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The story always rang false. I can't imagine hitting something alive and not checking out what it was, putting aside dragging the bike all the way home.

The police, too, failed to do their job. They took no effort to verify the dirver's story even though Ms. Pettigrew was fatally injured.

"Given the lack of witnesses willing to testify,"

Isn't it more the case there are no witnesses?


Why did this take so long. As crickey7 says, easy case. Should have been filed within a month of the death.

Isn't it more the case there are no witnesses?

I would suspect the driver is in the category of witnesses unwilling to testify.


I agree with Contrarian. We can assume that the driver is unwilling to testify. I don't recall if there was a passenger.

Once again, however, I am disgusted at the lack of a stronger legal response. It took almost a year, and we get "leaving the scence of an accident." How about negligent homicide? Because the driver left the scene and/or failed to check, Pettigrew did not get immediate medical attention. The person of ordinary prudence would have stopped, investigated, and called emergency services. But for the driver's negligence, Pettigrew died.

The driver gave a statement. We just don't believe the driver's statement, but there isn't a witness to prove otherwise.

I'm sure you would want to give the driver her basic constitutional rights not force her to testify against herself in a trial.

So again, it was just a peculiar phrasing by the post's author.

That the driver doesn't have to testify, doesn't change the fact that they are unwilling. (If that is even the case). You have to ask Jim what he meant by that, but regardless isn't the driver a witness? So the answer to your question is "no".

Wasn't the driver coming from a party or something? If so, there are many potential witnesses as to her behavior and demeanor immediately prior to the accident. They may also be "unwilling."

Witnesses willing to testify generally means that there was either

1. Other people on the scene who made reports (who saw her stop?) but arent willing to go to court/disappeared when the DA went looking for them

or

2. Someone was in the car and "cant remember"/"was asleep"/etc

@Charlie, SJE, et al. I have no information on how many people saw the crash and/or observed the driver's state of mind. To say that there were "no witnesses" would have required me to state more than I know.

To go ahead with a manslaughter case requires demonstrating that the driver knew that her driving had a high likelihood of killing someone, and that the death actually did result from the way that she was driving. Proof that she was drunk would probably have been enough to proceed. Absent such proof, evidence that she discussed her errant driving before the accident would be necessary.

The difficulty of proceeding with a manslaughter case led Keniss Henry (Ms. Pettigrew's mother) to join other victims' families, WABA, BM, and others to work for passage of a new negligent homicide statute, which takes effect this October 1. Even under that statute, it is necessary to produce evidence of really bad driving before the accident, you just do not need to show that the driver realized how bad she was driving.

I do not know what the police and S.A. were thinking, but I can think of scenarios in which they have basically done it right. Perhaps initial statements blaming Ms. Pettigrew were intended to lull the driver into being cooperative a little bit longer. Immediately charging the driver with hit-and-run could have compromised the potential manslaughter case, if the S.A. thought that such a case might exist. Finally, while it was always pretty clear that a hit-and-run had occurred, the sequence of events led to some uncertainty about whether the offending driver was actually the owner of the car.

almost 2 weeks (nearly 1 year) later and still no charges (9/15). Are you sure about that tip?

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