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Old 11-30-06, 06:53 PM   #1
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19-year-old driver hits and kills cyclist while downloading ringtones

..and is cited for "improper lane usage". I posted this in the road forums as well, but we seriously should hear about this. This is seriously upsetting.

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/loc...cyclists_death

"..The 25-year-old former Champaign resident, a University of Illinois mechanical engineering graduate working for Caterpillar in Peoria, died on Sept. 8 from head injuries he received Sept. 2 when Stark hit him with her car because she was downloading ring tones to her cell phone instead of paying attention to driving.

Mr. Wilhelm was bicycling north on Illinois 130 east of Urbana when he was struck from behind about 7:15 p.m. Stark was so far off the road that she hit Mr. Wilhelm from behind with the driver's side of her car. He was wearing a helmet."


edit: at the request of slvoid, I've added contact information for the state attorney.

Office of the State's Attorney
Julia Rietz
State's Attorney
Courthouse 2nd Floor
101 E. Main St.
Urbana, IL 61801

Phone Main (217) 384-3733
Public email Main: statesatty@co.champaign.il.us

Last edited by the beef; 12-01-06 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 11-30-06, 07:09 PM   #2
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Déjà vu!
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Old 11-30-06, 07:11 PM   #3
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Julia Rietz (the Prosecutor), shame on you! Shame, shame shame. I'm a graduating law student, and *I* could have made the case for "willful and wanton behavior." Time to find a more suitable career, Ms. Rietz.

First a teenager texting, now a teenager downloading ring tones. WHEN are our legislators going to take distracted driving seriously?
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Old 11-30-06, 07:12 PM   #4
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One can only hope the next time she hits someone (and she will since she's a repeat offender). She runs over and kills the State's Attorney child so they they will actually press real charges.
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Old 11-30-06, 07:12 PM   #5
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grrr, stuff like this just tightens my jaw.
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Old 11-30-06, 07:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
the driver could have 'no reasonable expectation of a bike on the side of the road,'
Yeah. No reasonable expectation that she just might NOT be the only person on the road????


And everyone thinks I'm kidding when I say I hate people.
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Old 11-30-06, 07:19 PM   #7
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That is horrible. My thoughts go out to the family, encountering drivers such as this is one of my worse fears when biking.
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Old 11-30-06, 07:27 PM   #8
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Wow, that makes me very sad to read. I'm not for the death penalty, but honestly, cane-ings for Gen.-Y kids wouldn't be a bad idea.
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Old 11-30-06, 07:34 PM   #9
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At first you think nothing much has changed over the years. You may remember sharing narrow two lane, nearly shoulderless highways, up twisting mountains, and along coastal bike routes--from Washington to S. Calif.--with panniers on your bike and maybe a tiny mirror attached to your sunglasses and a Wonder light for nighttime illumination.

However, things have changed. The roads are just as narrow but there probably is four-times the traffic, trailers are wider, motorhome drivers probably are older (marvels of medical science), and young inexperienced drivers are driving bigger cars (e.g., not you old '67 VW), all while using drugs and talking on mobile phones.

The diversion of a mobile phone is something that would have been pretty much impossible before about 1990. I still remember the first mobil phones: they were as big as a lunchbox. Truckers used CBs but you always had the feeling that loggers and chip trucks were so experienced that you probably were safe even when you thought you were being sucked under their wheels.

I know it's a numbers thing and if your number is up . . . but, it really is much more dangerous as a biker on the roads today than it was 20-years ago. I know it shouldn't have to be--and not everyone has the luxury of fairly safe road bike routes that are fun to look forward to (like I do)--but, staying away from traffic as much as possible is the only prudent thing to do.

That simple reality probably is partly responsible for the surge in the popularity of off-road riding over the last 20-years.
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Old 11-30-06, 07:43 PM   #10
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Write to Julia Rietz, fax her, email her, phone her. This is absolutely appalling, killing someone is now a petty crime?

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/loc...cyclists_death

""I am appalled by your conduct and the manner in which you have driven in the short time you've had a license," Klaus told Stark, who had three prior convictions since May 2005 one for disregarding a traffic light and two for speeding. The last speeding conviction came about five weeks before she hit Mr. Wilhelm.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz made the call not to lodge any more serious charge than improper lane usage against Stark, saying that the legal definition of recklessness, to sustain reckless homicide or reckless driving, did not fit her actions.

But Rietz argued for the maximum sentence of six months of conditional discharge a form of probation without reporting to an officer a $1,000 fine and traffic safety school."

Office of the State's Attorney
Julia Rietz
State's Attorney
Office Contact Information
State's Attorney Julia Rietz
Address Main Office
(Adult Diversion, Criminal Division, Domestic Violence Division, Misdemeanor Division, Traffic Division, Victim/Witness Services)
Courthouse 2nd Floor
101 E. Main St.
Urbana, IL 61801
Map & Directions


Civil Division
Brookens Administrative Center
1776 E. Washington St.
Urbana, IL 61802
Map & Directions

Support Enforcement Division
Brookens Administrative Center
1776 E. Washington St.
Urbana, IL 61802
Map & Directions
Phone Main (217) 384-3733
Adult Diversion (217) 384-3802
Civil Division (217) 384-3776
Domestic Violence Division (217) 384-3750
Misdemeanor Division (217) 384-3813
Support Enforcement Div. (217) 384-3849
Traffic Division (217) 384-3815
Victim/Witness Services (217) 384-8625
Fax Main (217) 384-3816
Civil Division (217) 384-3896
Domestic Violence Division (217) 384-6591
Support Enforcement Div. (217) 384-3851
Public email Main: statesatty@co.champaign.il.us
Support Enforcement Division: supportenforcement@co.champaign.il.us
Hours Monday-Friday (except Holidays)
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
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Old 11-30-06, 07:47 PM   #11
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What we need is a penalty system that makes the guilty financially responsible for replacing the lost financial support of the person they killed. That'd be much more just than 6 months and a $1000 fine.

