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Suspect in fatal hit-and-run bike crash pleads not guilty (Spokane, WA)

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Suspect in fatal hit-and-run bike crash pleads not guilty (Spokane, WA)

Old 09-21-11, 09:23 PM
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Suspect in fatal hit-and-run bike crash pleads not guilty (Spokane, WA)

My apologies if this has been posted already, I've done multiple searches and couldn't find anything with "Megan Skillingstad" or "Dennis Widener."

Suspect in fatal hit-and-run bike crash pleads not guilty

"An 18-year-old woman accused of a hit-and-run crash that killed a bicyclist was arraigned on a felony charge today in Spokane County Superior Court.

Megan C. Skillingstad pleaded not guilty to one count failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death for the crash with Dennis Widener, 66, which occurred June 23 as he rode his bike on Empire Avenue at North Division Street.

Skillingstad was joined by family members and her lawyer Carl Oreskovich, who declined to speak with media after the short hearing before Judge Michael Price. Widener’s widow, Helen Widener, also attended.

Skillingstad was given a trial date of Dec. 12, but Price acknowledged it may be postponed to allow more time to prepare.

Skililngstad, a star softball catcher at Shadle Park High School who’s to play for Community Colleges of Spokane, has until Wednesday at 5 p.m. to report to the Spokane County Jail to be booked and released.

Spokane police seized Skillingstad’s 1996 Nissan Sentra Aug. 5, one day after a friend called police and said she’d been trying to persuade Skillingstad to turn herself in to no avail. Skillingstad had reportedly told another friend that “she was terrified and didn’t know what to do” when she struck Widener, according to a probable cause affidavit. “She thought about staying at the scene, but got scared and left.”

Police said a friend said Skillingstad was on her way to work when the crash occurred about 4:38 a.m. Widener died at a hospital on July 6."



More articles regarding the hit-and-run can be found here.

I doubt she'll face any legal consequences other than a small slap on the wrist.
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Old 09-21-11, 11:54 PM
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Skillingstad had reportedly told another friend that “she was terrified and didn’t know what to do”
She's eighteen years old, therefore she got her license less than three years ago. I would be rather shocked if knowing what to do when you are involved in a wreck isn't on every written test for a driver's license. Anyone who either doesn't know what to do when he/she runs someone over or can't/won't figure it out is either too stupid to drive or too self-absorbed to be allowed to drive. When all is said and done here, her driving privilege should be permanently revoked.
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Old 09-22-11, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by TheHen
She's eighteen years old, therefore she got her license less than three years ago. I would be rather shocked if knowing what to do when you are involved in a wreck isn't on every written test for a driver's license. Anyone who either doesn't know what to do when he/she runs someone over or can't/won't figure it out is either too stupid to drive or too self-absorbed to be allowed to drive. When all is said and done here, her driving privilege should be permanently revoked.
Even if it isn't in the drivers ed handbook, it should be common sense that if you hit someone/thing that you should stop and see what or who you hit. And if you hit someone call 911 and do what you can to keep other cars from hitting them.

Also as others have said drivers ed needs to be more in depth then it currently is. So that when a person finally gets their license and hits the road they're fully trained and know what to do.

And as has been said before I don't think that it's asking too much that as with getting a CCW that a person should have to show a valid reason for needing to get a drivers license. And it had better be something more substantial than "so I can go to work or school."

Particularly considering that there is much more at risk when driving a car. I mean with a car one can kill and/or maime several people at once. With a gun unless it is fully automatic or you get real lucky (or unlucky depending on where one is standing) you only kill or injure one person at a time.

The standard should be higher then what it currently is to get a drivers license. And I agree this young gal should have her's revoked for the rest of her life.

I know that there are those out there who'll say that "she's young, she made a mistake." True, but the "mistake" that she made is/was a dozy.
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Old 09-22-11, 01:15 AM
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She definitely needs to spend time behind bars.
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Old 09-22-11, 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris516
She definitely needs to spend time behind bars.
Agreed, and as others have said, do some serious community service once she gets out. To possibly include after all of her punishment has been served she should be required to go around to schools and tell the students what happened and how it affect not only her life, but the lives of those connected with her crash.

