Finally, the Foxen Canyon tragedy is complete, as a mother sits behind bars and a cyclist slowly slipped away

Maybe you remember.

It was a little over two-and-a-half years ago when a Los Olivos mother crossed the center line on Foxen Canyon Road near the city, and plowed her SUV into a group of cyclists while under the influence of prescription medication.

With her eight-month old daughter in the car.

Two of the eight cyclists, who were participating in a riding camp, were injured. One woman suffered arm and leg fractures; the other, 57-year old Gary Lynn Holmes, suffered serious brain injuries, and was still unresponsive when 32-year old Alicia Gilbert was charged in the collision three months later.

He never recovered.

Santa Barbara County prosecutors were clearly as incensed as local cyclists were, charging her with driving under the influence of a drug and causing bodily injury, failing to provide accurate information at the scene of an accident, child endangerment, false personification of another and driving with a suspended license.

Gilbert eventually accepted a plea bargain, pleading no contest to a single felony count of driving under the influence causing injury; she was sentenced to four years and four months in state prison.

Unlike most revolving door sentences that allow guilty parties to serve just a fraction of their time, sentencing guidelines require her to serve 85% of her sentence before she’s eligible for parole.

That works out to just over three years and eight months, making her up for parole in July, 2016; the state inmate locator confirms that she is still behind bars.

Her daughter, eight months old at the time of the collision, will be nearly five before she even has a chance to get out. And return to a daughter who will barely know her.

Meanwhile, Holmes, a former champion triathlete, remained unresponsive, and was returned to his Memphis-area hometown where he could be near family.

Sadly, Orange County Bicycle Coalition board member Barbara Danzi writes that he passed away earlier this month; a funeral notice confirms he died on October 15th.

She writes,

I knew Gary when I attended the same Tri camp in 2011. He was a great guy, full of stories of his 20+ Ironman races. He seemed to enjoy the training for the camaraderie as he would wait by the side of the road to cheer people on and take photos and video. His tri club members said that he would ride with anyone, anytime, anywhere, any speed.

As she points out, he was not from here.

But his life effectively ended as one of us, on a lonely, winding road outside of a picturesque California town, at the hands of a woman who couldn’t manage to stay out of her car when she was too stoned to drive.

There is simply no excuse, ever.

And the price paid by family and loved ones, of both the victim and his killer, is just too damn high.

My thanks to Barbara Danzi for the news, and my deepest prayers and sympathy for Gary Holmes and all his family and loved ones.

4 comments

  1. JD says:

    Shouldn’t the driver now be charged with murder since one of the victims died?

  2. Richard says:

    Yes I echo the call for clarification if conviction prevents concurrent federal jurisdiction and new charges regarding the civil right to life on the now deceased friend.

    I don’t see why it should. His death is after her guilty plea. She should of at least delayed until such argument could not be made.

    I see know reason not to wait until she is released before arresting her though- and that is well after the midterms, even after those of of next President’s first term.

    Let her have no peace of having paid for her decision to drive without a license etc.

    I think people who can be proven to drive routinely despite no current lawful license to do so should be deported or rendered physically unable to do so if not held until no longer a threat or unable to legally drive.

    Some fear release of such killer’s and there ‘lawful’ despite proven awful driving thereafter. I say hold at least until lawful driving is possible at least. That would take a very large number of drivers off our roads instantly, and keep guards being laid of presently from losing there homes.

    The way it works is you can now be free again despite it being illegal for you sit in a driver’s seat- I say for how many times? Once might not be too many times, but twice is beyond dispute.

    Grab keys again even once illegally, and you consent to us throwing away the keys to your cell- almost catchy enough to pass upon a majority of voters signing?

    Ankle bracelet’s that report any speed above 15mph and suspend lifetime parole for those who can afford them perhaps… but only if helicopter’s to arrive within minutes of the alarm are funded- one’s big enough to lift the offending car right off the road before it reaches lethal speed somehow.

    • The main problem I see with the ankle bracelet idea is it assumes the only way to faster than a person riding a bicycle is to drive a car, which ignores things like ride sharing, taxis, and all forms of public transit. Heck, it even ignores going downhill on a bicycle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: