Flurry of finger-pointing clouds circumstances of cyclist’s death

Read how — when the real driver of the car that killed a bicyclist on SE Foster Road refuses to take responsibility — police arrest them both‚

A 58-year-old bicyclist’s life ended here, in the 11500 block of SE Foster Road on May 4. Two women who police say were both in the car that struck the cyclist each claim the other was driving.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

They’re both continue playing a game of “she did it”.

Police say one of two 28-year-old outer SE Portland women is responsible for ending the life of 58-year-old Jerry Alvin Hinatsu about 4:00 p.m. on May 5.

While they have their suspicions, authorities are still trying to determine for sure just who is responsible for the biker’s death.

When we arrive on scene, details of the accident are sketchy. The crumpled bicycle is near the driveway of the Franz Bakery Outlet Store. The victim lies nearby, his body covered with a yellow tarp.

A Portland Police East Precinct sergeant tells us there are few details.

As he talks, a patrol car drives past us, heading west, on SE Foster Road. A woman in the passenger’s seat is covering her face with her hands so we can’t photograph her. The patrol car disappears from view as it passes SE 111th Ave.

Officials say 28-year-old Sara Lance got out of the Honda after the accident; it then drove away, making it a hit-and-run felony. Officers now say they suspect Lance may actually have been the driver at the wheel when the cyclist was struck.

We ask why, if she is a witness, she’s hiding her face.

The sergeant says, “Right now, there’s a lot we don’t know about the case.”

The story unfolds
According to police reports, we learn cyclist Hinatsu is struck as he’s riding west, illegally pedaling the wrong way in the eastbound bike lane. He’s not wearing a helmet, either.

The 1991 Honda Accord that strikes and kills Hinatsu stops briefly, one individual gets out, and the car takes off.

“It may not have even been the driver’s fault at all,” comments Portland Police Bureau spokesperson Catherine Kent. “But when a driver leaves an accident scene, they’re committing a crime.”

Police say 28-year-old Cynthia Amaya may simply have been the passenger, at the time of the deadly accident; but she sped off after the impact, and someone ditched the car in Hillsboro.

“She did it”
Later, officials reveal 28-year-old SE Portland resident, Sara Ann Lance, got out of the Honda at the scene, before it fled. After intense questioning, she implicates her roommate, 28-year-old Cynthia Marie Amaya, as the driver at the time Hinatsu was struck down.

Police look for the Honda, hoping to find forensic evidence. It is later found in Hillsboro, abandoned.

Friday afternoon rush hour traffic backs up in every direction as police investigate the fatal accident on SE Foster Road.

“What we have are two women who are pointing the finger at each other,” Kent later explains.

On May 11, we check with Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division Lt. Mark Kruger for an update.

“Amaya and Lance are still both charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Not Discharging the Duties of a Driver, Hindering Prosecution and Evidence Tampering in the case,” Kruger tells us. “Both women were lodged at Multnomah County Jail, but later released on their own recognizance while the investigation continues.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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