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-   -   Bicyclist death leads to homicide charge - but not against driver who allegedly hit (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/926605-bicyclist-death-leads-homicide-charge-but-not-against-driver-who-allegedly-hit.html)

JerrySTL 12-18-13 09:48 AM

Bicyclist death leads to homicide charge - but not against driver who allegedly hit
 
A very strange case in Missouri, but makes some sense when you read the entire article.

http://www.news-leader.com/article/2...nclick_check=1

RaleighSport 12-18-13 09:58 AM

And for once in one of these flip flop situations I agree with the reasoning.

FBinNY 12-18-13 10:18 AM

I'm a bit puzzled by the driver's failure to turn herself in within a reasonable time after the accident. So I understand the reasoning behind not charging murder, and shifting that responsibility to the pursuer, but I hope the DA will prosecute the leaving the scene charge and/or other after the fact charges to the maximum.

Chitown_Mike 12-18-13 10:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RaleighSport (Post 16339825)
And for once in one of these flip flop situations I agree with the reasoning.

Yeah I read that and went, "Well that actually makes sense."

However I foresee the defense getting out of the murder charges by stating the cyclist wasn't in proper attire or as visible as they should have been (or some other BS) and everyone skates away without charges.

wphamilton 12-18-13 10:51 AM

The murder charge because he was committing a felony (stolen car among other things) and someone died. That it was a cyclist had nothing to do with the charge.

That's what's a little disturbing about this. Understandably the woman was frightened and could be excused for being reckless trying to get away. But she hit the guy going 85. Should she skate on that? Aren't there any limits? I think she did what she felt she had to, to protect herself, but I also think she should face the consequences even if she acts in fear.

TampaRaleigh 12-18-13 11:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 16339889)
I'm a bit puzzled by the driver's failure to turn herself in within a reasonable time after the accident.

Agreed. If she truly was in fear for her life, she should have immediately gone back to the police.

(Where she would have been arrested for hit and run and placed in a nice safe cell.)

genec 12-18-13 11:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 16339889)
I'm a bit puzzled by the driver's failure to turn herself in within a reasonable time after the accident. So I understand the reasoning behind not charging murder, and shifting that responsibility to the pursuer, but I hope the DA will prosecute the leaving the scene charge and/or other after the fact charges to the maximum.

Quote:

Smith was arrested in Buffalo two days after the crash, court documents say, and she had dyed her hair in an effort to conceal her identity.

Smith has been charged with leaving the scene of the Nov. 17 crash and, because of her criminal history, she could face a wider range of punishment if convicted of that charge — two to seven years in prison.
She isn't "getting away with it." Looks like the DA will follow up.

Matariki 12-18-13 11:20 AM

Endangering others at a scale above that to which she was endangered is not right. On the other hand, if she was truly in panic mode, she may not have been able to think straight. What would have happened if they were in a park and he brandished a gun to threaten her. She then pulled out her own and her panic shot another person. Would he get charged? Would she just say she was trying to attract attention?

It's sad that these two people chose to bring their conflict to the public

Quote:

Originally Posted by wphamilton (Post 16340016)
The murder charge because he was committing a felony (stolen car among other things) and someone died. That it was a cyclist had nothing to do with the charge.

That's what's a little disturbing about this. Understandably the woman was frightened and could be excused for being reckless trying to get away. But she hit the guy going 85. Should she skate on that? Aren't there any limits? I think she did what she felt she had to, to protect herself, but I also think she should face the consequences even if she acts in fear.


B. Carfree 12-18-13 02:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by genec (Post 16340087)
She isn't "getting away with it." Looks like the DA will follow up.

I suspect the DA is just giving her an incentive to testify against her assailant. I'll be surprised if she does any prison time.

howsteepisit 12-18-13 03:20 PM

Guess one question might be does she deserve prison time? Since so may of the posters here believe that the law enforcement/judicial system so so corrupt that cyclists may be killed without punishment, why would an ex-con not be totally justified in a similar belief, and then why would she turn herself in, to face certain mis-justice at the hand of corrupt LEOs?

mulveyr 12-18-13 03:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wphamilton (Post 16340016)
The murder charge because he was committing a felony (stolen car among other things) and someone died. That it was a cyclist had nothing to do with the charge.

That's what's a little disturbing about this. Understandably the woman was frightened and could be excused for being reckless trying to get away. But she hit the guy going 85. Should she skate on that? Aren't there any limits? I think she did what she felt she had to, to protect herself, but I also think she should face the consequences even if she acts in fear.

If I were emperor of the world I'd give her a pass on the hit and run. She was in the middle of being attacked by being rammed multiple times by another car, the boyfriend was armed and clearly out of his gourd, and she had already attempted to go to the police station. There's a reason we say people have a "fight or flight" reaction - if you've never been trained to deal with that level of stress the primal brain takes over.

