Tag Archive for Arthur John Jacobs

Bush-hiding hit-and-run driver gets 6 years; Highland Park road-rager guilty of assault with deadly weapon

More news on SoCal’s very crowded court dockets.

San Diego hit-and-run driver Julianne Elyse Thomson — famed for hiding under the bushes while her victim died in the street — was sentenced to a well-deserved six years in state prison.

Thomson had pled guilty in January to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run causing death. She had a blood-alcohol level of .25 — over three times the legal limit — when she killed 64-year old Arthur John Jacobs as he rode to work on July 27th of last year.

Meanwhile, bike riding attorney Ross Hirsch — who wrote the definitive explanation of L.A.’s new cyclist anti-harassment ordinance — reports that Highland Park road rage driver Louis Mraz has been convicted on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Mraz was charged with deliberately running down cyclist Winona Wacker after a confrontation on Avenue 50, then fleeing the scene.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, it wasn’t his first time. But he still had the unbelievable chutzpah — or sheer hatred of anyone on two wheels — to publicly argue against bike lanes on North Figueroa avenue while facing charges for assaulting Wacker.

Now that’s major huevos. And not in a good way.

Hirsch reports that Mraz was acquitted on charges of hit-and-run and causing grave bodily injury. Sentencing is scheduled for March 26th; no word yet on what sentence he may face, but Hirsch suggests that Mraz is likely to serve his time in county lockup rather than state prison.

Update: The Highland Park and Eagle Rock editions of Patch have picked up the story, reporting that Mraz could face anything from a $10,000 fine to up to four years behind bars.

According to the California Penal Code “any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm or by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.”


A California legislator introduces a bill that would add a $2 surcharge to the price of every bike sold to maintain bike trails and paths within the state park system; in other words, a tax on all cyclists for trails most will never ride.

Personally, I have no problem with the concept, as long as the money doesn’t go into to state’s general fund where we’d never see it again, and is restricted for use exclusively on bike projects.

But why not make it half-a-percent, so the people who can afford high-end bikes pay a little more, while someone who can only afford a cheap bike pays a minimal amount. Then use for bikeways throughout the state, rather than just state parks.

If nothing else, it would shut up the misinformed bike haters who insist we have to pay our own way. Even though we’re already paying theirs.

Meanwhile, a writer in the Washington Post asks why should we?


The Examined Spoke takes the father of Vehicular Cycling to task, and shows what might have been. Clearly, a UK writer is no fan, and Bike Snob doesn’t appear to be either.


Somehow I missed this study last year, showing that more bikeways equals more bike riders, even when adjusting for other factors. However, it doesn’t say if more cyclists cause more bikeways, or the other way around.

My guess is it works both ways.


Bike Radar interviews the LACBC’s Alexis Lantz about the new county bike plan. Turns out it’s not hard to get a permit to block a bike lane, if you actually apply for it. CicLAvia’s Joe Linton talks bike lanes and car-free Sundays. New bike lanes are coming to San Vicente Blvd in West Hollywood. Taking up the car-free lifestyle in Long Beach. Ventura County cyclists will get a new beachfront bike path along Highway 101 south of Carpinteria in a few years. Sadly, a long-time Solvang bike activist passes away just days before his 99th birthday. Evidently, Santa Barbara has a bike shop desert. A Bakersfield cyclist was killed crossing a road on Friday. A Montebello salmon cyclist is lucky to end up with just a broken ankle after getting hit by a van heading the wrong way on a one way street. Turns out that Rear Adm. Dixon Smith, the new commander of the Navy’s Southwest Region is one of us. It’s bad enough we have to dodge drivers, now we have to watch out for cows, too. PayPal Executive Eric Salvatierra was killed while walking his bike on Menlo Park railroad tracks on Friday. Union Pacific runs cyclists off a de facto bike park. Three years probation and 500 hours of community service for the San Francisco cyclist who killed a pedestrian while running a red light; if a driver had killed a cyclist under similar circumstances, we’d be screaming for his head.

