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Old 07-10-13, 08:14 AM   #1
UberGeek
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Seth Vidal killed by hit-and-run driver

http://www.businessinsider.com/36-ye...-killed-2013-7

Hits close to home for me. He was a great engineer for Red Hat
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Old 07-10-13, 11:09 AM   #2
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I knew Seth from having biked with him on a couple of local bike shop Sunday rides. Really nice guy. This was a real tragedy.

There is a Memorial ride for Seth this Sunday in Durham, NC. The Durham bike community has been devastated by his death. He was a strong advocate for biking in the city.
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Old 07-10-13, 11:21 AM   #3
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This happened less than 100 yards from my house on the next street over (Hillandale) to the east. Hillandale at that point is a 2 lane road that carries way too much traffic during morning and afternoon commutes, but is relatively empty after 7 pm. Because it connects a State freeway with I-85, some folks go a bit beyond the 35 mph limit. At the point where Seth was hit the road has no shoulders (drainage ditches both sides) and not well lit. I avoid riding on this road and can say that the accident area is probably the worst part to ride with traffic. It's one of the few roads in the neighborhood that crosses I-85, so your destination might force you to ride it.

Though he lived close by, I did not know Seth. I tend to say "hey" to the cyclists I encounter on my commute and so perhaps we shared a greeting. It's such a shame that such a senseless loss occurred.

My wife (who heard the sirens and called me at work the day after to tell me) has not said anything about my riding, but I know that it's on her mind that I could be a statistic sometime. To be honest, I am probably more concerned than she is and am seriously thinking about curtailing activity.

Here's another link. Same old story: No license, leave the scene, turn yourself in later.

http://www.wral.com/man-charged-in-d...list/12644209/

RIP Seth
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Old 07-10-13, 08:31 PM   #4
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RIP

My condolences to his family.
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Old 01-08-14, 06:50 PM   #5
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The driver pled guilty and was sentenced today. Without the revoked license it would have been even more of a hand slap. I see the ghost bike everyday and think of Seth, though I never met him. Sentencing guidelines are crap in dealing with something like this.

http://www.wral.com/man-pleads-guilt...eath/13282993/

Last edited by Matariki; 01-08-14 at 06:51 PM. Reason: add url to news article
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Old 01-09-14, 11:04 AM   #6
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wow, 12-24 months with 6 months already served for killing someone? its no wonder some auto drivers display such gross negligence when dealing with cyclists on the road as there appears to be little to no legal ramifications. Thank you for proving the update on this incident.
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Old 01-09-14, 11:14 AM   #7
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wow, 12-24 months with 6 months already served for killing someone? its no wonder some auto drivers display such gross negligence when dealing with cyclists on the road as there appears to be little to no legal ramifications. Thank you for proving the update on this incident.
I'm sure the DA would have charged differently if there was evidence of something more serious such as possibly DUI. The leaving the scene precluded a blood test, but the police probably investigated what he was doing in the dime immediately before the accident.

I'm far less than happy about his driving with revoked license, and that combined with his actions after called for more. But in all fairness, he did turn himself in the next day.

OTOH- I consider it murder when there is clear disregard for consequences, such as DWI, extreme speeding, or otherwise reckless driving, but accidents do happen (even to the very best, and most conscientious people) and an accident is not murder, and we need to not toss that word around loosely.
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Old 01-09-14, 01:41 PM   #8
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I'm sure the DA would have charged differently if there was evidence of something more serious such as possibly DUI. The leaving the scene precluded a blood test, but the police probably investigated what he was doing in the dime immediately before the accident.

I'm far less than happy about his driving with revoked license, and that combined with his actions after called for more. But in all fairness, he did turn himself in the next day.

OTOH- I consider it murder when there is clear disregard for consequences, such as DWI, extreme speeding, or otherwise reckless driving, but accidents do happen (even to the very best, and most conscientious people) and an accident is not murder, and we need to not toss that word around loosely.
Ditto
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Old 01-09-14, 07:22 PM   #9
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Here is some commentary by a neighbor who attended the sentencing hearing:

Quote:
I was there. You can also be there if you want by watching this 53 minute video: http://www.wral.com/news/video/13282958/

The minimum sentence of 12 months active prison time was only one month less than the maximum allowable for the charge of felonious hit-and-run causing death (a Level F felony) for a defendant with 0-1 points for prior convictions when mitigating circumstances are acknowledged and no aggravating circumstances are alleged under the NC Structured Sentencing Act: (See the bottom range of 10-13 months minimum sentence in the box in row 7, column 1 of the Felony Punishment Chart on page 8 of http://www.nccourts.org/Courts/CRS/C...nguide2012.pdf )

As I understand it, the law requires that Kemp be given credit for the six months he spent in jail prior to trial, so he will get out of prison in six months, if he behaves himself there. He will be on probation for 9 months after release.

