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Motorcycle Passenger Dies From Crash Injuries

Date: July 24, 2010
Location: Highway 99W near McMinnville, Oregon
Names: Timothy Gibson, Gilbert Hokenson

A motorcycle passenger died July 30, 2010, from injuries sustained in a July 24 crash on Highway 99W near McMinnville, Oregon, according to Salem-News.com. The motorcycle operator, who was driving on a suspended license, was seriously injured, but as soon as he recovered, he attempted to flee law enforcement, and police promptly arrested and jailed him.

The crash occurred around 1:25 PM, when Gilbert Hokenson, 45, of Amity, was heading southbound on the highway, and failed to negotiate a left curve. The motorcycle left the highway, ran into a ditch, and crashed.
The motorcycle’s passenger, Timothy Gibson, 60, also of Amity, was critically injured, and was airlifted to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland. Sadly, however, Gibson lost his fight for life, and he passed away the evening of July 30.

Hokenson had serious injuries. He was taken by ambulance to Willamette Valley Medical Center in McMinnville. State police discovered Hokenson’s license was suspended. On August 3, with Hokenson apparently recovered from his injuries, police learned he was planning to flee the area and took him into custody.

According to The Oregonian, Hokenson was taken to Yamhill County Jail on the following charges:

  • First-Degree Manslaughter
  • Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants
  • Reckless Driving
  • Two counts of Recklessly Endangering Another Person
  • Criminal Driving While Suspended

Hokenson’s bail was set at $515,000.

Our hearts go out to Gibson’s family after this tragic and pointless crash. We send special wishes to his sons, Brian and Adam, as well as his granddaughter Savannah, and his brothers, Dave and Paul. According to an obituary, Tim Gibson was an avid golfer who worked as a golf pro. He also enjoyed playing pool, and being surrounded by friends.

We are especially saddened by this loss of life because it was preventable – not only was Hokenson operating a motorcycle with a suspended license, he was driving under the influence. He placed his passenger and himself at risk, and because of this, a man was taken from his family.

According to the Oregon State Bar, when a driver’s license is suspended, it means that driving privileges are removed until a certain amount of time has elapsed or other conditions are met, such as buying insurance or paying fines. This is different from a license being revoked, in which case it is taken away permanently. However, the effect is the same: you cannot drive, unless you have special permission from DMV.

The most common causes for suspended licenses are:

  • Failure to report an accident
  • Failure to appear for a court hearing
  • Failure to obey a court order
  • Failure to file proof of future financial responsibility, when required
  • Failure to pass a breath test

Driving while suspended is a serious offense. It could be treated as a crime or as a violation, depending on the reason for the suspension and other factors. In the case of criminal driving while suspended, the offender could get up to a year in jail and $6,250 in fines. On top of that, all vehicles the convicted person owns can have their registrations suspended for up to three months, and the vehicle being driven at the time of the offense could have its registration suspended for up to 120 days. In some cases, this can happen even if the offender was not the registered owner of the vehicle.

If you knowingly allow someone to drive on a suspended license – whether it’s their own vehicle or yours – you could face a citation.

That’s not all. The court can order the vehicle impounded for up to three months. While the vehicle is locked away and stored, the convicted person is responsible for the costs of towing and storing the vehicle. If the person does not pay when the impoundment is over, the vehicle may be sold at public auction.

Of course, those consequences are very, very minor when you consider the human risk of driving while suspended. Please keep this in mind if a friend or relative with a suspended license ever wants to borrow your car, and just say no.