You know, put a face on what really happens when one gets behind the wheel of a car and doesn't use care when operating it.
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Old 09-22-11, 11:39 AM
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The more you read, the more disgusted you get.

"Hallock seized Skillingstad’s 1996 Nissan Sentra on Aug. 5, one day after a friend called police and said she’d been trying – to no avail - to persuade Skillingstad to turn herself in.

Skillingstad’s father, Steve Skillingstad, answered the door and nodded when Hallock said, “You know why I’m here.”

Hallock said it appears Megan Skillingstad had recently told her father about the crash, and that the family had already contacted a lawyer.

“So they may have been in the process of contacting us, and I just got there first,” Hallock said. “It’s hard to say.”

“Nobody in the family is talking to me about the case,” Hallock said. " (Source)

She's more or less confessed to it, and I'm sure if they're able to recover evidence from her vehicle it will prove it, but she's still pleading "not guilty." The family and the lawyer probably assume that there will be at least one person on the jury who won't be willing to convict the 18-year-old softball star from a nice, middle class family. And sadly, they're probably right.
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Old 09-22-11, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Rainie
She's more or less confessed to it, and I'm sure if they're able to recover evidence from her vehicle it will prove it, but she's still pleading "not guilty." The family and the lawyer probably assume that there will be at least one person on the jury who won't be willing to convict the 18-year-old softball star from a nice, middle class family. And sadly, they're probably right.
There are cyclist on BF's that would not convict her. They would say that she has to live with knowing she killed someone the rest of her life, what a horrible burden, no need to punish her further.

Anyone remember the taped conversation of the girl in jail awaiting trial for killing a cyclist, and how she laughed when a friend joked that she did the world a favor by clearing the cyclist off the road.
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Old 09-26-11, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI
There are cyclist on BF's that would not convict her. They would say that she has to live with knowing she killed someone the rest of her life, what a horrible burden, no need to punish her further.
I am skeptical of this claim.
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Old 09-26-11, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Rainie
She's more or less confessed to it, and I'm sure if they're able to recover evidence from her vehicle it will prove it, but she's still pleading "not guilty." The family and the lawyer probably assume that there will be at least one person on the jury who won't be willing to convict the 18-year-old softball star from a nice, middle class family. And sadly, they're probably right.
No, that's greatly oversimplifying the situation.

Pleading "not guilty", even after confessing (which her lawyer probably wishes she hadn't, but if she did, they have to deal with it) simply leaves her options open. It means she can try for a plea bargain, or that she can actually attempt to defend against the charges if she does decide to go to court.

Pleading "guilty" makes things easier for the courts and in general harder for the defendant (it leads to less time in court, but more time in prison). It might help soothe her conscience, maybe, but it also tends to mean that she will get screwed over. The way our courts work, the best outcome for her is if she pleads "not guilty" until she gets the best plea bargain she thinks she can get. Or she can roll the dice in the court room.

Summary: pleading "not guilty" is what everybody should do. It doesn't mean that they're bad people (the crime might, however) or have anything to do with the strength of the case against them. It's simply acting in their best interests.

As for "at least one person on the jury who won't be willing to convict", the votes generally need to be unanimous, but most people want to get out of there as soon as possible. Not only does this "one person" have to be not willing to convict, but they have to feel strongly enough about that to be willing to stand up to the other members of the jury and be adamant about not wanting to convict -- that's a much higher bar. And that generally leads to a mistrial, not to an acquittal -- unless this person can change everybody else's mind.

Most of the time, what happens if one or two people don't want to convict but everybody else does (or vice versa) is that the few dissenters eventually decide to go along with the majority. Unless they can convince the majority to change their mind -- which can happen, but it usually takes more than one dissenter to do it.
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Old 09-26-11, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI
There are cyclist on BF's that would not convict her. They would say that she has to live with knowing she killed someone the rest of her life, what a horrible burden, no need to punish her further.

Anyone remember the taped conversation of the girl in jail awaiting trial for killing a cyclist, and how she laughed when a friend joked that she did the world a favor by clearing the cyclist off the road.
I agree with you, and one of the sad things with that is that at 18 yrs old how long she be bothered by what she did? If she isn't forced to face up to it on a regular basis, be it monthly or weekly or daily visits to schools to tell what happened isn't the memory of that day going to eventually fade over time?

