Despite new laws passed to prevent these kinds of things, another driver who killed a cyclist will walk away with only traffic fines.
A motorist won't face criminal charges in an August accident that killed an assistant track coach at Annapolis High School.
Anne Arundel County prosecutors announced Friday that a grand jury has declined to indict 37-year-old Whitney Decesaris. She will be charged with negligent driving and other traffic offenses.
“The grand jury determined that there was no probable cause to charge the driver with Criminally Negligent Manslaughter, which would have required a finding that she drove in a manner that was a gross deviation of the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the circumstances,” said a six-paragraph statement issued by the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s office. “As a result of the grand jury’s decision, the Anne Arundel County police will issue negligent driving and related traffic offenses to the driver by citation.”
The four traffic citations — failure to exercise caution, driving left of the center line and unsafe passing, negligent driving and failure to control speed — each carries a maximum fine of $500. Decesaris can pay the $2,000 in fines or contest the citations in court.
“I’m scared to ride now,” said Mark Hamilton, a county resident who took up cycling this year while nursing a running injury. “Precedent has been set that if someone kills me, it will only cost them $2,000 in traffic fines.”
“If there were ever a case that could clearly be made for [criminally negligent manslaughter], it’s this one,” said Alex Pline, who made a video that showed the approach to the accident scene as Cunningham and DeCesaris would have seen it.
It also sounds like DeCesaris lied
A car suddenly appeared from the other direction, police were told, and DeCesaris swerved back to the right and slammed into Cunningham. Impact marks on the front bumper of DeCesaris’s minivan were about 10 inches from the right side of the vehicle, indicating that Cunningham was struck directly from behind, according to someone with knowledge of the investigation.
Leitess’s spokeswoman, Heather Stone, also refused to answer when asked if political pressure had been exerted on Leitess from the well-connected family of the driver. Decesaris is part of a family that developed much of Prince George’s and southern Anne Arundel counties. The Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute at the Anne Arundel Medical Center is named for members of her family.
“Starting today, I need to forget what’s gone, appreciate what still remains, and look forward to what’s coming next"
If only Trish Cunningham had that option. Maybe DeCesaris should go to jail and maybe not, but she certainly should not drive again for a very long time.
The Family says
“It was our hope that out of this tragedy some good could come and a higher awareness of the need for cars and bikes to respect each other and the space needed for cyclists to safely ride on the roads; however it appears that the States Attorney’s office has determined that unless drugs, alcohol or phone use was involved it is open season on bicycles in Maryland. The loss to our family was huge and we understand that nothing can bring Trish back, but to do nothing but issuing a traffic ticket only compounds the tragedy and is unacceptable. Based upon our investigation, we believe that the Defendant (contrary to some news reports) never crossed the center line or attempted to pass until after Trish was struck from behind. There is no explanation as to how she failed to see Trish when it is a long straight hill and why she failed to do anything to avoid the wreck or even considered closing and passing a bicycle (or any vehicle) on a blind hill. We also look forward the complete file being released so the public can make up their own minds as to whether charges should have been filed.”