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Old 08-25-10, 06:20 AM   #1
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Driver who killed cyclist convicted

These cases are never as simple as they first appear, but it seems like the judge/jury got it right. Article from Greensboro (NC) News-Record:

Eden woman sentenced in cyclist's death

http://www.news-record.com/content/2...cyclists_death

GREENSBORO An Eden woman who fatally struck a Summerfield cyclist late last year will serve 14 to 17 months in prison.

Grayson Warren Dawson, 48, of 702 Moir Mill Road pleaded guilty today in Guilford County Superior Court to felony hit-and-run, misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and driving without an operator's license. She will report to state prison Oct. 11.

The conviction stems from an incident on Oct. 24, 2009, that led to the death of David Sherman.

Sherman, 55, was riding his bike along North Church Street north of N.C. 150 when Dawson's SUV hit him head-on and killed him instantly. Dawson made a U-turn and drove off.

Highway Patrol troopers arrested her two days later when a clerk at a Rockingham County gas station noticed that Dawson's Dodge Durango had a caved-in windshield and other front-end damage and called Crime Stoppers. Dawson told the clerk she had hit a deer.

In testimony Tuesday before Judge Lindsay R. Davis Jr., doctors said Dawson had suffered from ulcerative colitis, a bowel disease, for three decades. On Oct. 20, she had a medical procedure at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

On Oct. 24, her birthday, Dawson drove for the first time since the procedure. She left her house in Rockingham County and went to Greensboro to shop and visit her daughter.

She hit Sherman on the way back. The force of the impact snapped his bike in two pieces and sent him into the SUV's windshield and roof.

Doctors testified that Dawson was taking 11 medications after the procedure. Some of those medicines are known to cause amnesia, dizziness and drowsiness.

Her attorney, Locke Clifford, said Dawson admits to falling asleep behind the wheel but didn't knowingly hit Sherman. He said she admits that she reasonably should have known she hit someone but didn't, in fact, know.

Dawson didn't know she had struck someone until authorities arrived at her door and told her about the accident days later, Clifford said.

Prosecutor Chris Parrish said Dawson knew she hit Sherman and gave herself mercy by leaving the scene of an accident and leaving him dying by the side of the road.

He said she knew that in her medical condition she should not have been behind the wheel, yet she put herself before others by deciding to go shopping and getting out of the house on her birthday.

"We find it inconceivable that she didn't see (Sherman)," Parrish said. "She knew what she did, she knew she shouldn't have been driving, and that's why she left.

"She put everyone in Guilford and Rockingham counties in danger that day."

Parrish said that because Dawson left the scene, authorities were unable to conduct tests to find out what medication was in her system that day, meaning she avoided more serious charges.

"Believe you me, we would have (brought stiffer charges) if we could prove it."

Davis heard from Ann Sherman, David Sherman's widow, at sentencing, as well as two friends.

Clifford read a multipage letter from Dawson detailing her medical condition and the grief she felt over the incident. Her husband and two doctors also took the stand for the defense.

Clifford also read aloud 10 letters from family and friends who said she was a person of great character who was well loved and respected.

The judge delayed the start of her prison term until Oct. 11 because she has more medical treatments she needs to get taken care of first.

Dawson declined comment after the hearing, as did Sherman's family.

Read more in Wednesday's News & Record and in our e-Edition at www.news-record.com/enews.
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Old 08-25-10, 08:37 AM   #2
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No they didn't. She should have been convicted of manslaughter.

