« Friday Morning Commute - Nice Bridge | Main | Saturday Morning Ride - Blog Bankruptcy »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Its good to see that the ACM was used, but its sad that it is anything other than a footnote. If a driver hits a cyclist, causes him to crash, drives away, and lets him be killed by another car, it shouldn't matter whether he was doing 75mph in a 30 zone, or 25 mph. He was not only negligent, but grossly negligent and showed callous disregard for others affected by his actions.

What is also sad is that he gets only 14 months in jail. The defendent was statutorily negligent by exceeding the speed limit by 45 mph. Is he banned for driving for life? Restitution?

I note that DC's law provides for a maximum of 5 years and $5000 for vehicular death by negligence. A manslaughter charge carries 30 years: gross negligence/crim. negligence suggests that manslaughter could be an applicable charge.

SJE just to be clear on what happened. Driver 1 hit the cyclist, left the scene and was never apprehended. Driver 2 hit the cyclist when he was lying on the ground, stopped, came back and co-operated with the police. Driver 2 was the one who was convicted. Driver 1, on the other hand, got away with homicide.

That's not how the linked story reads.

"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. The victim, David Haywood Williams Jr., 40, was riding a bicycle, in the same direction, in the 1400 block of Southern Avenue. Austin drove up to Mr. Williams from behind and struck him with his SUV. Then Austin continued on Southern Avenue, stopping on 12th Street SE, about two blocks away.

When he was hit by the SUV, Mr. Williams was thrown from his bicycle and landed on the roadway of Southern Avenue."

Are there more details elsewhere?

(then he was hit by a second driver - that second driver seems to me to be the one that was never caught)

SJE --
Is the speed irrelevant or is it evidence of, as you term it, statutory negligence? I don't think it can be both.

14 months seems like a fair sentence to me, given that he returned to the scene.

Kolohe, you're right it was the 2nd drive who left the scene

Ted: speed should be irrelevant to negligence. If you hit someone operating their bike in a safe and legal manner, the courts should find you negligent.

Statutory negligence occurs when you hurt someone while breaking a law that is meant to keep people safe (some states used to set that at any 25mph over the speed limit, IIRC). IIRC, Statutory negligence means the prosecution shifts the burden, and presumes you are negligent, and makes you liable for gross negligence, with higher penalties (e.g. negligence becomes manslaughter).

My point is that unless the cyclist was doing something dangerous (e.g. riding at night without lights), the fact that the driver hit the cyclist should be enough to show negligence. That it resulted in a death raises it to criminal negligence. This is irrespective of speed.

Doing 75mph, 14 mo seems grossly unfair.

As to those who say "he came back" as a mitigating circumstance: if he had stopped immediately after striking the cyclist, it is reasonable to assume that the second driver would not have run over the cyclist (a car stopped in the road is a bigger red flag than something amorphous on the ground). Of course, coming back on foot makes it possible that he could deal with the cyclist without his car being identified as the one the struck the cyclist.

That he came back means he should not be charged with hit and run, but should not absolve him of negligence.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009


 Subscribe in a reader