Note that the judge could have suspended part or all of this sentence and sentenced Kemp to probation only (an "Intermediate" sentence), but he did not.

So, the judge was lenient to the extent of one month of prison time. You can see from this chart that NC law gives a judge very little discretion, except for allowing him to suspend the sentences of people convicted of Level E felonies and lesser crimes if they have few priors. The Structured Sentencing Act was a widely hailed reform introduced in 1993 to reduce prison over-crowding and abuses of judicial discretion.
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Old 01-09-14, 08:07 PM   #10
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I'm sure the DA would have charged differently if there was evidence of something more serious such as possibly DUI. The leaving the scene precluded a blood test, but the police probably investigated what he was doing in the dime immediately before the accident.
Hard to know how much investigation was done along those lines, but this case illustrates a problem with our current sentencing guidelines. The penalties for DUI resulting in a death or injury are frequently far more severe than hit-and-run with the result that it is in the driver's best interest to leave the scene even if he plans to later turn himself in once it is too late for a blood test to prove his level of intoxication.
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Old 01-09-14, 08:29 PM   #11
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....The penalties for DUI resulting in a death or injury are frequently far more severe than hit-and-run with the result that it is in the driver's best interest to leave the scene even if he plans to later turn himself in once it is too late for a blood test to prove his level of intoxication.
I agree that this is a problem. However many states allow a charge (and possible conviction) of DWI without a blood test, if there is sufficient other evidence, such as a credit card bar tab or witnesses. In other states, evidence supporting possible DWI could be an aggravating circumstances changing the guidelines.

Overall, I agree that the guidelines should be such as to negate any advantage to leaving the scene and drying out overnight. But this has to be tempered because many not drunk drivers leave out of simple panic, or in the case of poor neighborhoods, fear of the consequences of hanging around.

One way or another, we need to rethink how to handle the range of driver misconduct, where death or serious injury is involved, because the current system doesn't work. Possibly allowing juries to award, non-insurable damages to be paid out to victims and/or their families over a long period of time. This gets around the problem of insurance insulating people from the consequnces of their actions.
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Old 01-09-14, 08:42 PM   #12
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What really bothers me about hit and run cases, is the driver basically leaving someone to die. I wonder how many times, someone has died in a hit and run, that could have been saved if the driver had stopped and called 911/rendered aid. Much of NC and the US in general are rural areas. There are roads where if something happens you may be SOL for quite some time.

I understand accidents happen. I don't consider every cyclist killed a murder. However, in my mind, once an accident happens, the penalty for leaving the scene should be VERY stiff. To me, it's murder when a living (even barely) person is left on the road in a hit and run without the driver stopping to give some sort of assistance. The penalty for leaving should be stiff enough that it's a no-brainer for even a drunk to stop.
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Old 01-09-14, 11:32 PM   #13
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What really bothers me about hit and run cases, is the driver basically leaving someone to die. I wonder how many times, someone has died in a hit and run, that could have been saved if the driver had stopped and called 911/rendered aid. Much of NC and the US in general are rural areas. There are roads where if something happens you may be SOL for quite some time.

I understand accidents happen. I don't consider every cyclist killed a murder. However, in my mind, once an accident happens, the penalty for leaving the scene should be VERY stiff. To me, it's murder when a living (even barely) person is left on the road in a hit and run without the driver stopping to give some sort of assistance. The penalty for leaving should be stiff enough that it's a no-brainer for even a drunk to stop.
I agree, that not every cyclist who dies in a collision, is a murder victim, or the motorist had maliceaforethought. Because, Murder requires proof of premeditation. At the same time, the motorist should be convicted of involuntary manslaughter or, negligent homicide. Because ninja cyclists' and/or those in dark clothing, notwithstanding. A cyclist who makes themselves persistently visible, shouldn't be treated like an anachronism, when they die on the road.
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Old 01-09-14, 11:48 PM   #14
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I agree that this is a problem. However many states allow a charge (and possible conviction) of DWI without a blood test, if there is sufficient other evidence, such as a credit card bar tab or witnesses. In other states, evidence supporting possible DWI could be an aggravating circumstances changing the guidelines.

Overall, I agree that the guidelines should be such as to negate any advantage to leaving the scene and drying out overnight. But this has to be tempered because many not drunk drivers leave out of simple panic, or in the case of poor neighborhoods, fear of the consequences of hanging around.

