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  1. #1
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Driver Gets 90 Days in Cyclist's Death

    Silver Eagle Pilot

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    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Don't think he'd get any more for killing a driver or ped.
    Without full details, i can't say if he deserves more or less.
    Breaking bike parts for more than 20 years
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    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    I know I am going to get flamed for it, but I think old people should have yearly exam to prove they can still drive.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
    Stay calm and bring a towel.

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    Conservative Hippie
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    Quote Originally Posted by UmneyDurak
    I know I am going to get flamed for it, but I think old people should have yearly exam to prove they can still drive.
    I think all drivers should have to undergo periodic retesting, both writtten and driving, but that may or may not have helped in this case.

  6. #6
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    +1 and +1

    But if he did nothing wrong, how did he end up in the bike lane? I just do not understand, he was responsible for controlling the car, right?

  7. #7
    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI
    +1 and +1

    But if he did nothing wrong, how did he end up in the bike lane? I just do not understand, he was responsible for controlling the car, right?
    That's a good question. He was driving, he killed someone. 90 days? Unbelievable. Until the laws in this country are changed, you can get away with murder by hitting someone with your car. "Gee, I drifted into the bike lane because I was looking for the on ramp to 280." What a lame excuse and a lame sentence.

    There was a woman here in Wisconsin who killed a cyclist becaues she was driving and suffers from macular degeneration. I wrote my state reps and there was a bill before the assembly last year that would require all drivers 75 and older to get a free eye exam each year to renew their license. (Current law is license renewal every 6-8 years I believe.) The bill never made it to the floor for a vote due to the leadership of a particular party. Anyway, this woman was aquited in the case. Here's the new report from AP:

    Associated Press

    SHAWANO, Wis. - An 85-year-old woman has been acquitted in the death of
    a bicyclist last summer.

    A Shawano County jury deliberated for about half an hour Friday before
    finding Sarah J. Ash not guilty of homicide by negligent use of a
    vehicle.

    She had been charged in connection with the death of 49-year-old Wayne
    W. Smith. The Town of Wescott resident had been struck from behind while
    he was bicycling on a road in the Town of Richmond last July.

    Ash had faced up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines if
    convicted.

    Ash, who has macular degeneration, said she never saw Smith on the road.

    Defense attorney David Winter had no comment following the verdict. During the trial, which started Thursday, he said what happened was an
    accident, not a crime, and his client was upset.

    "Imagine the pain, the sleepless nights," he said.

    He said prosecution did not introduce testimony or evidence showing it
    was unsafe for Ash to be driving.

    Smith's father-in-law, Eugene Lindauer, questioned the verdict, saying
    had Ash been younger, the outcome may have been different.

    "It was because she was old," he said. "If it were a young person, they
    would have gone to jail."

  8. #8
    Senior Member R-Wells's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctyler
    That's a good question. He was driving, he killed someone. 90 days? Unbelievable. Until the laws in this country are changed, you can get away with murder by hitting someone with your car. "Gee, I drifted into the bike lane because I was looking for the on ramp to 280." What a lame excuse and a lame sentence.

    There was a woman here in Wisconsin who killed a cyclist becaues she was driving and suffers from macular degeneration. I wrote my state reps and there was a bill before the assembly last year that would require all drivers 75 and older to get a free eye exam each year to renew their license. (Current law is license renewal every 6-8 years I believe.) The bill never made it to the floor for a vote due to the leadership of a particular party. Anyway, this woman was aquited in the case. Here's the new report from AP:

    Associated Press

    SHAWANO, Wis. - An 85-year-old woman has been acquitted in the death of
    a bicyclist last summer.

    A Shawano County jury deliberated for about half an hour Friday before
    finding Sarah J. Ash not guilty of homicide by negligent use of a
    vehicle.

    She had been charged in connection with the death of 49-year-old Wayne
    W. Smith. The Town of Wescott resident had been struck from behind while
    he was bicycling on a road in the Town of Richmond last July.

    Ash had faced up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines if
    convicted.

    Ash, who has macular degeneration, said she never saw Smith on the road.

    Defense attorney David Winter had no comment following the verdict. During the trial, which started Thursday, he said what happened was an
    accident, not a crime, and his client was upset.

    "Imagine the pain, the sleepless nights," he said.

    He said prosecution did not introduce testimony or evidence showing it
    was unsafe for Ash to be driving.

    Smith's father-in-law, Eugene Lindauer, questioned the verdict, saying
    had Ash been younger, the outcome may have been different.

    "It was because she was old," he said. "If it were a young person, they
    would have gone to jail."
    You honestly beleive he did this Intentionally?
    _______________________________________________________________
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  9. #9
    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R-Wells
    You honestly beleive he did this Intentionally?
    Of course not. But what difference does it make? He was driving and he killed someone. 90 days in jail is unbelievable.

  10. #10
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    He said prosecution did not introduce testimony or evidence showing it
    was unsafe for Ash to be driving.
    If that's true, then it's the prosecution that is to be blamed here.

