appearance of partiality. (Linn DA Doug Marteeny had been friends with Garner and his family and had attended his funeral.)

Last week I checked with Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner, and he got back to me as soon as he got my messages Monday. The DA checked with the deputy working the case and reported: “He’s visited the crash site, met with the LCSO lead, and spoken to the collision reconstructionist.” Gardner added had no other details to share at this point but said, “The investigation is continuing.”

At the scene, a roadside memorial appeared a few days after the crash. It’s still there, though getting a little worn as time goes by. (hh)

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