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  1. #1
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    To be fair the cyclist reportedly did not have a light. Damn I know if I where rearended at 50mph my blinkey would fly off. Driver was drunk and left the scene of an accident, (I thought that that was a traffic law) but still not given "vehicular homicide" charge. Of course the driver is going to say "he swerved in front of me". Why no breathalizer? Bet she was a "hottie".

    http://www2.dailybulletin.com/news/ci_3129640
    No homicide charge in fatal bicycle accident
    By Rod Leveque, Staff Writer

    RANCHO CUCAMONGA - Prosecutors declined to file homicide charges Tuesday against a suspected drunken driver who hit and kille in Montclair early Sunday morning., The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office said Connie Sinohui appeared to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision, but her alleged intoxication didn't seem to be a factor in the fatality. "It just appears she was proceeding down the road when the cyclist swerved in front of her," Deputy District Attorney Charles Blackwell said.
    The cyclist, 21-year-old Pablo Morales Garcia of Ontario, was riding his bike west on Holt Boulevard in Montclair at about 3:30 a.m.

    Blackwell said Garcia was riding in the dark without a light when he abruptly veered into traffic lanes and in front of Sinohui's car.

    Sinohui, 41, of Pomona, was traveling within the speed limit and was not violating any other traffic laws at the time, the prosecutor said.

    Blackwell said that in order to be guilty of a vehicular homicide, a drunken driver must break some other traffic law, such as speeding, or commit some additional act of negligence.

    Investigators have not determined the woman's blood alcohol level at the time of the collision.

    The suspicions that she was intoxicated stem from the observations of investigating officers, Blackwell said.

    Police said Sinohui failed to stop after hitting the cyclist. She was arrested about a mile from the scene.

    The collision was reported by a San Bernardino County deputy coroner who was driving in the area after working another car crash.

    Sinohui was charged on Tuesday with drunken driving, fleeing the scene of an accident and an enhancement for having a child in her car while driving under the influence.


    Rod Leveque can be reached by e-mail at r_levequeor by phone at (909) 483-9325.
    Last edited by slagjumper; 10-19-05 at 11:58 AM.

  2. #2
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    Why not at least felony hit and run? This doesn't make sense.

  3. #3
    militant commuter
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    You all ever see the movie "Star Chamber"?

    I wonder, at what point would vigilantism not be a surprise?

  4. #4
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    .. in order to be guilty of a vehicular homicide, a drunken driver must break some other traffic law...

    ... Police said Sinohui failed to stop after hitting the cyclist.
    I just had to take the bait and point that out.

  5. #5
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Gee if the drunk had hit a motorist then there would have been charges filed based on the drunk driving alone...

  6. #6
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    How did the DA know the cyclist swerved? I can't imagine there would be physical evidence, so you'd be left with eyewitness testimony. The only surviving witness is the driver, who's just a little biased.

    This stinks on so many levels.

  7. #7
    imminent danger
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    Can't believe that they don't automatically breathalise after that kind of accident.

    How does feeling the scene of an accident differ from hit and run? They sound like two descriptions of the same thing.

    This article, however, typifies what I hate about media reporting of cycling accidents, and to a certain extent accidents of any kind. It's short, conjectural and biased. It fails to properly represent factual elements, rehashes a brief police statement and lends far too much weight to the witness position without raising significant question of events and circumstances. Not only that but it is far too happy to allow the reader to draw their own image of events from nothing.

    How did the DA know the cyclist swerved?
    Most likely on advice from police forensics. If a cyclist is hit at 50 mph then there will be a skidmark automatically created by their tire. Depending on the length, density, shape and direction you can reasonably determine preceeding events.

    The reason the police will not pursue vehicular homicide is because there is "reasonble doubt" and a conviction is unlikely unless the jury is solely made up of cycling activists.

  8. #8
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Basically here are our two choices:

    She was either TOO "out of it" to even REALIZE that she had just taken a human life, OR, the heartless b*tch didn't give a crap.

  9. #9
    imminent danger
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    Maybe, but in a judicial sense both are irrelevant to a charge of homicide.

  10. #10
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    I think the first is HARDLY irrelevant.