One way or another, we need to rethink how to handle the range of driver misconduct, where death or serious injury is involved, because the current system doesn't work. Possibly allowing juries to award, non-insurable damages to be paid out to victims and/or their families over a long period of time. This gets around the problem of insurance insulating people from the consequnces of their actions.
I think that if we only focus on those incidents of improper motor vehicle operation where a death or serious injury occurs, we're not going to succeed in making the roadways any safer. The folks who drive poorly will simply continue to believe that such an event couldn't happen to them. In a way, is it fair to bring the hammer down on someone who is doing something that has become normal, if illegal, like driving too fast for conditions or over the posted speed limit, being distracted, failing to maintain a lane or running a red light to make a right turn, just because this act increases the odds of harm from negligible to measurable and they happened to win this particular lottery?

If we want our roads to work for all users, we need to substantially raise both the penalties for poor driving habits as well as the probability of being nailed for those habits. It is probably more important to do the latter than the former, since no one ever thinks they are a lousy driver until they have a fistful of tickets and a letter from the state informing them that they no longer have a license. (And even then they likely have trouble with the concept.)
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Old 01-10-14, 10:48 AM   #15
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.... It is probably more important to do the latter than the former, since no one ever thinks they are a lousy driver until they have a fistful of tickets and a letter from the state informing them that they no longer have a license. (And even then they likely have trouble with the concept.)
Most states, certainly the eastern ones already have systems in place to manage repeat offenders fairly effectively. OTOH- If we look a the pattern of traffic tickets issued, we see that most speeding tickets issued are on the interstates, where it's least linked to safety.

IMO (opinion) the problem is that there's not enough of a spectrum in possible consequence. It's like fighting wars with only rifles or nuclear weapons. Drivers face either relatively small fines or fully covered damages in accidents, OR criminal penalties possibly involving jail time. Most people don't expect to end up in jail (and most don't) so that threat is too remote to change conduct.

IMO we need to change insurance rules to mandate higher deductibles and some co-insurance for driver caused damages. Knowing the dented fender is going to cost $500 real money, or a accident involving $30,000 in medical and repair bills will cost $3,000 cash, will make drivers think a bit more.
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Old 01-10-14, 02:31 PM   #16
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Most states, certainly the eastern ones already have systems in place to manage repeat offenders fairly effectively. OTOH- If we look a the pattern of traffic tickets issued, we see that most speeding tickets issued are on the interstates, where it's least linked to safety.

IMO (opinion) the problem is that there's not enough of a spectrum in possible consequence. It's like fighting wars with only rifles or nuclear weapons. Drivers face either relatively small fines or fully covered damages in accidents, OR criminal penalties possibly involving jail time. Most people don't expect to end up in jail (and most don't) so that threat is too remote to change conduct.

IMO we need to change insurance rules to mandate higher deductibles and some co-insurance for driver caused damages. Knowing the dented fender is going to cost $500 real money, or a accident involving $30,000 in medical and repair bills will cost $3,000 cash, will make drivers think a bit more.

That would certainly be a good start. (There's a lawyer joke in there somewhere.)It has the advantage of being similar to the recent trend towards larger deductibles/copays in the medical insurance realm, so maybe it can pass the political test.

I still think we need to do a better job of increasing the likelihood of motorists with dangerous habits receiving citations if we want to help them change their habits.
http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc...riefing%20.pdf
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Research to date generally indicates that increases in the certainty of punishment, as opposed to the severity of punishment, are more likely to produce deterrent benefits.
I have to wonder how many times the killer responsible for the death in the OP drove while unlicensed and what effect being pulled over regularly for his likely deficient driving skills would have had. I know that locally we have had some unlicensed motorists pulled over and cited simply because a cop recognized the driver as someone he had successfully caused to lose his license.
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Old 01-10-14, 05:58 PM   #17
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Most states, certainly the eastern ones already have systems in place to manage repeat offenders fairly effectively.
That certainly doesn't appear to be the case in NYC.
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Old 01-10-14, 06:03 PM   #18
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I have to wonder how many times the killer responsible for the death in the OP drove while unlicensed and what effect being pulled over regularly for his likely deficient driving skills would have had. I know that locally we have had some unlicensed motorists pulled over and cited simply because a cop recognized the driver as someone he had successfully caused to lose his license.
Some states/countries impound vehicles for driving without a license. We had a case here a couple of years ago where a guy got his car impounded and his mom made a big stink that it was her car and now she can't get to work. The judge told her that she should have taught her son better. The judge kept the car impounded.
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Old 01-10-14, 08:08 PM   #19
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Some states/countries impound vehicles for driving without a license. We had a case here a couple of years ago where a guy got his car impounded and his mom made a big stink that it was her car and now she can't get to work. The judge told her that she should have taught her son better. The judge kept the car impounded.
If we had such a judge, I'd definitely be sending some love his/her way.
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