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7-Year Prison Sentence for Hit and Run Death of Cyclist

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7-Year Prison Sentence for Hit and Run Death of Cyclist

Old 08-16-06, 01:10 PM
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randya
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7-Year Prison Sentence for Hit and Run Death of Cyclist

Gareth was well-known among Portland cycling advocates. I partnered with him as ride mechanics on the Portland Bridge Pedal ride about three or four years ago, and he frequently attended Bicycle Advisory Committee meetings.

Man sentenced in deadly hit-and-run
Drunken driving - Christopher Amick gets 7 years for leaving a cyclist bleeding to death by road

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
AIMEE GREEN
The Oregonian
http://www.oregonlive.com/printer/pr...nian?sn&coll=7

OREGON CITY -- A 36-year-old Vancouver man who plowed over a bicyclist with his car, drove off and then reported his car stolen was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison.

Christopher Lee Amick said in Clackamas County Circuit Court that he was "horribly sorry" for his conduct.

Amick struck Gareth Allan Parker, 59, as Parker was pedaling along Oregon 99E south of Oregon City in daylight shortly after 7 p.m. Sept. 5. Parker lay bleeding by the side of the road. A witness called 9-1-1 and tried to resuscitate Parker, who died later that evening.

"Mr. Amick left," deputy district attorney Squire Bozorth told Judge Jeffrey Jones. "I don't think he even stopped."

Amick pleaded guilty in June to felony hit-and-run, criminally negligent homicide and drunken driving. In line with his plea agreement Tuesday, the judge sentenced Amick to 85 months in prison, three years of post-prison supervision and eight years of lost driving privileges.

Police believe that shortly after the collision, Amick abandoned his 1996 Nissan pickup about three miles from the crash scene. Amick, who used to live in Canby but had recently moved to Vancouver, told police his car had been stolen but later admitted to the crime, Bozorth said.

Oregon State Police learned that Amick had been drinking alcohol in a Molalla bar and in Canby with a friend before hitting Parker. Investigators believe he had a blood alcohol level of 0.12 percent, well over the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

None of Parker's family was present in the courtroom. Bozorth said they were estranged and lived in California.

Parker was known in the metro area's cycling community as an advocate and volunteer who during cycling events passed out literature aiming to educate drivers about safely sharing the road.

Tim Lyons, Amick's attorney, said Amick is a "pretty good guy" who had one big issue.

"He pretty much lived a law-abiding life," Lyons said. "He had a problem with alcohol that got the best of him."

Story at bikeportland.org: http://bikeportland.org/2006/08/16/h...ars-in-prison/
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Old 08-16-06, 01:16 PM
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If someone gets killed it should be labeled kill and run. If you want to commit murder automobile is the way to go.
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Old 08-16-06, 01:36 PM
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Seven years is a little light, but I guess it is within the range of reasonable.

I don't know that this is the case from the description in the article, but it should be an aggravating factor, justifying more jail time, if the driver knew the guy was alive after he hit him, and drove off anyway without rendering help.

If he was dead right after the initial hit and the guy drives away, his running away doesn't change anything, the damage is done and the poor guy is already dead, but if the driver knew the guy was still alive and left him to die like a wounded dog in the street, that deserves more severe punishment.
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Old 08-16-06, 01:45 PM
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If the driver had been changing a CD, or yapping on a cell phone, he would have gotten probation. For some reason, it is okay to kill a cyclist if you are sober and careless, but a crime when you are drunk and careless. I suspect the family of the cyclist feels the loss either way.
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Old 08-16-06, 04:31 PM
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He ran, he tried to cover it up, and he was drunk. Should have been charged with manslaughter at the very least.

Some may think this is harsh. Bah. The judge & jury can set the punishment, lessen it if they feel it is too harsh. The DA should not make the decision, as is too often the case. He picked something he felt sure of getting a conviction on.

The American legal system is way too tolerant, too lenient, of DUI and offenses committed while driving. I do admire many European countries for their more stringent penalties.
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Old 08-16-06, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho
Seven years is a little light, but I guess it is within the range of reasonable.

I don't know that this is the case from the description in the article, but it should be an aggravating factor, justifying more jail time, if the driver knew the guy was alive after he hit him, and drove off anyway without rendering help.

If he was dead right after the initial hit and the guy drives away, his running away doesn't change anything, the damage is done and the poor guy is already dead, but if the driver knew the guy was still alive and left him to die like a wounded dog in the street, that deserves more severe punishment.
That would require proving scienter-- what the driver knew about the condition of the victim. I disagree with that. I seriously doubt that many, if any, drunk drivers stop and check on their victim before driving off. I think a hit and run should be punished heavily regardless of what the driver knew about the victim. Of course, you'd have to prove that the driver knew he had been in an accident, but once you prove that, it's whack-a-mole time. Drunk driving, followed by a hit and run? Triple the sentence for the drunk driving and injury/death because of that hit and run. That's the only way to take away the incentive to hit and run. Right now, with drunk driving penalties so heavy, and hit and run penalties so light, there's every incentive to risk a hit and run, and no incentive, beyond the dictates of the individual's conscience, to stay and face the penalty.
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Old 08-16-06, 08:08 PM
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If he really is 'a pretty good guy' with a 8 year driving suspension then what are the chances he'll be using a bicycle for transportation?
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Old 08-16-06, 09:55 PM
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Does teh 8 year suspention inculde his prison time?
I sure hope not.
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Old 08-17-06, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by randya
Tim Lyons, Amick's attorney, said Amick is a "pretty good guy" who had one big issue.

"He pretty much lived a law-abiding life," Lyons said. "He had a problem with alcohol that got the best of him."
It apparently also got the best of Gareth Parker.
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Old 08-21-06, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by nm+
Does teh 8 year suspention inculde his prison time?
I sure hope not.
I was thinking about the same thing. If it does he will get to drive in the last of his three years of parole. OK he caused a death, the judicial system has announced a punishment, and he will be back out on the streets in seven years. Lets take a deep breath. Just before his release send him a load if information about bike commuting. Maybe talk the parole office into making him take an Effective Cycling course as well as any motor vehicle courses.
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