No, I don't remember that case, was it discussed here in BF? Would you happen to have a link to it? It's very sad that there are a lot of people who take that attitude towards cyclists, or walkers/runners.
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Old 09-26-11, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by dougmc
I am skeptical of this claim.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally Posted by dwr1961
Oh, my friend...

I have no doubt that this young man is dealing with a load of guilt and grief that few of us can comprehend. Although his actions may have stemmed from inattention or inexperience, I'd wager that there was no malice in his heart at that moment - only surprise, anguish, and then fear and helplessness. I would not wish his circumstance on anyone.

He'll probably never get over this - and forgiving himself might be impossible.

I hope that he's given a long prohibition from driving. That would be just. The emotional baggage he carries from now on may exact a toll that colors the rest of his existence. Is that indeed punishment enough?

I'm praying for Kevin Pavlis' family and friends... And also for the young driver. In some ways he's lost his life, too.
Originally Posted by jakemoffatt
Well this is a tricky one.

The driver claims there was a car crowding him off the road... I don't doubt it. ...

Also, think about the psychological impact this must be having on this guy... Having killed 2 people... In some cases that would be punishment enough.
Originally Posted by slide
Also what will severe punishment to the driver do to the good? It sure won't revive the McDaniels.

Also any of us who drive have had lapses of inattention. Perhaps this was such a lapse that resulted in the death of two innocents, but the *crime* of attention lapse is one we're all guilty of doing. Keep that in mind those who want to hang the driver not for the attention loss, not because it resulted in deaths, but because the dead were on bikes.
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Old 09-26-11, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI
---------------------------------------------------------------------
None of these people said they would not convict [Regarding the claim that "There are cyclist on BF's that would not convict her."]

dwr1961 hopes he'll get a "a long prohibition from driving" ... that would require a conviction.
jakemoffatt points out that there could be more to the story. (And of course there could be. And his very next post points out that were were some details that he wasn't aware of.)
slide didn't say that that the guy was innocent either. His points are accurate.

I would expect that if any of these people were on a jury when this case came up that they would examine the evidence presented and come to an appropriate decision -- just as anybody should. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" is a pretty high bar in some cases, and it does lead to many guilty people being acquitted -- but that's the way things go when the evidence isn't there.

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Old 09-26-11, 07:14 PM
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After some jail time, she should have to go to HS once a year and give a presentation on auto a cycle safey for the next 25 years. This is so she will be forced to remember.
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Old 09-26-11, 07:24 PM
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I'm betting the attorney will try to claim that she tried reporting it but the number was busy or some other stupid thing like that. Anything to put reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury. Hell, for a lot of jury members, she'd just have to say that she wasn't sure it was a cyclist... she thought it was a deer with a funny helmet and round feet.. that'd be enough.


Originally Posted by Rainie
The more you read, the more disgusted you get.

"Hallock seized Skillingstad’s 1996 Nissan Sentra on Aug. 5, one day after a friend called police and said she’d been trying – to no avail - to persuade Skillingstad to turn herself in.

Skillingstad’s father, Steve Skillingstad, answered the door and nodded when Hallock said, “You know why I’m here.”

Hallock said it appears Megan Skillingstad had recently told her father about the crash, and that the family had already contacted a lawyer.

“So they may have been in the process of contacting us, and I just got there first,” Hallock said. “It’s hard to say.”

“Nobody in the family is talking to me about the case,” Hallock said. " (Source)

She's more or less confessed to it, and I'm sure if they're able to recover evidence from her vehicle it will prove it, but she's still pleading "not guilty." The family and the lawyer probably assume that there will be at least one person on the jury who won't be willing to convict the 18-year-old softball star from a nice, middle class family. And sadly, they're probably right.
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Old 09-26-11, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by dougmc
None of these people said they would not convict [Regarding the claim that "There are cyclist on BF's that would not convict her."]

dwr1961 hopes he'll get a "a long prohibition from driving" ... that would require a conviction.
jakemoffatt points out that there could be more to the story. (And of course there could be. And his very next post points out that were were some details that he wasn't aware of.)
slide didn't say that that the guy was innocent either. His points are accurate.

