Richard A. Austin of Forestville, Md. was sentenced Friday to 14 months in prison on a charge of negligent homicide for hitting cyclist David Haywood Williams Jr with his car and leaving the scene. Williams was hit by a second car as he lay in the street and died from his injuries.
Most of the reporting on this story used the shorter AP capsule which makes it seem like it was just a crash with a hit and run, where the driver returned to the scene.
At the plea hearing, Austin admitted to driving his SUV along Southern Avenue on June 4, 2010. Austin hit 40-year-old David Williams Jr. Austin continued driving, stopping about two blocks away.
While Williams lay injured in the road, he was hit by a second vehicle. He died at a Maryland hospital.
Prosecutors say Austin walked back to the scene and admitted to police that he had hit Williams.
But WUSA9 has a longer report that includes this little nugget at the end.
A search of the Airbag Control Module (ACM) of the SUV revealed that Austin was driving 75 mph approximately one second prior to striking Mr. Williams. The ACM also recorded no braking for the previous eight seconds prior to impact.
The speed limit there is 30mph. So this wasn't just "an accident," the driver was driving in a totally reckless manner. It appears there are now three things that can get you sent to prison in a bicycle fatality - driving drunk, hit and run, and driving 150% over the speed limit.
Austin pleaded guilty in May. He's 52 years old and will also be placed on three years of supervised release.
At the plea hearing, Austin admitted that he was driving his Chevrolet Suburban sport utility vehicle at about 10:30 p.m. on June 4, 2010, along Southern Avenue. Forty-year-old David Haywood Williams Jr. was riding a bicycle in the same direction in the 1400 block of Southern Avenue. Austin drove up to Williams from behind and struck him with his SUV. Williams was thrown from his bicycle and landed on the roadway of Southern Avenue.
Nice job by the investigators and prosecutors in this case.
Of course, the second car that hit Williams left the scene as well. And unlike Austin, they never came back. So there is still some work to do - if that driver can still be found.