Long Beach fire captain John Hines arraigned for drunken hit-and-run

An anonymous reader sent me the following email this morning.

In case it slipped under your radar, yesterday Fire Captain John D. Hines entered a preliminary plea of not guilty to three of his felony charges in the hit-and-run of of Jeffrey Gordon.  A judge then inexplicably denied the prosecutor’s request to increase the bail amount fivefold to $250,000, which incidentally was the amount of the arrest warrant issued on April 26th.  Hines has retained a bulldog of an attorney with a great deal of experience in keeping dangerous drivers on the streets.

Hines’ EMT certificate, #E030577, has not been revoked, and probably is not under review.

The writer goes on to note that Hines is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on June 17th.

And yes, it did slide under my radar, even though I’ve been following this case and scan the news for anything bike-related several times a day. So a big thanks for forwarding this information.

When I went back to look again after receiving the email, I found a number of stories like this one in the Contra Costa Times, each containing the same news release, virtually word for word, about Hines arraignment for running down a cyclist, then hitting the gas and fleeing the scene. And adding little to the story beyond what you see above.

Credit then, to the Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch, which took the time to dig a little deeper into the story — including noting, as we speculated, that Hines reportedly had checked himself into rehab following his initial arrest.

No doubt at the suggestion of the afore mentioned bulldog attorney, Vince Tucci, in the hopes of getting leniency from the court.

Hines faces a maximum of six years and eight months if convicted on the felony DUi and hit-and-run charges; two hours after the collision, his blood alcohol level was .24, three times the legal limit of .08.

“Instead of staying to render aid, he left the victim like common road kill in a pool of blood, and fled the scene…it is egregious,” Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz said last week. “It’s 1 in the afternoon, he’s three times the legal limit. He’s a firefighter, no less, someone whose job it is to aid people in medical distress. It’s not some 18-year-old kid who had too much to drink. He knows better. He should know better.”

He’s released on just $50,000 bail, after the request to increase bail to the same $250,000 amount in the arrest warrant was denied.

7 comments

  1. Has his driver’s license been suspended until the case is finished proceeding through the court? I think that should be mandatory when someone is accused of hit and run and/or DUI. Until they are proven innocent, their privilege to drive is revoked. Some will argue that doing so would mean making them guilty to be proven innocent, but driving is NOT a right. We can ask people to surrender their passports if we fear they will flee, why can’t we have them surrender their DLs too?

    • Louie says:

      Agree!

      But I can already hear him whine, “But how will I get to work?” Oh, I don’t know, how about RIDING A BIKE?”

  2. Opus the Poet says:

    Why was he even released on bail, he already ran once, proving himself a flight risk. Did they take his car and passport?

  3. Will Campbell says:

    It’s scary how the courts can seemingly allow this suspect back out on the streets with such a minimal bail amount. I understand how emotionally charged this case is, but what’s more frightening is how some seem so ready and willing to flip the cornerstone of our justice system upside down by calling for a presumption of guilt of the accused at such an early stage in this matter.

    The rationale for warranting such a reversal is that a passport is a citizen’s right, whose retrieval can be seen as a rejection of one’s innocence. But clearly stated within each one issued: “U.S. Government Property” that “upon demand made by an authorized representative of the United States Government, it must be surrendered.”

    By and large a passport is not only NOT a right, but a PRIVILEGE more readily suspendable than a license, since we all are legally obligated to give ours up simply if so ordered by an appropriate authority; no questions answered.

    As such, the forced release of a passport cannot be used to rationalize — on any level — the authorization or acceptance of the presumption of guilt, which IS a denial or our right to a fair trial.

  4. Lois Rubin says:

    I have a problem with the going to rehab as a solution to the problem. My understanding of rehab is that they teach you not to drink. Drinking was not the problem. Drinking and driving was the problem. How much time is spent at rehab on stopping the driving part? Isn’t real punishment, like jail time, more effective in stopping the driving part of the equation?

  5. Jodi says:

    why does it seem like punishment for assaults, homocides, etc. is less severe when a car is the weapon?

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