That being said - once she was clearly out of immediate danger and had a chance to calm down, she should have gone to the police. Her failure to do so should definitely be prosecuted.

johnnymoses 12-18-13 04:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by B. Carfree (Post 16340621)
I suspect the DA is just giving her an incentive to testify against her assailant. I'll be surprised if she does any prison time.

lol, excellent choice of words "incentive"

vol 12-18-13 11:57 PM

"Smith was arrested in Buffalo two days after the crash ... and she had dyed her hair in an effort to conceal her identity."

Another type of drivers to watch for, beside drunkards and cell phone users.

rydabent 12-19-13 08:39 AM

They should both serve time.

aubiecat 12-20-13 02:41 PM

Yep
Quote:

Originally Posted by rydabent (Post 16342618)
They should both serve time.


smasha 12-24-13 03:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wphamilton (Post 16340016)
I think she did what she felt she had to, to protect herself, but I also think she should face the consequences even if she acts in fear.

when someone chases you with a gun and rams you with a stolen car, then you're in a better position to critique her actions. generally speaking, when you can keep a straight face and tell the cops "i was in fear for my life", you can get away with a few things that would otherwise cause you problems.

that said, she should've reported the crash/chase when she was no longer in danger, but "because of her criminal history" she probably has a distrust/fear/hatred of police that few of us will ever know.

seems like charging the ex-boyfriend with murder (among other charges) is the right thing to do. based on the article, i'm really ambiguous about charges against her for fleeing the scene, etc. it seems like society would benefit from locking up the ex-boyfriend for a while... but locking her up? not sure if that would serve any purpose. i get the impression she's more scared and broken than malicious and dangerous.

phoebeisis 12-24-13 05:28 AM

Crazy SOB boyfriend-flashed gun-hit her car-
Horrible but understandable.
Truly one of those "but for the grace of god" deals
Bad luck-cross path with a low life being a low life.

wphamilton 12-24-13 06:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smasha (Post 16355334)
when someone chases you with a gun and rams you with a stolen car, then you're in a better position to critique her actions. generally speaking, when you can keep a straight face and tell the cops "i was in fear for my life", you can get away with a few things that would otherwise cause you problems.

that said, she should've reported the crash/chase when she was no longer in danger, but "because of her criminal history" she probably has a distrust/fear/hatred of police that few of us will ever know.

seems like charging the ex-boyfriend with murder (among other charges) is the right thing to do. based on the article, i'm really ambiguous about charges against her for fleeing the scene, etc. it seems like society would benefit from locking up the ex-boyfriend for a while... but locking her up? not sure if that would serve any purpose. i get the impression she's more scared and broken than malicious and dangerous.

Seriously? No criticizing killing people until you've been in the exact same circumstances as the killer?

rebel1916 12-24-13 08:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smasha (Post 16355334)
that said, she should've reported the crash/chase when she was no longer in danger, but "because of her criminal history" she probably has a distrust/fear/hatred of police that few of us will ever know.

seems like charging the ex-boyfriend with murder (among other charges) is the right thing to do. based on the article, i'm really ambiguous about charges against her for fleeing the scene, etc. it seems like society would benefit from locking up the ex-boyfriend for a while... but locking her up? not sure if that would serve any purpose. i get the impression she's more scared and broken than malicious and dangerous.

I think you have nothing to base that impression on. I think that dying hair and fleeing shows a criminal mental state. And I am unsure what you mean by your first sentence. You believe people who have had negative, interactions with police ( a group that includes virtually everyone working in law enforcement BTW) should get a pass on anything that could require interacting with the popo? That seems crazy.

smasha 12-24-13 02:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wphamilton (Post 16355440)
Seriously? No criticizing killing people until you've been in the exact same circumstances as the killer?

when you're being chased by someone with a gun, and you ACCIDENTALLY kill someone while running for your life, how much leniency would you ask for? or would you accept full responsibility for manslaughter charges?

Quote:

Originally Posted by rebel1916 (Post 16355625)
I think you have nothing to base that impression on. I think that dying hair and fleeing shows a criminal mental state. And I am unsure what you mean by your first sentence. You believe people who have had negative, interactions with police ( a group that includes virtually everyone working in law enforcement BTW) should get a pass on anything that could require interacting with the popo? That seems crazy.

i'm considering that this incident produced two victims. one is dead, the other may have been suffering from extreme mental/emotional trauma, not to mention panic. that traumatized/panicked state could have influenced some bad decisions. i think it's clear that she tried to "do the right thing" while the chase was on (eg driving to the police station).

is that not worth consideration?

like i said... based on the limited information i have, i'm rather ambiguous about what happens to her; but it does seem reasonable to me that she's not held accountable for killing someone. even "fleeing the scene" seems reasonable under the circumstances, since staying at the scene would have been an immediate threat to her own life and safety. NO ONE is required to stay at a crash scene when they reasonably believe their life and/or safety is in danger! that pretty much leaves failing to report the crash, which a court will decide, based on more facts than i have access to.

i do hope that her assailant spends some time locked in a cage, for ultimately being responsible for a death that didn't have to happen... and being a crazy mofo.