I would expect that if any of these people were on a jury when this case came up that they would examine the evidence presented and come to an appropriate decision -- just as anybody should. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" is a pretty high bar in some cases, and it does lead to many guilty people being acquitted -- but that's the way things go when the evidence isn't there.
Plenty of indicators in those quotes and how odd you completely ignored:

Originally Posted by slide
Also what will severe punishment to the driver do to the good? It sure won't revive the McDaniels.

Also any of us who drive have had lapses of inattention. Perhaps this was such a lapse that resulted in the death of two innocents, but the *crime* of attention lapse is one we're all guilty of doing. Keep that in mind those who want to hang the driver not for the attention loss, not because it resulted in deaths, but because the dead were on bikes.
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Old 09-26-11, 09:20 PM
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Why is she not up for Vehicular Homicide?
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Old 09-26-11, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI
Plenty of indicators in those quotes and how odd you completely ignored:
Discussing possible extenuating circumstances (or just circumstances in general) != would not convict.

As I said, if they were on a jury, I'd hope they'd listen to the evidence, rather than simply convict because the victim was a cyclist. (Of course, the defense would be afraid of the latter, and so I would not expect any cyclists on the jury at all.)
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Old 09-27-11, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by dougmc
None of these people said they would not convict [Regarding the claim that "There are cyclist on BF's that would not convict her."]

dwr1961 hopes he'll get a "a long prohibition from driving" ... that would require a conviction.
jakemoffatt points out that there could be more to the story. (And of course there could be. And his very next post points out that were were some details that he wasn't aware of.)
slide didn't say that that the guy was innocent either. His points are accurate.

I would expect that if any of these people were on a jury when this case came up that they would examine the evidence presented and come to an appropriate decision -- just as anybody should. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" is a pretty high bar in some cases, and it does lead to many guilty people being acquitted -- but that's the way things go when the evidence isn't there.
Actually, Slide's comment is pretty much what defense attorneys used as their closing arguments for drunk drivers prior to MADD. It translates as, "There but for the grace of God go you or I." It is a call to acquit.
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Old 09-27-11, 04:24 AM
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I think it's a sad state of affairs when one cannot say "I'm sorry" at the scene of an accident, because your insurance company instructs you not to. Or one has to claim "not guilty" as per lawyer's instructions, even when you well know you did it.
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Old 09-27-11, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by TheHen
Actually, Slide's comment is pretty much what defense attorneys used as their closing arguments for drunk drivers prior to MADD. It translates as, "There but for the grace of God go you or I." It is a call to acquit.
I saw it more as a call for a light sentence. It does sound like a closing argument though, doesn't it?

Either way, I'm done with defending my skepticism. This is a forum of cyclists, and I would expect most if not all of us to take a car/bike collision seriously, and to be more likely to convict the driver than the general public if we were on such a jury -- including the people listed. And because of this, I would expect the defense to make sure that none of us were on the jury.
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Old 04-30-23, 06:15 PM
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She does it again killing 2 pedestrians in airway heights last night
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Old 04-30-23, 06:29 PM
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https://www.kxly.com/news/scso-two-p...87cac2d99.html
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Old 04-30-23, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Miniroxy59
She does it again killing 2 pedestrians in airway heights last night
unbelievable.

https://www.krem.com/article/news/cr...8-a021e043ce06

looks like this time she's been charged with vehicular homicide.

well, there's your answer to the 12 year old thread and the question "what good would it do to lock this person up for 20 years."

it would have saved two lives.
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Old 05-01-23, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett
unbelievable.

https://www.krem.com/article/news/cr...8-a021e043ce06

looks like this time she's been charged with vehicular homicide.

well, there's your answer to the 12 year old thread and the question "what good would it do to lock this person up for 20 years."

it would have saved two lives.

I don't think 20 years was ever on the table. She was sentenced to 1 year. The maximum she could have ben sentenced to for the crime she pled to was 41 months

.
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Old 05-09-23, 06:34 AM
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