EDIT - This IS a lot better than some other cases. But still, it isn't right. It isn't justice.
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Old 08-25-10, 08:45 AM   #3
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14 to 17 months for killing someone and leaving the scene of the accident, while driving without a license and under the influence of medication?
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Old 08-25-10, 08:53 AM   #4
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14 to 17 months for killing someone and leaving the scene of the accident, while driving without a license and under the influence of medication?
Yeah. Whatever happened to criminally negligent homicide? Prosecutor would've filed stiffer charges, my ass.
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Old 08-25-10, 08:55 AM   #5
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I hope the dead man's family files a 'wrongful death' suit and leaves her on the street in her underwear.
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Old 08-25-10, 09:07 AM   #6
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Wow with the felony hit and run you would think she would have gotten more time i agree with above, more time than a lot of other cases but still not enough. My heart goes out to his family
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Old 08-25-10, 09:28 AM   #7
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14 to 17 months for killing someone and leaving the scene of the accident, while driving without a license and under the influence of medication?
At a minimum, felony hit and run plus felony intoxication manslaughter here. I'm pretty sure that combination can't carry such a low sentence here.
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Old 08-25-10, 09:54 AM   #8
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She didn't know she hit him, but she SAID she hit a deer.

Umm, right.
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Old 08-25-10, 10:16 AM   #9
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Our system is broken. I do not see the difference between this and someone who is DUI. Penalties should be stiffer for killing another person. An eye for an eye, comes to mind.
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Old 08-25-10, 10:26 AM   #10
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Our system is broken. I do not see the difference between this and someone who is DUI. Penalties should be stiffer for killing another person. An eye for an eye, comes to mind.
That's an excellent point! Are they seriously going to say that if this woman had drunk a bottle of scotch or smoked a joint before she set out in a vehicle, rather than a "cocktail of drugs" prescribed by her doctor(who warned her not to drive), they'd have treated her the same? I think not.
Oh and she remembers "hitting a deer" but not a cyclist, yeah I'm buying that </s>
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Old 08-25-10, 10:31 AM   #11
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How did she hit him head on though?

He must of been riding against oncoming traffic.

Riding in the street when there isn't bike lanes scares the hell out of me. All it takes is someone to swerve a few feet and you're toast.
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Old 08-25-10, 10:33 AM   #12
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How did she hit him head on though?

He must of been riding against oncoming traffic.
If she was too wasted to even register hitting a human he could have been anywhere, one lane, other lane, sidewalk...
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Old 08-25-10, 11:13 AM   #13
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She fell asleep on the wheel. She most likely swerved into oncoming traffic.
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Old 08-25-10, 11:21 AM   #14
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I'll join the chorus, this is gross and the punishment is fairly light. I know that it's a nationwide problem, but there's something wrong when the penalty for hit and run doesn't out weighsthe penalty for driving under the influence. It should be assumed that if you flee, you were at maximum levels of alcohol.
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Old 08-25-10, 11:23 AM   #15
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I was thinking about stiffer penalties, and stiffer enforcement of traffic laws, earlier today -- about the time the OP posted this! -- when I was watching a car speed down a 4-lane street a block from my house. There was no reason on earth for that fool to be doing 60 a little over a block from the intersection he'd just been stopped at, in a 40 zone. The thought went, we need to go back to strict enforcement of the law, none of this babying crap; people wanna tell the cop, 'why you stoppin' me for speeding when you should be out bustin' drug dealers?' should be told by the cop, 'that gives me reasonable suspicion to search your car for illegal substances. You want to stick with that?'

Sick and tired of seeing it every other minute, every day, some ass doing WTF he/she pleases, endangering other people, with that 'F it and F you' attitude.......
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Old 08-25-10, 11:28 AM   #16
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Yeah. Whatever happened to criminally negligent homicide? Prosecutor would've filed stiffer charges, my ass.
Does NC have such a law? (I don't think they do.)