    Having said that, my dad developed macular degeneration about 10 years before he passed. At first he reduced his own driving. Later, he was given a special license that allowed him to drive only within a 5 mile radius of his house. At some point he decided for himself even that was unsafe, and stopped driving altogether. So it might not be easy to prove that driving with m.d. is inherently unsafe.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    I think the reason that penalties are so lenient is that death is an integral part of driving.

    In 2003 42,643 people were killed in automobile crashes. I don't the the US public is prepared to ascribe criminal responsibility for the deaths that result from what seems to be an inevitable daily activity. The citizens of that country and many others have accepted for some reason that they do not drive by choice, that they are 'forced' to, and therefore all of the death (not to mention injuries) that result are in some way, unavoidable.

    While training, engineering (of roads and vehicles), enforcement of traffic regulations, and punishment of the negligent driver can have a positive impact, death is an inevitable part of driving cars. I think most people understand this, refuse to understand that they have a choice, and accept that they or their loved ones may be killed violently at any time in a car crash.

    It seems strange that people accept violent death at the wheel, but not other forms of violent death, but I guess people have made their choices...

    I for one wish that more people would recognise the danger and find ways to reduce the risks, but I'm just one person (and yes, I do drive from time to time).


    Quote Originally Posted by ctyler
    That's a good question. He was driving, he killed someone. 90 days? Unbelievable. Until the laws in this country are changed, you can get away with murder by hitting someone with your car. "Gee, I drifted into the bike lane because I was looking for the on ramp to 280." What a lame excuse and a lame sentence.

    There was a woman here in Wisconsin who killed a cyclist becaues she was driving and suffers from macular degeneration. I wrote my state reps and there was a bill before the assembly last year that would require all drivers 75 and older to get a free eye exam each year to renew their license. (Current law is license renewal every 6-8 years I believe.) The bill never made it to the floor for a vote due to the leadership of a particular party. Anyway, this woman was aquited in the case. Here's the new report from AP:

    Associated Press

    SHAWANO, Wis. - An 85-year-old woman has been acquitted in the death of
    a bicyclist last summer.

    A Shawano County jury deliberated for about half an hour Friday before
    finding Sarah J. Ash not guilty of homicide by negligent use of a
    vehicle.

    She had been charged in connection with the death of 49-year-old Wayne
    W. Smith. The Town of Wescott resident had been struck from behind while
    he was bicycling on a road in the Town of Richmond last July.

    Ash had faced up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines if
    convicted.

    Ash, who has macular degeneration, said she never saw Smith on the road.

    Defense attorney David Winter had no comment following the verdict. During the trial, which started Thursday, he said what happened was an
    accident, not a crime, and his client was upset.

    "Imagine the pain, the sleepless nights," he said.

    He said prosecution did not introduce testimony or evidence showing it
    was unsafe for Ash to be driving.

    Smith's father-in-law, Eugene Lindauer, questioned the verdict, saying
    had Ash been younger, the outcome may have been different.

    "It was because she was old," he said. "If it were a young person, they
    would have gone to jail."

  12. #12
    Senior Member R-Wells's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctyler
    Of course not. But what difference does it make? He was driving and he killed someone. 90 days in jail is unbelievable.
    You called it murder, you are speaking like you want punishment in accordance to murder.

    Either is was murder or it was not.

    Most likely we are talking about an accidental death.

    It is very sad and was probably preventable.

    Maybe the system is responsible as much as the driver?
    Maybe the system needs to be held accountable?
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  13. #13
    N_C
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    In accordance with current Colorado Law does the punishment fit the crime? When you answer this do not answer based on your personal feelings or subjectivity, answer based on what the law says compared to the crime committed & the punishment issued. I sahDoes the state a 90 day jail sentance is allowed or does the law allow for a stiffer penalty?
    Last edited by N_C; 10-12-06 at 12:55 PM.

  14. #14
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R-Wells
    You honestly beleive he did this Intentionally?
    Then it's vehicular manslaughter and subject to jailtime....this is how crime and punishment work.
    Pretty hard to prove murder in a vehicular case. I applaud this as maybe drivers might realize there are consequences when you fall asleep (figuratively and literally) while operating a ton+ machine on public roadways. Feel free to drift into a ditch or a tree on your private property.
    Last edited by TRaffic Jammer; 10-12-06 at 12:59 PM.

  15. #15
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctyler
    That's a good question. He was driving, he killed someone. 90 days? Unbelievable. Until the laws in this country are changed, you can get away with murder by hitting someone with your car. "Gee, I drifted into the bike lane because I was looking for the on ramp to 280." What a lame excuse and a lame sentence. ...
    What can I add? The message of this sentence is, "Life is cheap."
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  16. #16
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    Hey, life is free. So is death.