Studies show active kids are smarter kids. Automakers say if you’re going to make us fight distracted driving, you need to stop smartphone makers, too; a good read on why drivers hate cars. A popular Seattle bicycle mechanic died after being hit by a car on his way to work. Don’t try this at home; a Chicago cyclist chases down and tackles a purse snatcher. Ohio bike volunteers are sued for practicing engineering without a license for offering advice on improving safety. Early ‘60s rockabilly singer Terry Teen was killed while riding his bike in Texas last week. No surprise as former president George W. Bush declines to participate in the Dallas Ride of Silence. Court records finally explain why the NYPD didn’t charge the hit-and-run driver who killed cyclist Mathieu Lefevre. Ex-framebuilder Dave Moulton offers an interesting comparison of 1950s and modern bike design.

Two years after being injured in a collision, a Vancouver cyclist is sued by the driver that hit him for damaging her car; no really. A Toronto Councilor brags that he would kick a bike courier’s ass if he wasn’t an elected official; maybe he shouldn’t be one. London traffic engineers were ordered to ignore cyclists in planning traffic capacity at a killer intersection. A new interactive map allows UK cyclists to pinpoint areas that need improvement. Bradley Wiggins kicks off the European season with a win in the Paris – Nice Classic; Santa Rosa’s Levi Leipheimer crashed out of competition. The Telegraph asks if Wiggo is the best rider Great Britain has ever produced. Volvo introduces the first air bag to protect people outside of the car — like cyclists and pedestrians. Even Dubai cyclists are getting a new bike plan, including dedicated cycle tracks integrated into all Metro stations; be nice to see that kind of planning in L.A. Green Party politicians say bikes and trucks don’t mix in a dangerous Australian intersection. Taiwan could rival The Netherlands as a bicycle paradise.

Finally, change your mind, change your gears, as a new Toyota Prius bike allows you to shift by thinking — as long as your iPad is strapped to your chest; since it was reported by Fox News, you can blame Obama if it doesn’t work.

And you might recognize the last caller on Patt Morrison’s KPCC segment on the job prospects for Gen Y, identified only as Charlie from Long Beach.

Killer hit-and-run driver who hid in bushes faces six years; swift justice in Monrovia

The bike justice beat goes on.

It wasn’t that long ago that drivers who killed or maimed cyclists seemed to drive off with barely a slap on the wrist. But lately, there seems to be a steady drumbeat of convictions, even if some drivers still get off far too easy.

Maybe that speaks to the pressure we’ve been applying in our demands for justice.

Or maybe it just speaks to the unacceptably high number of serious cycling cases currently clogging the courts. Or the sheer idiocity of those behind the wheel.

Case in point, Julianne Elyse Thompson was convicted after pleading guilty in a bizarre case in which she ran down and killed 64-year old Arthur John Jacobs in Carlsbad. Then fled the scene at high speed, only to be discovered hiding in the bushes across from an apartment complex where she’d abandoned her car.

Thompson plead guilty to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run causing death. Her blood alcohol level was measured at 0.25 after her arrest — over three times the legal limit, and approaching the level that can cause death.

She is expected to be sentenced to a well-deserved six years in state prison.


In a case of remarkably swift justice, a driver has already been convicted in a Monrovia hit-and-run that occurred just this past Monday.

Yes, Monday.

Jason Travers was arrested about an hour after a 5:42 pm hit-and-run that left a cyclist with non-life threatening injuries. The 25-year old rider, identified as Paul Tetu, was hit from behind while attempting to make a left turn, and thrown 20 feet through the air.

In a sign of the sheer stupidity demonstrated by some drivers — especially those foolish enough to flee the scene of a collision — Travers called police to report he may have been in a collision, after apparently seeing the story on the news. But swore he wasn’t the one who hit the cyclist.

Needless to say, police investigators found evidence connecting him to the crime. Which they may never have found if Travers hadn’t attempted to craft a case of implausible deniability.