  11. #11
    imminent danger
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    I'll repeat the caveat - in a judical sense. Doesn't make it right, doesn't mean I agree with it, just representing a perspective in terms of prosecution.

  12. #12
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    I think some of us missed this line from the article...

    "Sinohui was charged on Tuesday with drunken driving, fleeing the scene of an accident and an enhancement for having a child in her car while driving under the influence."

    She was not charged with homicide but was charged for these other offences. Still an upsetting incident but at least the woman is not getting off scot-free.

    Jalopy

  13. #13
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan828
    Why not at least felony hit and run? This doesn't make sense.
    Why not elect him to the US senate for a couple of consecutive terms? Thats what we did with Ted Kennedy. Heck man, who better than a drunk driving felon to set up our education policy, energy policy, and of course, determine who should sit on the supreme court?

    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

  14. #14
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jalopy
    I think some of us missed this line from the article...

    "Sinohui was charged on Tuesday with drunken driving, fleeing the scene of an accident and an enhancement for having a child in her car while driving under the influence."

    She was not charged with homicide but was charged for these other offences. Still an upsetting incident but at least the woman is not getting off scot-free.

    Jalopy
    Yeah, but:

    Blackwell said that in order to be guilty of a vehicular homicide, a drunken driver must break some other traffic law, such as speeding, or commit some additional act of negligence
    It seems that she meets all the criteria for a vehicular homicide charge, the DA just doesn't want to charge her.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCCommuter
    How did the DA know the cyclist swerved? I can't imagine there would be physical evidence, so you'd be left with eyewitness testimony. The only surviving witness is the driver, who's just a little biased.

    This stinks on so many levels.
    Where did it say there were no witnesses? On the other hand it does say she was caught within a nile of the accident. Could that just perhaps be because some witness called it in?

  16. #16
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    As I read the article, it doesn't say she didn't get tested for alcohol, only that they didn't know the level... It could just be the specific officer asked didn't know. To be charged with drunk driving I think implies a test was taken.

    I wonder if the evidence of swerving was that the cyclist wasn't on the shoulder "where he belonged." (quote implied, not based on actual knowledge of the officers' feelings)
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCCommuter
    Yeah but...

    "Blackwell said that in order to be guilty of a vehicular homicide, a drunken driver must break some other traffic law, such as speeding, or commit some additional act of negligence"

    It seems that she meets all the criteria for a vehicular homicide charge, the DA just doesn't want to charge her.
    I agree that the DA could be a bit more aggressive but when it is said that a traffic law must be broken for a homicide charge, I think it means that a law must be broken resulting in the accident (ie "drunken driver crosses yellow line and hits cyclist"=homicide). Fleeing the scene occured afterwards and, while reprehensible, did not cause the accident. Therefore no homicide charge.

    Jalopy

  18. #18
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    Blackwell said that in order to be guilty of a vehicular homicide, a drunken driver must break some other traffic law, such as speeding, or commit some additional act of negligence
    That's messed up..........

    Being drunk and killing soneone just ain't enough any more.......

  19. #19
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    This may make an interesting worngful death suit.

  20. #20
    lws
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    Not gonna happen. The victim was a pablo, the perp was a sinohui.

  21. #21
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Freaking anti bike bias by police in this country is ridiculous!!

    Someone DIED??, and this wench gets off with DWI? pled down to some less innocous offense in court?

    The way the scenario plays out in my imagination involves: a member of the rude and privledged class takes out an disenfranchised bicyclist. Driver pleads her lily whiteness to the police.

    Police weight a lot of the blame on the cyclist too often in my opinion. A lot of cops hate cyclists, its the law and order power trip versus freedom thing. There are a lot of bubbas hiding behind the shield.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jalopy
    I agree that the DA could be a bit more aggressive but when it is said that a traffic law must be broken for a homicide charge, I think it means that a law must be broken resulting in the accident (ie "drunken driver crosses yellow line and hits cyclist"=homicide). Fleeing the scene occured afterwards and, while reprehensible, did not cause the accident. Therefore no homicide charge.