  17. #17
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    What can I add? The message of this sentence is, "Life is cheap."
    Yup... carry a ***, go to jail; kill with a car... no big deal.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    I will get myself flamed for this, but I think the sentence was far too harsh. Probation from driving for a few months, just to require the guy to take some time to get back his nerves and perhaps have his eyesight and reflexes tested, was all that was required.

    People around these forums, and the drivers on the road, expect too much from the traffic system and the cars' safety systems. How can someone expect there NOT to be accidents when we have people manually controlling 4000 lb cars at 50 mph? How can you possibly make this situation more safe than it is now? We have airbags, precision steering and control of cars, antilock brakes, traction control, huge blinkers and lights for bikes, books and classes on VC riding to keep cyclists safe, helmets, and on and on and on...

    Yet nothing here prevents the freak accident of someone making a mistake at the wrong time and another person being at the wrong place at the wrong time and on the recieving end of the mistake. Would we still be calling for his head if he drifted in the opposite direction and hit an oncoming car head on?

    The road system, as it exists today, is fundamentally dangerous. We all accept the danger of miscalculation everytime we ride a bike or drive a car on the road. There is no way to render harmless every danger we face in life. The guy driving the car is almost 70 years old. Think of how many times he had to evade death in the daily course of life, much less in a war or two, to get to be that age. That's how far we've come in this society in eliminating dangers in our life. But the curve is asymtotic to zero, meaning we'll get closer and closer, but never eliminate the dangers of miscalculation and mistake.

    How do we get closer to eliminating danger on the road? Do we hand the task of driving over to some computer who can calculate much faster than our own brain? Isn't this just to hand off the responsiblity of our actions to some other entity? Why do we fear this? It's because computers crash or make mistakes as well as us humans. They calculate faster, but suck at pattern recognition. The make decisions faster, but they can't understand the morality of missing the vulnerable kid on a bike in favor of risking the head on from on-coming traffic. And when they make a mistake, there is nobody to take responsibility. Put the road system into the hands of computers, and mistakes leading to accidents would truly be indiscriminate. At least now, we own our own mistakes in judgement. The survivors of an accident victim at least know that someone feels terrible about the mistake that lead to the death. And if that person doesn't take responsibility, we have a legal system we can sic on them and force them to feel bad about their mistake. Think of the paranoia that would be caused the first time a computer controlled car made a mistake and kills a person?

    Or instead, do we just keep extending the extend of human senses? Collision avoidance alarms? Automatic road sign readers? Navigation systems which talk to us to keep us from being distracted by looking for street signs? All these help, but won't eliminate good, old fashion human error.

    The point is that there are only so many things we can do to avoid danger. At some point we need to accept that there are dangers on the road, and quite trying to punish those who made one mistake that everyone makes, the only difference being that the mistake was made at the wrong time and someone besides themselves ended up paying the price. Ask yourselves this: how many times have you been driving in an unfamiliar place, concentrating on street signs, and find the path of your car wandering?
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  19. #19
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    He drifted....he killed.... inattention, bad driving, careless driving, not an accident. Big difference.

  20. #20
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    I am not sure that harsh sentences are the answer to safer driving. I am not an eye for an eye kind of person.

    Here is a case where a cyclist, got off for killing a ped:
    http://www.gtconnect.com/articles/20...y/tueloc02.txt

    Given how many people are killed in cars and by cars it is a wonder that they are not banned items.

    How many people have gotten off because they failed to lock a *** and their kid blew him self or someone else away?

  21. #21
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    One more thing: Does anyone thing that this guy will get to be a better driver after 3 months in jail and 3 years of probation?
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  22. #22
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    I'll lay down even odds he'll be ALOT more careful. If not he's an idiot and shouldn't EVER be allowed to drive again.
    who knows.... the act of killing someone may freak him right out from behind the wheel forever.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer
    He drifted....he killed.... inattention, bad driving, careless driving, not an accident. Big difference.
    I'm sure you drifted before (I know I have). Only you didn't kill. What's the difference? He certainly wasn't planning or intending to kill someone.

    If you call all incidents of "inattention, bad driving, careless driving" to be not accidents, then there is no such thing as an accident (perhaps there is not, but this is besides the point). All accidents are avoidable, yet they still happen. Why this contradiction? Because hind sight is better than 20/20 - yet utterly useless to avoid the mistake as it happens. We see how they can be avoided only after they occur.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer
    I'll lay down even odds he'll be ALOT more careful. If not he's an idiot and shouldn't EVER be allowed to drive again.
    who knows.... the act of killing someone may freak him right out from behind the wheel forever.
    Probably. But how is this helped by a 3 month jail sentence and a 3 year prohibition on driving?
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  25. #25
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    The sentence might/should give him pause. I would HOPE that 3 months of reflection will drive the point home he alone is responsible for the riders death.
    This is how punishments work, but many people think punishments or accountability of one's actions is a bizarre concept.
    So I can get away with anything if I say it was an accident? Where does one draw the line? Do I get to sue the solar system because the sun was in my eye's and I killed someone or should I have slowed down until I COULD see properly (not his excuse)?

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