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Shocking hit and run in DFW

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Shocking hit and run in DFW

Old 06-21-24, 11:11 AM
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The Airline baggage handler, 31-year-old Benjamin Hylander is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and driving while intoxicated. Here is some updated info from a couple of days ago.
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Old 06-21-24, 11:16 AM
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DFW is a very good cycling city with many dedicated, thousand of miles, of MUPs and many of the streets have marked off "bike lanes".
"DFW" is an urban area the size of Connecticut with over 200 incorporated cities and towns.

Here's the People for Bikes Dallas rating:

https://cityratings.peopleforbikes.org/cities/dallas-tx

Here's the People for Bikes Fort Worth rating:

https://cityratings.peopleforbikes.o.../fort-worth-tx

Dallas does not make even the lowest level of rating for the League of American Bicyclists Bike Friendly Communities.

Dallas marked off some bike lanes a few years back because that sort of thing helps the Chamber of Commerce attract new businesses and the creative class. Thing was, they didn't want to give up the on-street parking and parking meter revenue, so...


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Old 06-21-24, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick
The Airline baggage handler, 31-year-old Benjamin Hylander is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and driving while intoxicated. Here is some updated info from a couple of days ago.
69 years old, he's in great shape. Had the other car, the SUV, been slightly behind the drunk driver's car, he could have been hit or run over by the SUV after turning left upon impact.
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Old 06-21-24, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
Blood alcohol reported as over 0.15: Gosh this is decades ago, but I thought I recall an article in Car & Driver where they actually set about doing a test on a closed skidpad, and I think by the time they got to (if my memory is correct) 0.08 which is the limit in many states, the test subjects were bombed, the conclusion of the article was that 0.08 limit is too high. Now, neither of the test subjects were heavy drinkers, but 0.15 sounds really high. Not doubting it, just that seems to me super bombed. I guess muscle memory allowed them to unlock their car, put the key in the ignition, and shift into drive. Witnesses following the car and alerting police, very high probability they saved others from harm. Bad enough, but could have been worse. And as implied above, American Airlines will investigate, and if not, the Transportation Security Administration, as this may revoke the driver's airport security clearance.
The thing to keep in mind is the common 0.08% value doesn't mean you are NOT drunk. At least in my state, New Mexico, you are presumed drunk if you are at or over that amount. However, you can be arrested and prosecuted for DUI even if your level is lower than 0.08%. However, below that amount, other evidence is required, such as failing physical tests or driving erratically.

But I agree, I think at 0.08% you're flat out drunk not just a bit tipsy.
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Old 06-21-24, 03:26 PM
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Another interview here: https://www.cbsnews.com/texas/news/n...ivers-actions/
He has prostate cancer.
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Old 06-21-24, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by vol
Another interview here: https://www.cbsnews.com/texas/news/n...ivers-actions/
He has prostate cancer.
Thanks for this link. It was great to find out guy run over only seemed to have a few scrapes. I had assumed his legs were crushed.

I noticed they said the other rider had non-life threatening injuries. Hope she's not too bad. But, even none-life threatening can require serious recovery time or even leave permanent injury.
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Old 06-21-24, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard
You should read this with an open mind. How many accidents types can the risk be mitigated by being out in the lane? Really, answer that question. https://www.bicyclesafe.com/

It didn't take me long riding in traffic to realize that if I routinely relegated myself to the right edge of the road I had more close calls than I did when I rode out in the lane. Out in the lane is generally my default position, I'll gravitate toward the right when the circumstances warrant it.
Same here.
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Old 06-23-24, 01:42 PM
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I don't know Texas law, but I see 2 distinct crimes here. There's the obvious DWI with injury. But more important (IMO) is the depraved indifference to human life in running over the cyclist afterward. I hope the DA charges both and argues that they are separate and distinct events so that any sentences would be served consecutively rather than concurrently.
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Old 06-24-24, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
I don't know Texas law, but I see 2 distinct crimes here. There's the obvious DWI with injury. But more important (IMO) is the depraved indifference to human life in running over the cyclist afterward. I hope the DA charges both and argues that they are separate and distinct events so that any sentences would be served consecutively rather than concurrently.
Obviously a fan of Jack McCoy on Law and Order. I know NY has a law on DI (what Jack would trot out when he couldn't charge a perpetrator or witness that did not intervene with anything else), but I don't know about other states. They might get him on DI, but I think he just panicked and ran, and of course DI might assume rationality that might not be present in a drunken state. The big crime (IMO) is the decision to knowingly allow himself access to a vehicle when he knows he's a drunk. Not a decision after he's drunk, but the decision before. There's an instance I know of a couple decades ago, a well-known person interviewed, pretending they enjoy an alternate mode of transport instead of a car. It's now known that person was full alcoholic at the time. And now clear, that they made a conscious decision to not allow themself access to a car. And that was smart.

