Around 1 pm on April first, 47-year old Jeffrey Gordon was riding his bike on Westminster Blvd east of Bolsa Chica Street in Long Beach.
A moment later, he was sailing 70 feet through the air after being hit from behind by a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Long Beach fire captain John David Hines.
Rather than stop and render aid as he is trained to do, Hines fled the scene as witnesses chased after him begging him to stop. They followed him to his home in Huntington Beach where he was arrested by the police, who allege that he looked drunk and had a strong odor of urine on his clothes.
The Belmont Shore – Naples Patch reports that Billy Chisholm was a passenger in one of those pursuing vehicles.
“I was sick to my stomach the whole time,” Chisholm recalled. “He just hit him and left him to die like he was a skunk in the road. He had to have known he hit him because his truck was all busted up. That was a human being he left there to die. It’s not right.”
Then again, maybe its a good thing he didn’t try to save Gordon’s life; with a blood alcohol level of .24 percent — virtually the same level as Marco Antonio Valencia showed when he killed Joe Novotny — he probably would have done far more harm than good.
And he’d already done more than enough harm behind the wheel.
Hines reportedly spent the morning drinking at the Schooner or Later bar in Long Beach before driving down to Seal Beach. That’s where he allegedly drifted into the bike lane and struck Gordon’s bike from behind, then sped off without ever hitting his brakes or slowing down.
Not surprisingly, an arrest warrant was issued for Hines on Wednesday.
According to the Huntington Beach Independent:
John David Hines, 38, is charged with one felony count each of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or more causing injury and hit-and-run with injury, according to a release from the district attorney. He also faces sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury and having a blood alcohol level over .20%.
Fortunately, Gordon survived the collision, despite spending two weeks in the hospital with severe injuries ranging from head trauma, severe lacerations and bruising to his head and body, to internal injuries and spinal and vertebrae injuries. However, he reportedly continues to suffer limited mobility, and speech and memory loss.
Hines faces up to six years and eight months in prison if convicted. According to the Times, he is still being sought by police on $250,000 bail; it’s possible that he may have entered rehab in an attempt to get leniency from the court.
The only real difference between this case and that of Valenica — who faces 24 years to life in prison after being convicted of 2nd degree murder and felony hit-and-run while intoxicated on Wednesday — is that Hines’ victim survived, while Valencia’s didn’t.