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Another Cyclist Killed By Hit and Run Driver

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Another Cyclist Killed By Hit and Run Driver

Old 03-27-04, 08:53 AM
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Another Cyclist Killed By Hit and Run Driver

Althought I don't have all the details, another cyclist was killed yesterday. This time in Washington, D.C., a 53 year old cyclist was hit by a dump truck, which left the scene. The man died shortly thereafter. I only saw the last part of a TV report last night, and am still trying to find the details.

Although they found the driver, no charges have been filed yet.
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Old 03-27-04, 10:01 AM
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If he was in a dump truck he truly may have not known he hit the cyclist.

I am not defending him, just saying in a vehicle like that you wouldn't necessarily feel it or see it either.
Sorry for the cyclist and his family.
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Old 03-27-04, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by midwestmntnbkr
I am not defending him, just saying in a vehicle like that you wouldn't necessarily feel it or see it either.
Sorry for the cyclist and his family.
In which case, the driver of the vehicle should be more careful. The log-truck drivers in Tasmania didn't have this problem.
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Old 03-27-04, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by midwestmntnbkr
If he was in a dump truck he truly may have not known he hit the cyclist.

I am not defending him, just saying in a vehicle like that you wouldn't necessarily feel it or see it either.
Sorry for the cyclist and his family.
As a former dump truck driver who's accidentally hit things (cats, racoons, squirrels) I can say with near absolute certainty that he knew he hit something. Commercial trucks don't ride like SUV's: you're not cut off from the world. If you hit something or something hits you, you notice it and look around. Accidents are NOT your friend in a truck. They can kill you just as easily as they can kill others.

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Old 03-27-04, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by siggy_lxvi
As a former dump truck driver who's accidentally hit things (cats, racoons, squirrels) <snip>
Surely those things are harder to see than cyclists.
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Old 03-28-04, 02:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris L
Surely those things are harder to see than cyclists.
They certainly are, and you can generally tell what you hit by looking in the rear view. I was working in a rural area, so there weren't many cyclists, but on the rare occasions I passed one, I'd pull as far into the lane next to me as was safe. (This was before I took up cycling.)

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Old 03-28-04, 10:29 AM
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Here are the details from today's Post. This one hits too close to home for me. Ruined my weekend, for sure.

Hit-and-Run Victim Identified

Police have identified the cyclist who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on South Capitol Street on Friday morning as David K. VanKeuren, 53, an employee of the Naval Research Laboratory, authorities said.

Sgt. Joe Gentile said police have located and impounded the vehicle believed to have been involved, a dump truck belonging to an excavation company in Forestville. Gentile said the driver, who has not been charged, is a Maryland resident and an employee of the company.

VanKeuren, of the 1300 block of Q Street NW, was pronounced dead at the scene, said Gentile, a police spokesman.
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Old 03-28-04, 10:36 AM
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Having recently been the victim of a hit and run myself, this really upsets me.
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Old 03-28-04, 11:58 AM
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The driver hasn't been charged?!!!

WTF?!!!

This wasn't an accident. Several witnesses reported hearing the truck speeding down the road, which is a marked bicycle route. Then they heard a crunching and dragging sound that lasted for a while. It was reported that Mr. VanKeuren was dragged for 100 feet.

I apologize beforehand for this, but I saw the coroners putting the few remnants of our fellow commuter in the back of their wagon on Channel 7. Scheik, I concur. This is too sad for words.

I'm curious. If a dump truck driver carelessly runs over a car, destroying the driver, is it a crime if the he/she continues on without stopping? This act was irresponsible and unforgiveable. To add further insult to injury, it looks like the driver will just keep on working without facing any consequences. It seems to be just another case of discrimination against cyclists.
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Old 03-28-04, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by clintbike
The driver hasn't been charged?!!!
Yet. The investigation should be continuing.

Originally Posted by clintbike
I'm curious. If a dump truck driver carelessly runs over a car, destroying the driver, is it a crime if the he/she continues on without stopping? This act was irresponsible and unforgiveable. To add further insult to injury, it looks like the driver will just keep on working without facing any consequences. It seems to be just another case of discrimination against cyclists.
Leaving the scene of an injury accident is a crime regardless of whether the accident was a criminal act. Leaving the scene of an accident does not make the accident a criminal act since it occurs after the accident has taken place.
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Old 03-28-04, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by supcom
Yet. The investigation should be continuing..
That's great you know about law. I don't know how the investigation process works here. Could you please let me know what's going to happen now?