Ya gotta make the decision before you're drunk. I was on business travel decades ago, exceptionally nice restaurant inside a government facility, food and drinks cheap. Unusually for me, I had wine with dinner, a digestif after, and perhaps even an apertif before, can't remember. It was a long leisurely dinner, at least 90 minutes. I pay and get up to leave... and for the first time in my life, I felt the slightest bit off. Not buzzed, but I was 95%, not 100%. My quarters were two blocks down a deserted sidestreet. Did I drive? No. I sat down in the lobby and read a magazine for 30 or 45 minutes, stood up, checked balance, yep, 100%, drove back to my quarters. It was obvious to me. Don't drive. Others, they don't have the presence of mind.

By the way, China has a BIG problem with drivers, if they hit someone and they are still alive, backing up to finish the job. Because the death of someone is much cheaper than compensation for a damaged life. Seriously. This was a big story some years back. At that time, Xi Jinping pledged to improve ethics of the population. I don't think that's a priority any more. Oh and in Taiwan as well. Ah, here's the article:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/...henomenon.html

Last edited by Duragrouch; 06-24-24 at 01:45 AM.
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Old 06-24-24, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
I don't know Texas law, but I see 2 distinct crimes here. There's the obvious DWI with injury. But more important (IMO) is the depraved indifference to human life in running over the cyclist afterward. I hope the DA charges both and argues that they are separate and distinct events so that any sentences would be served consecutively rather than concurrently.
Originally Posted by Duragrouch
Obviously a fan of Jack McCoy on Law and Order. I know NY has a law on DI (what Jack would trot out when he couldn't charge a perpetrator or witness that did not intervene with anything else), but I don't know about other states.
I did a Google search for the phrase "depraved indifference" in conjunction with Texas law, and a search of the Texas Penal Code on the publicly-available part of Findlaw for the same. Neither search found the phrase "depraved indifference". I'm reasonably sure that means that Texas doesn't have a specific "depraved indifference" statute, particularly in light of the fact that Findlaw came up empty (but did yield a hit on the phrase "Aggravated Assault" in the Texas Penal Code).

Texas penal codes are available on-line at: https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/?link=PE

Texas does have a DWI statute (Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code), along with a separate and apparently applicable Intoxication Assault statute (Section 49.07). The former is a misdemeanor (for a first offense), while the latter is a felony. Based on the circumstances reported so far, my assessment is that they've got the alleged SUV driver dead-to-rights on DWI at the Class A misdemeanor level, and IMO have a good case for Intoxication Assault at the 2nd degree felony level.

The alleged SUV driver has also been reported to have been charged with Aggravated Assault, using the "vehicle as deadly weapon" thesis. Texas does indeed have a statute covering Aggravated Assault (Section 22.02). While simple assault (Section 22.01) is likely an easy case to prove given the reported facts, IMO proving Aggravated Assault may be a more difficult case for the prosecution, depending on the specific details and the skill of the (alleged) SUV driver's lawyer. The difference is significant: simple assault in Texas is a misdemeanor, while aggravated assault is a felony (what degree felony depends on circumstances; based on what's been reported here IMO likely 2nd degree).

Unfortunately, many prosecutors seem to plea-bargain away more serious offenses in return for a guilty plea on less-serious charges in order to avoid possibly losing a case. I hope that's not the case here, but from what I've seen it happens far too often. Running over someone while driving drunk should IMO have felony consequences.

I'd also caution against taking what's been reported as the offenses charged with a huge grain of salt. News organizations sometimes get charges wrong, or use an inappropriate charge description. Until the specific sections of the Texas Penal Code in the charges are identified, we really don't know at this point exactly what charges the alleged SUV driver is facing.

No, I'm not a lawyer. But in a previous part of my life, professional duties meant I had to become quite familiar with some aspects of criminal law - and I've retained an interest in the subject since. Feel free to peruse the Texas code link above and let me know if you disagree with anything I've said.

Last edited by Hondo6; 06-24-24 at 07:55 AM. Reason: Wordsmithing and typo cleanup.
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Old 06-24-24, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Hondo6
Unfortunately, many prosecutors seem to plea-bargain away more serious offenses in return for a guilty plea on less-serious charges in order to avoid possibly losing a case.
The Texas District and County Attorneys Association reports 98% of criminal cases in Texas end with plea bargains.
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Old 06-24-24, 09:54 AM
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Here's a thought: without the on-bike camera, it's yet another instance of "The cyclists suddenly swerved out in front of me!"
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Old 06-24-24, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs
The Texas District and County Attorneys Association reports 98% of criminal cases in Texas end with plea bargains.
Doesn't surprise me a bit. Many prosecutors are ambitious, and having a "high conviction rate" looks damn good to those making judicial appointments. Or to voters.

Unless, of course, they think they can make/enhance their reputation (or gain political capital) by taking a high-profile case to trial. That might come into play here.
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