CB HI 12-24-13 03:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smasha (Post 16356601)
when you're being chased by someone with a gun, and you ACCIDENTALLY kill someone while running for your life, how much leniency would you ask for? or would you accept full responsibility for manslaughter charges?


i'm considering that this incident produced two victims. one is dead, the other may have been suffering from extreme mental/emotional trauma, not to mention panic. that traumatized/panicked state could have influenced some bad decisions. i think it's clear that she tried to "do the right thing" while the chase was on (eg driving to the police station).

is that not worth consideration?

like i said... based on the limited information i have, i'm rather ambiguous about what happens to her; but it does seem reasonable to me that she's not held accountable for killing someone. even "fleeing the scene" seems reasonable under the circumstances, since staying at the scene would have been an immediate threat to her own life and safety. NO ONE is required to stay at a crash scene when they reasonably believe their life and/or safety is in danger! that pretty much leaves failing to report the crash, which a court will decide, based on more facts than i have access to.

i do hope that her assailant spends some time locked in a cage, for ultimately being responsible for a death that didn't have to happen... and being a crazy mofo.

In many USA states, fleeing the scene law includes reporting to police as soon as possible if it was not safe to do so immediately. Had she reported as soon as she was safe, they would not be able to support the charge of fleeing. Because she never reported, the fleeing charge is a good charge on her.

Once safe, it was her choice alone to report or not report. What if the cyclist was still alive but bleeding when she was safe, reporting may have saved the cyclist life, while not reporting may have allowed the cyclist to bleed out.

smasha 12-24-13 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CB HI (Post 16356763)
In many USA states, fleeing the scene law includes reporting to police as soon as possible if it was not safe to do so immediately. Had she reported as soon as she was safe, they would not be able to support the charge of fleeing. Because she never reported, the fleeing charge is a good charge on her.

Once safe, it was her choice alone to report or not report. What if the cyclist was still alive but bleeding when she was safe, reporting may have saved the cyclist life, while not reporting may have allowed the cyclist to bleed out.

agreed.

that's why i'm not going to form too much of a guilty/not-guilty opinion, except to note that she apparently failed to report the crash after she reached safety. there are a lot of variables, and i certainly don't know all of the facts. for all i know, she may have received a death threat, instructing her to not report the crash.

all i can say is that based on what i know, it's ridiculous to try to hold her culpable/liable for killing the guy... although some people would like to hang her for that.

wphamilton 12-24-13 09:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smasha (Post 16356601)
when you're being chased by someone with a gun, and you ACCIDENTALLY kill someone while running for your life, how much leniency would you ask for? or would you accept full responsibility for manslaughter charges?....

I don't know why you're being personal - I asked for opinions. Your's is clear, but since you ask me: It's not going to happen. I'm not going to accidentally kill someone because I'm reckless from being frightened. My outlook is that it shouldn't happen with anyone, any more than accidentally shooting someone or poisoning someone. If it does happen, then you made the choice of risking someone else's life to run from your own danger. It's a bad choice, but still a choice. I think that a person has to face the consequences of that choice.

CB HI 12-24-13 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smasha (Post 16356792)
for all i know, she may have received a death threat, instructing her to not report the crash.

That is really stretching it, and even that would not absolve her for her actions.

smasha 12-25-13 05:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wphamilton (Post 16357337)
I don't know why you're being personal - I asked for opinions. Your's is clear, but since you ask me: It's not going to happen. I'm not going to accidentally kill someone because I'm reckless from being frightened. My outlook is that it shouldn't happen with anyone, any more than accidentally shooting someone or poisoning someone. If it does happen, then you made the choice of risking someone else's life to run from your own danger. It's a bad choice, but still a choice. I think that a person has to face the consequences of that choice.

it must be nice to be bullet-proof. most people however, when chased by an armed lunatic, would freak the **** out. some would freeze, some would fight for their life, and some of them would do ANYTHING to escape.

the way i see it, being chased by a crazy guy with a gun leaves little choice: survive or die. that's not much of a choice, and in that situation **** happens.

Quote:

Originally Posted by CB HI (Post 16357406)
That is really stretching it, and even that would not absolve her for her actions.

stretching it? why? the fatal crash resulted from her evading her armed & obviously dangerous ex-boyfriend. if he drove under the bicyclist's body before it hit the ground, he knows he's in some deep ****, if he gets caught. it would seem odd if he didn't threaten her to not report it. is he just gonna sit around and wait for the police to show up? or would he be motivated to tell her to keep quiet... or else?

as for whether or not that (and/or other factors) would absolve her for not reporting the crash, again, that's for a court to decide, based on evidence that we don't have access to.


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