Note that this was a plea deal, and not a conviction after a trial. what a prosecutor offers as charges for a plea have little to do with what he might have charged in a trial, but what he can prove, and often a reduction in severity of charges for the guilty plea. He'd have a hell of a time proving that the woman was actually driving the vehicle at the time of the collision, assuming he can prove that the vehicle was the one that hit this bicyclist. I'm sure he'd much rather get a felony conviction, even just for leaving the scene of an accident, than nothing at all.
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Old 08-25-10, 11:33 AM   #17
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Actually, I was surprised that she got any sentence given the way most of these cycling death cases work out. I am not defending the woman or the court system, but she apparently was disoriented or fell asleep from over-medication. It doesn't appear that she intentionally ran over the guy. Regardless, 14-17 months in prison is nothing to sneeze at.
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Old 08-25-10, 12:08 PM   #18
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Actually, I was surprised that she got any sentence given the way most of these cycling death cases work out. I am not defending the woman or the court system, but she apparently was disoriented or fell asleep from over-medication. It doesn't appear that she intentionally ran over the guy. Regardless, 14-17 months in prison is nothing to sneeze at.
Well if she *intentionally* ran over him that would be murder. What she did was on par w/ aggravated DUI and whatever collateral damage flows from that. Whoever prescribed her all that crap should have been warning her to stay off the road.


My wife took a week just getting used to the effects of a single percocet before deciding she was OK to drive (she would have taken less but she was getting so much feedback NOT TO DRIVE from the doc and the pharmacist). Then she was off it by the 2nd week anyway.
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Old 08-25-10, 12:41 PM   #19
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14 to 17 months for killing someone and leaving the scene of the accident, while driving without a license and under the influence of medication?
That's what would have happened if you had been on trial for all of this. But the defendant in this case was able to garner a bit of sympathy. It's a lot harder to lock somebody away for life because they wanted to leave the house on their birthday after suffering a "bowel disease" for 30 years ... right or wrong.
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Old 08-25-10, 12:43 PM   #20
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An eye for an eye, comes to mind.
You think the court should order her to be killed in a car accident by an intoxicated driver, who is then to flea the scene?

"People say we need religion when what they really mean is we need police."
-- H L Mencken
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Old 08-25-10, 01:01 PM   #21
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Our system is broken. I do not see the difference between this and someone who is DUI. Penalties should be stiffer for killing another person. An eye for an eye, comes to mind.
Agree.
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Old 08-25-10, 01:05 PM   #22
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You think the court should order her to be killed in a car accident by an intoxicated driver, who is then to flea the scene?

"People say we need religion when what they really mean is we need police."
-- H L Mencken
I'm not an eye for an eye guy, but the woman behaved in a grossly negligent manner and she got off easier because of her negligence. I take issue with laws encouraging people to flee. Regardless of how hard she had it, she behaved in a gross manner and killed someone. She needs to be severely punished for that to discourage others and as simple rettribution for taking a life. Retribution is part of our justice code.
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Old 08-25-10, 01:13 PM   #23
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Well if she *intentionally* ran over him that would be murder. What she did was on par w/ aggravated DUI and whatever collateral damage flows from that. Whoever prescribed her all that crap should have been warning her to stay off the road.
Since she didn't have a license, the doc probably considered it irrelevant.

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That's what would have happened if you had been on trial for all of this. But the defendant in this case was able to garner a bit of sympathy. It's a lot harder to lock somebody away for life because they wanted to leave the house on their birthday after suffering a "bowel disease" for 30 years ... right or wrong.
I guess I would tend to look a little deeper; if she doesn't have a friend that can drive her around for her birthday, what kind of annoying twit must she be, and why would she then deserve sympathy?
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Old 08-25-10, 01:32 PM   #24
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She fell asleep on the wheel. She most likely swerved into oncoming traffic.
Bull.

If she didn't know what she hit, why did she tell the store clerk she hit a deer?
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Old 08-25-10, 02:18 PM   #25
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You think the court should order her to be killed in a car accident by an intoxicated driver, who is then to flea the scene?

"People say we need religion when what they really mean is we need police."
-- H L Mencken
No.

I think she should be put away for a much longer period of time or lose her life. This was negligence on her part. Just like a DUI, she chose to drive when she shouldn't and ended up killing someone. Its easy for people to defend her because they are not involved. But, what if that person killed was your parent, sibling, child or significant other? Would you still be this forgiving? I know I won't.

Just like a DUI she will be out on the streets again soon and repeating the same mistake.
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