RAINIER, Ore. – A 74-year-old St. Helens man was killed while biking near Rainier Saturday after being struck by a hit-and-run driver who was apparently texting, police said.
Peter Linden, who had been battling cancer, was biking along Highway 30 just west of Rainier when he was hit by a pickup. Linden was pronounced dead at the scene. He was wearing a helmet.
The pickup, driven by 34-year-old Kristopher Woodruff of Vernonia, continued driving and was stopped by an Oregon State Police trooper a few minutes later, police said.
Investigators said Woodruff was driving distracted, looking at a text message on his phone. His pickup traveled onto the shoulder of Highway 30, where it hit Linden.
Woodruff gave the officer a North Dakota ID. He did not have a valid drivers license, police said.
According to court records obtained by KGW, Woodruff had previously been cited for driving without a valid driver's license and driving uninsured in 2001.
Linden's wife, Elie, told KGW that Peter had been diagnosed with cancer three years ago. Even through chemo treatments, he rode his bike 50 miles a day, 3 days a week.
He was in the middle of a regular 50-mile bike ride when he was killed.
Elie said she forgives Woodruff, but she's been with Peter through every step of his cancer treatments and is upset that he had to die alone.
Woodruff was taken to the Columbia County Jail on Manslaughter, felony hit-and-run and other charges.