Hit-And-Run Suspect Arraigned, Freed on Bail
Updated On: Apr 14 2011 09:00:42 AM CDT
A Bend man was arraigned in a Deschutes County courtroom Thursday on charges stemming from a deadly late January crash on Third Street. Bret Lee Biedscheid, 38, is charged with criminally negligent homicide and hit-and-run.
Police had identified Biedscheid as a person of interest in the case in February, after police said Biedcheid's attorney provided a truck that fit the description of the one involved in the Jan. 26 crash that killed Anthony Martin, 48.
On Thursday morning, Biedscheid, standing beside his attorney, Stephen Houze of Portland, made no comment during his brief arraignment before Deschutes County Circuit Judge Barbara Haslinger, who set a June 27th plea hearing.
While Haslinger ordered Biedscheid held on $250,000 bail, he quickly posted the required 10 percent ($25,000) and was booked into and quickly released from jail, a process that jail officials said took about 10 minutes.
The judge imposed standard release conditions, including no use of alcohol or visiting any establishment whose primary business is serving alcohol.
Martin's family members and friends filled the courtroom for Thursday's court proceedings and their first look at the suspect in his death. Afterward, they expressed their dismay about his actions.
"It's a shame that somebody is so coward(ly) to just go away, just drive away and not even hit the brakes -- then hide behind an attorney, a big dollar sign," Martin's friend, David Crouse said Thursday.
"I just want justice to be served, you know?" said, Martin's girlfriend, Sarah Nelson. "It really saddens me. Our daughter will never know her father."
"How could somebody just drive off? she said. "How could somebody just hit another human being and drive off? I know that if you hit a deer (for instance), you know you hit something, I just want to know why did it take so long? It wasn't just a couple of days after he was hit, why did it take weeks for him (Biedscheid) to finally come forward?"
"Tony would have stopped for him (Biedscheid)," Crouse said. "It could've been his tenth DUI, Tony would have stopped."
"The last four months have been very heavy on my family, heavy hearts," Martin's sister, Teresa Gibbs of Madras, said Wednesday. "The stress of not knowing who killed him and whether they were going to be arrested or not was heavy on our hearts, also. I'm just happy this wasn't swept under the rug."
District Attorney Patrick Flaherty said the grand jury indicted Biedscheid on the criminally negligent homicide charge and failure to perform the duties of a driver when a person is killed (the hit-and-run charge).
Biedscheid was not taken into custody, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Traci Anderson. He was not arrested, but agreed to show up for arraignment on the charges.
The grand jury reviewed evidence from witnesses and police, as well as reviewing documents and video, including a security camera that taped the scene from the Albertson?s on Third Street.
Martin was struck by a southbound pickup while pushing his bicycle with a friend as they crossed Northeast Third Street, a short distance north of Revere Avenue. Martin died at the scene, and the pickup driver did not stop, security tapes confirmed.
Two days later, police said, a lawyer for Biedscheid contacted police and surrendered the 2008 GMC pickup matching the description of the one in the crash.
Court documents showed a search of the truck found front-end damage, broken pieces on the passenger-side headlight, and a red substance consistent with blood. Police examinations found broken lens pieces and a missing amber bulb that matched debris found at the scene. Police also found imprints on the bumper and passenger side consistent with a bicycle tire.
Police later served search warrants on Biedscheid?s house, seizing computers, cell phones, GPS devices and other items. Anderson said the case went to the grand jury after the Oregon State Police crime lab finished testing of suspected blood samples from the truck and other forensic work.
"I feel like if it had been myself or anyone else, we would have already been arrested just on the evidence that they already had," Gibbs said.
?The district attorney appreciates the expert and thorough manner in which members of the Bend Police Department investigated the case,? Flaherty said in a news release.
?Additionally, we appreciate the opportunity to work closely and collaborate with our law enforcement partners throughout this investigation,? the DA added.
For Martin's family, the news of Biedscheid's indictment was the news they had been waiting for. Inching closer to closure.
"It's bringing some closure to our family, knowing that something is going in here," Gibbs said. "There is a relief here, and we are going to be through it all, thick and thin."
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