Originally Posted by supcom
Leaving the scene of an injury accident is a crime regardless of whether the accident was a criminal act. Leaving the scene of an accident does not make the accident a criminal act since it occurs after the accident has taken place.
I wasn't asking for an answer here Supcom. This was a rhetorical question used to illustrate the double standard I believe there exists between motor vehicle operators and bicyclists.
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Old 03-29-04, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by supcom
Leaving the scene of an injury accident is a crime regardless of whether the accident was a criminal act.
That alone should have attracted a charge.

Originally Posted by supcom
Leaving the scene of an accident does not make the accident a criminal act since it occurs after the accident has taken place.
It does, however, provide us with perhaps the most reliable indication of the guy's intentions, or at least his level of concern, at the time. Frankly, the fact that he took off indicates to me that he didn't care one way or another whether he killed someone. That alone precludes the use of the term "accident" to describe the incident in my view.
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Old 03-29-04, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris L
That alone should have attracted a charge.



It does, however, provide us with perhaps the most reliable indication of the guy's intentions, or at least his level of concern, at the time. Frankly, the fact that he took off indicates to me that he didn't care one way or another whether he killed someone. That alone precludes the use of the term "accident" to describe the incident in my view.
The driver may very well be charged with one or more crimes. For all we know, he may have by now. Unfortuantely, the news media may lose interest in the story and not report on it.

By the way, the article did say that the police had imponded the vehicle the 'believed' was responsible. This indicates to me that the investigation was still ongoing when the article was written. The fact that the truck was impounded certainly shows that the police are treating the incident seriously.
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Old 03-30-04, 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by supcom
By the way, the article did say that the police had imponded the vehicle the 'believed' was responsible. This indicates to me that the investigation was still ongoing when the article was written. The fact that the truck was impounded certainly shows that the police are treating the incident seriously.
That's true. I was going to mention that in my reply, but somehow forgot earlier.
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Old 03-30-04, 10:35 AM
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Old 03-30-04, 10:35 AM
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Be patient. Prosecutors often wait to get their ducks in a row before filing charges. They clearly are taking this seriously. As the former dump truck driver noted above, the truck driver in this case may argue he didn't know he had hit the driver. In order to counter that argument, the police and prosecutors need time to investigate the case, to do their legal research, and to make a plan.
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Old 03-30-04, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by supcom
Yet. The investigation should be continuing.



Leaving the scene of an injury accident is a crime regardless of whether the accident was a criminal act. Leaving the scene of an accident does not make the accident a criminal act since it occurs after the accident has taken place.
????????????????

So causing an accident or leaving scence is not an criminal act ?
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Old 03-30-04, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by kwv
So causing an accident or leaving scence is not an criminal act ?
Simply causing an accident is not a criminal act (other than a traffic offense like 'failure to yield'). Leaving the scene of an injury accident is.

To be a crime, as in felony, in my state you would have to be acting in a 'reckless' (manslaughter) or 'criminally negligent' manner. It would be up to a jury, in most cases, to ultimately decide if your actions fit one of these definitions. An example of criminally negligent might be falling asleep at the wheel after embarking on a trip with sleep deprivation. An example of reckless might be racing on a public street. In Texas, manslaughter is a more serious offense than criminally negligent homicide.

Note that just because you are not convicted of a crime in causing an accident does not mean that you get away with no repercussions. You may still be held liable for a substantial monetary award to the victim's family. Remember OJ Simpson? If you are a truck driver, you will probably be an ex-truck driver. And, as you might expect, your auto insurance rate will probably go up a bit!

As for leaving the scene of an accident, as I recall from the news article, the police had impounded a vehicle that the 'think' was inolved in the accident. They probably want to be more certain that they have the right vehicle, and make sure they know who was drving at the time of the accident before they file any charges. Assuming there is n evidence of intent to hit the cyclist, there should be no urgency to file charges since the driver is unlikely to represent an imminent danger to the community.
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Old 03-31-04, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by supcom
Leaving the scene of an injury accident is a crime regardless of whether the accident was a criminal act. Leaving the scene of an accident does not make the accident a criminal act since it occurs after the accident has taken place.
I don't know the law in DC, but you generally have to know you were in an accident to be convicted of leaving the scene. Meaning no disrespect to the cyclist or his family, if the driver truly thought he hit a pothole, he is probably not guilty of leaving the scene. If the prosecutor says the driver knew and the driver denies it, a jury will have to decide what happened. The cops and prosecutors needs to sift through the facts before charging. They may want to talk to the drivers friends and co-workers to see what the driver has said about the accident. They may also want to present the case to a grand jury, which is a secret proceeding.
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Old 03-31-04, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Daily Commute
I don't know the law in DC, but you generally have to know you were in an accident to be convicted of leaving the scene. Meaning no disrespect to the cyclist or his family, if the driver truly thought he hit a pothole, he is probably not guilty of leaving the scene. If the prosecutor says the driver knew and the driver denies it, a jury will have to decide what happened.
There's a case here where the perp is trying that defense. The DA charged her anyway. I think the prosecution's argument is going to be that when you get behind the wheel, you're expected to know what you're doing. That is, ignorance of one's actions is not a defense when engaged in a privileged activitiy such as driving. IOW, that degree of lack of awareness of one's actions, specifically while driving, is in itself negligence. Not sure what the status of the case is right now.
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Old 04-11-04, 09:51 PM
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Touching article in today's Post about this man's life:



Bicyclist's Full Daily Calendar Embraced Many Friends, Pursuits


By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 11, 2004; Page C10


David K. van Keuren was a bighearted man who had a big laugh and big quadriceps.

The laugh came with him from Wisconsin, and it rang out in all directions no matter where he was. The leg muscles came from his relentless bicycling.

He was forever on his way to or from somewhere, and he got there on his bicycle, rain, shine, sleet or snow. He never turned down an invitation, even if he could make only a short appearance at a dinner or a party or a fundraiser, his friends said.

Rae Johnson, a fledgling artist who knew him from a local bicycling group, said he showed up early at her first exhibit with a single red rose, which he gave to her, and then asked which art piece was her favorite. She pointed one out. He immediately bought it, and "it made all the difference for me," she said.

Her husband, Mark Hathaway, met van Keuren on a ride through the Maryland countryside. Hathaway struggled up one of the hills, only to find van Keuren at the top, waiting for him "with this giant smile on his face, kind of a smile like, 'Isn't it great to be out here on a beautiful, sunny day?' " Hathaway said.

Later, when van Keuren stopped to help him with a flat tire, he cheered up the frustrated cyclist. "He understood important things about life. It wasn't about flat tires," Hathaway said.

That's why van Keuren always carried spare parts and stopped to help if someone else ran into trouble on the road.

On the morning of March 26, as he biked the 1300 block of South Capitol Street on his way to work, the 53-year-old historian was struck by a dump truck and died at the scene. No charges have been filed.

The news of his death reverberated through the local bicycling community; the gay community; the Naval Research Lab, where he worked as a historian; and the wide circle of friends that van Keuren had nurtured during his 18 years in the District.

He was remembered with an informal and a formal memorial service in Washington, a church service in Wisconsin and a memorial ride yesterday on a route known to bikers as "Thursday Thunder," which winds through Rock Creek Park up through Potomac.

Friends at the services spoke about thank-you notes he had sent that brought them to tears. Kai Henrick Barth recalled being a graduate student at a professional history of science conference where almost everyone criticized his research. But van Keuren befriended him and urged him on.

Van Keuren, born and raised in Wisconsin, had been a quiet boy who read voraciously and was involved in everything except sports in high school, said his older brother Michael. He took up serious bicycling while attending college in Eau Claire and earning his master's degree at the university in Madison.

But he was not an only-in-Wisconsin youth: He went to London at age 16 and backpacked around Europe at 22. He had a doctorate in the history of science from the University of Pennsylvania and started working for the Naval Research Lab in 1986.

"He really didn't come into his own until he came to Washington," his brother said. "He really needed the big city."

He didn't need a car or a television. Between work, the gym, the countless AIDS rides, regular training runs with the Cycling Fools biking group, a writing group, a reading group, classical music concerts, art openings, sailing and many afternoons whiled away over good coffee and good conversation with friends, van Keuren had a full schedule.

"Occasionally, he would talk to me in French," said David Michael, a musician who was one of his oldest friends in Washington. "Now, I don't speak French," but that never stopped van Keuren.

A week before the accident, he and a co-editor, Helen M. Rozwadowski, had sent the proofs of his third book, "The Machine in Neptune's Garden: Historical Perspectives on Technology and the Marine Environment," to the printer.

For a time, van Keuren would get up early and help out at Food and Friends, a Southeast Washington kitchen and pantry for people living with HIV/AIDS.

"He liked giving gifts, but he didn't like receiving gifts," said his sister, Marina Nelessen.

He spent one two-month period on a scientific expedition aboard a Russian ship in the Arctic Circle -- and managed to get a phone connection to call his mother on her birthday.

No one is perfect, and van Keuren could be a curmudgeon, complaining to friends if he had not taken a trip in a while or if the weather was bad. He had strong opinions and did not shy away from disagreements, his friends said.

"But you never thought he was a jerk for having those views," friend David Michael said. "You always respected and liked him because he respected people."



2004 The Washington Post Company
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