Seriously, I hope she learned her lesson, but why does someone have to die for her to learn it?
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Old 11-30-06, 07:47 PM   #12
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I'd like to offer my deepest sympathy to the family and say that although I'm out here in Denver, I'd gladly be willing to travel to do a ride to raise charity/awareness for this guys' family.... anytime, anyplace

TO THE BIKE FORUM MODERATORS: This would be a noble cause to organize a ride for. Perhaps a ride that took place in numerous cities simultaneously

Last edited by bigwoo; 11-30-06 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 11-30-06, 07:52 PM   #13
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that's frickin' pathetic.
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Old 11-30-06, 08:05 PM   #14
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Is there anyone out there who hasn't had their attention drift and strayed out of their lane, turned improperly, run a red light, etc? Most of these lapses are of no consequence because no one was in the way or someone else took evasive action. I'm thankful my own lapses haven't led to anything worse than embaressment yet, but it is sobering to think what could have been. I suspect that causing the death or injury of another person is a tough thing to live with. It is comforting to know that my bicycle riding isn't likely to kill or injure anyone else. Add another item to the list of positive things about bicycles.
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Old 11-30-06, 08:08 PM   #15
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Argh.. stuff like this makes me want to buy a gun. GRRRRRRR~!!!!!!

I need a cold shower now before I melt.


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Old 11-30-06, 08:26 PM   #16
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Julia Rietz: If you think you can't prove "wanton and willful" conduct, perhaps you should take a look at Gannon v. Kiel, 252 Ill.App. 550 (1929):

Evidence disclosing that the motorist did not look when it was his duty to be on guard and have his automobile under control at busy street intersection where he was bound to know that pedestrians might be crossing, and that he failed to see pedestrian until his automobile collided with her, supported finding that motorist was guilty of willful and wanton negligence.

I can come up with more cases, if that's not enough for you, Ms. Rietz.
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Old 11-30-06, 08:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurch
Is there anyone out there who hasn't had their attention drift and strayed out of their lane, turned improperly, run a red light, etc? Most of these lapses are of no consequence because no one was in the way or someone else took evasive action. I'm thankful my own lapses haven't led to anything worse than embaressment yet, but it is sobering to think what could have been. I suspect that causing the death or injury of another person is a tough thing to live with. It is comforting to know that my bicycle riding isn't likely to kill or injure anyone else. Add another item to the list of positive things about bicycles.
If this was a simple case of not paying attention, I'd be more sympathetic. But that's not what this case is about. This is a case where the motorist was deliberately engaged in an activity that she knew would take her attention away from driving.
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Old 11-30-06, 09:02 PM   #18
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That's so sad and SO messed up that the driver just gets a slap on the wrist.

Well, it looks like it hit the front page over at fark.com, so it's going to get LOTS of publicity.

Warning for those not familiar with Fark:
The Fark forums are not usually a friendly place for the easily offended. In this case *most* of the comments are very sympathetic to the cyclist and his family. That means a lot on that site.


That really makes me want a cell phone jammer in my seatbag. It may be illegal, but so is running me down with a car. That doesn't seem to be an issue any more.

Last edited by dayve; 11-30-06 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 11-30-06, 09:11 PM   #19
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Here's her myspace page.
http://www.myspace.com/jenniebob18
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Old 11-30-06, 09:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Order
Julia Rietz (the Prosecutor), shame on you! Shame, shame shame. I'm a graduating law student, and *I* could have made the case for "willful and wanton behavior." Time to find a more suitable career, Ms. Rietz.

First a teenager texting, now a teenager downloading ring tones. WHEN are our legislators going to take distracted driving seriously?
The legislators already took it seriously a long time ago, as evidenced by codes such as vehicular manslaughter etc etc.

It's the prosecutors and the police that are dropping the ball now.
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Old 11-30-06, 09:28 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
Here's her myspace page.
http://www.myspace.com/jenniebob18
This girl makes me sick to my stomach.

Think about trying to NOT kill people on the road instead of your stupid myspace page.

If you feel like really being aggitated, read her blog post about how it "sucks" that people dislike her for recklessly killing an innocent commuter.
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Old 11-30-06, 09:31 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
Here's her myspace page.
http://www.myspace.com/jenniebob18
I read the blog entry and comments about this and I feel sick. Here's a lovely example from the comments.

"Too many people in this world judge others based only on their actions, they don't know them at all. That's another of my pet peeves."

Well... One of my pet peeves is people behaving irresponsably and when it hurts someone instead of owning up to what they've done spitting out some lame "everything happens for a reason" excuse. Her god may forgive this young woman but I don't.
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Old 11-30-06, 09:52 PM   #23
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this is awful.
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Old 11-30-06, 09:53 PM   #24
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Ringtone vs. human life? Honestly, can anyone blame the poor girl for having to make such a difficult decision?

Yeesh. She's another one to go up against the wall when the revolution comes.
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Old 11-30-06, 09:54 PM   #25
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She stopped for the cyclist. That's good.

She shouldn't have needed to, though. She shouldn't have hit him.

Maybe it's not driver's licenses we neet, maybe it's cellular phone licenses.
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