    Jalopy
    I agree with Serge. I guess Driving Under The Influence of Alcohol doesn' violate any traffic laws anymore.
    The D.A. might have his/her laws wrong. If a person that's drunk is violating a traffic law bad enough, they can charge second degree murder here. I'm not sure what the atndards are for that, though. The driver would most likely have to preety blatant in the violation.
    What if she'd been sober and it happened? How many of us drive at night in unlit areas slow enough to be able to see anything unlit in front of us, in order to stop in time?

  23. #23
    Warrior Cyclist cycle17's Avatar
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    This is just total crap! And very very sad. I cannot believe it, but it apears to be true.
    Just Do It..

  24. #24
    Bent_Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    There are a lot of bubbas hiding behind the shield.
    You think???????


    Last Friday the NYPD smashed yet another Critical Mass bike ride seizing 50 bikes and arresting 37 people for the crime of assembling in Union Square Park on two wheels. It was a continuation of the crackdown that started during last summer's epic 5,000-rider Republican National Convention event. Despite a federal court order declaring the NYPD’s actions illegal, it doesn’t look like the cops are going to let up. As the weather gets nicer and the rides grow in size, the confrontations are likely to get worse.

    Architect of the Critical Mass crackdown is NYPD Assistant Chief Bruce Smolka. A little background: Before turning his attention to cyclists, Smolka was the commanding officer of the NYPD’s infamous Street Crimes Unit. It was his officers who, in February 1999, pumped 41 bullets into Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant guilty of nothing more than standing in the hallway of his own apartment building. Though the incident nearly sparked race riots and ultimately led to the disbanding of the Street Crimes Unit, it earned Smolka a promotion. Today he runs Patrol Borough Manhattan South and is chief for all of Manhattan below 59th Street.

    The new job combined with the exigencies of the post-9/11 era has given the 30-year NYPD veteran the opportunity to practice his doctrine of overwhelming force and disregard of First Amendment rights on a bigger, more public stage. In February 2003, Smolka illegally ordered horseback-mounted police to charge into a group of peaceful anti-war demonstrators. In April, he confronted a group of about 100 demonstrators in front of the midtown headquarters of Carlyle Group with three times as many officers outfitted in full riot gear. “We were swept off the street like fleas,” Ben Maurer, an activist arrested that day, told a journalist on the scene. “I was illegally arrested, just for yelling at a building.”

    But it wasn't until 2004 wwhen Smolka was appointed co-chair of site security at the Republican National Convention that he really hit his stride. Responsible for securing midtown and everything moving in and out of Madison Square Garden, the Chief could often be found standing on “his perimeter,” head clean-shaven, blue eyes squinting, chin jutting, arms folded across his chest like an urban Patton. A hands-on kind of guy, never afraid to dive into a crowd of demonstrators, Smolka personally oversaw the illegal arrest and detention of hundreds during the convention.

    Smolka's civil liberties violations didn’t stop once the Republicans left town. Perhaps humiliated by his inability to predict or control the humongous Critical Mass ride of August, the chief seems to have made it his mission to completely destroy the ride. He continues to unleash his wrath and the full force of the NYPD on cyclists the last Friday of every month. Internet bulletin boards that post his photo inevitably fill up with messages or recognition like, "Hey, Smolka is the ******* who very deliberately threw me in the street then told me to get out of the street."

    Justice may be catching up to Smolka. At a December 8, 2004 federal court hearing on Critical Mass, civil liberties lawyer Steven Hyman skewered the chief before federal judge, William Pauley. The day’s highlight was Smolka’s attempt to argue that seven bikes lined up on a New York City street are a “procession” requiring a permit while seven motor vehicles clogging the very same street are simply traffic. In fact, bikes have just as much right to be traffic as cars. Judge Pauley didn't buy it. He ruled that the NYPD acted improperly by arresting and seizing the bicycles of Critical Mass riders and he denied the NYPD's request for a federal injunction preventing people with bikes from assembling at Union Square Park on the last Friday of the month.

    For anyone who has followed Bruce Smolka’s career, Judge Pauley’s ruling was not a surprise. The upside of being arrested in a Smolka street sweep is that you have about a 100% chance of being exonerated when your case finally comes before a judge.

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