Angelina Everett gets 90 days in Ed Magos hit-and-run case

Yesterday was a big day for cyclists. And showed just how far we still have to go.

Ten months after 37-year old fashion designer Angelina Everett left Ed Magos lying in the street begging for help after colliding with his bike on a Downtown Street, she was sentenced to 90 days in jail, along with community service and nearly $20,000 in restitution. According to the L.A. Times, she will be allowed to serve her sentence on weekends in the Glendale City Jail, in part because she has a young daughter.

This is case in which the authorities initially declined to press charges because the driver turned herself in an hour-and-a-half after driving away, until pressure from the cycling community led them to take another look at the case.

While cyclists celebrate that justice has finally been done — not just in this case, but in any hit-and-run resulting in injuries this side of death — it should be sobering, as well.

First because this case, like any hit-and-run, is doubly tragic.

Everett is every bit as as much a victim of her own actions as Magos is. Had she simply remained at the scene, there never would have been a case. Who was a fault would have been determined in civil court, rather than in a criminal case. And she would be able to spend her weekends with her daughter, rather than languishing behind bars.

The other reason this case should cause all cyclists to take a step back is this chilling excerpt from the Times:

In court Wednesday, prosecutor Michael Schwartz played 911 tapes from the incident.

In one, Everett called in to report that she had “collided” with a bicycle, and told the 911 operator that she kept driving after the accident because of heavy traffic. When she returned to the site of the crash, she went on, Magos was gone. She asked the 911 operator, “Am I going to jail?”

“No, ma’am,” responded the operator, who went on to tell Everett that people didn’t go to jail for hit-and-runs involving cyclists.

As the article notes, the LAPD has come a long way under Chief Beck’s leadership. And the department now has an effective point person in Sgt. David Krumer, giving us someone we can turn to when problems like this arise.

But this is just one case, in one city. And as the 911 operator’s comment makes clear, legal protection for cyclists is still the exception, rather than the rule.

And even in supposedly bike-friendly communities like Long Beach, authorities continue to make up their own rules, regardless of what the law actually says.

12 comments

  1. anty says:

    To be fair to the 911 operator, she was emphasizing to Everett that she ought to turn herself in if she wants to avoid jail. In the call the operator stated that the police already knew about the collision and had Everett’s license plate number. The operator also said something along the lines of it’s a felony to leave the scene. Obviously what the operator said is a problem, but I don’t recall her explicitly saying that people don’t go to jail for hit and runs with cyclists.

  2. danceralamode says:

    Am I the only one who thinks this sentence is bullshit? It’s supposed to be a punishment, yet she’s being allowed to serve it like detention after school. It’s a punishment, and she’s supposed to lose something. And yet the judge is making it so easy for her. She will miss a few weekends with her daughter, but that’s it?! She left a man to die on the street, and gave him no consideration. But our justice system has all the consideration in the world for her, her job, her daughter, her life, etc. I’m tired of all these considerations for criminals. She committed a crime, let her do the time, not on her own schedule, but on the courts. She doesn’t deserve consideration. She acted in an inhumane manner. Should a person like that even be allowed to have a child?

    • anty says:

      The judge initially gave a sentence of 60 days of county jail time. The defense asked to be able to serve the time in a city jail so that she could do weekends and keep her job. The judge agreed that maintaining the job is important for Everett to be able to pay the $20k restitution. The prosecutor then wanted to make sure it was at a city jail where she would have to serve time in a cell (rather than some sort of outdoor labor or something). The judge then gave the defendant a choice between 60 consecutive days in the county jail or 90 days in a city jail that can be served on weekends. It will take approximately a year for her to do this if she goes every weekend. There will be occasional progress reports to make sure she is keeping up with the time. If she falls too far behind she will be compelled to finish her time out at the county jail.

  3. @anty – I was wondering about that myself. Is an actual transcript available somewhere?

    Another loss: Magos says he doesn’t ride his bike anymore :-(, according to the LA Times article.

  4. Joe Linton says:

    ay… “kept driving because of heavy traffic”

    groan… how did we come to a society that values keeping traffic moving – more than a person’s life?

    I try not to be too vindictive. Dr. Thompson and Angelina Everett are victims of this system, too… not as much as the folks they injured… but when folks believe that a deadly car-centric system is their only choice, it warps them.

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by VA Bicycling Fed. and Joe Anthony, Ted Rogers. Ted Rogers said: Angelina Everett gets 90 days jail for hit-and-run, but case shows how far we still have to go: http://bit.ly/dcy82C […]

  6. PlebisPower says:

    Thanks to those dedicated cyclists who supported Ed Magos in and out of court, and who waged the larger battle to win recognition for cyclists. We all benefit and, speaking for myself, I appreciate the time and energy invested in keeping Mr. Magos, and the larger issue, in the public eye.

  7. “No, ma’am, people didn’t go to jail for hit-and-runs involving cyclists.”

    fantastic world we live in

  8. Ed Magos says:

    Thank you for posting this update BikingInLA. I really appreciate you taking the time to share this news and for the other writings you have written pertaining to this hit-and-run.

    I am very grateful and moved by the support of the cycling community and am thankful for blogs such as this which keep us all informed on important cycling news.

    Thanks again
    -Ed

    @Richard – To clarify, my goal is to be back on a bike and not let fear take away one of my favorite things. However due to the injuries and other aspects of the hit-and-run I have not ridden much this year outside of CicLAvia and some Class 1 routes (car free). Hopefully one day soon I’ll meet up with some of you on a group ride.

    • bikinginla says:

      Ed, I’m just glad you got the justice you deserved, and more important, that you’re going to be okay. As for getting back on the bike, don’t be surprised if there’s a little fear, but don’t let it stop you. Ten years later, I still feel a little discomfort when I pass the intersection where I was hit in a road rage incident — but I ride through it almost every time I ride, anyway.

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