He showed much better judgement at his arraignment on Wednesday, entering a plea of No Contest to the hit-and-run charge; sentencing will take place next month.


Finally, Orange County deputies stopped cars in an effort to find the hit-and-run killer of Randy Isaacs, as his family pleads for justice.

Isaacs was killed after putting his children to bed at his parents house, while riding his son’s bike a few blocks to the room he was renting after separating from his wife.

Charges in Carlsbad and Fountain Valley cycling deaths; bold plans for WeHo, new bike plan in SaMo

Lots of things are happening on the SoCal legal front.

To start with, Julianne Thompson of Carlsbad has pleaded not guilty in the hit-and-run death of 64-year old cyclist Arthur Jacobs; she was found hiding in some nearby bushes shortly afterwards with a blood alcohol level over three times the legal limit. Thompson faces up to 15 years on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run and drunk driving.

According to the stories, she’s remorseful. Yet the victim is still dead.

So how does that balance out?


Sources tell me that Adam Carl Garrett, the 19-year old driver accused of killing cyclist Hung Do in a Fountain Valley hit-and-run then calling police pretending to be a witness, has been charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run without gross negligence and hit-and-run with permanent and serious injury.

As one reader put it,

I don’t understand the “without gross negligence” part, but I’d have to say that, yes, death is “permanent and serious.”

As members of the LAPD have repeatedly pointed out, charges are based on what the DA or City Attorney’s offices think they can prove, rather than what police believe really happened. Without witnesses, and with the additional time for any possible intoxicants to pass out of the driver’s system allowed by the hit-and-run, it would be very difficult to make stronger charges stick.


I’m also informed that the family of Amine Britel, the Newport Beach triathlete killed while riding in a bike lane last February, has filed a lawsuit against the driver. Danae Miller was reportedly texting and driving under the influence when she hit Britel’s bike from behind; with her driving record, I’d recommend settling quickly.


Word from the LAPD indicates that charges will soon be filed — if they haven’t already — in the hit-and-run death of Alex Romero, the 17-year old cyclist killed by a speeding car while riding with a friend on De Soto Ave. last April. And charges may not be limited to the driver; they could include others who allegedly attempted to help her cover up the crime.


Renew your membership or make a donation to the LACBC now and AdventureCorp will match it up to a total of $10,000 in honor of fallen endurance cyclist Jim Swarzman.


Get a first look at the newly unveiled draft of the Santa Monica Bike Action Plan when the Santa Monica Spoke hosts a meeting with Santa Monica Deputy Director Lucy Dyke tonight from 6 pm to 8:30 in the Colorado Community Room, 502 Colorado Blvd.

Meanwhile, West Hollywood’s Bicycle Task Force proposes a bold plan to make the city more bike friendly, including removing parking spaces to extend bike lanes along busy Santa Monica Blvd and a road diet on Fountain Ave. to create a protected bike lane along the curb. Not to mention aligning other proposed bike lanes on Fairfax and Vista/Gardner with bike lanes included in the new L.A. bike plan.

We can only hope bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills is paying attention, and plans to do something about that gaping black hole marring biking on the Westside. And needlessly risking the lives and safety of everyone who lives and rides there.


The L.A. County Sheriffs Department is looking for a stabbing suspect who killed a man along the L.A. River Bike Path in South Gate; if you rode the trail the last Friday in June, maybe you saw something.

And according to KNBC-4, L.A. police are looking for a hit-and-run suspect who struck three pedestrians and a parked car in a space of two blocks in Downtown L.A. Sunday morning. But maybe someone else can point out the logical disconnect in this sentence, since KNBC clearly doesn’t get it:

An investigation is underway as to whether or not these accidents were intentional, police said.


It’s time to rethink North Figueroa. Streetsblog looks at the less-than-promising Woodley Ave. bike lanes. LADOT wants your help to survey L.A. bike racks. Metro moves forward on bike share. Full bike parking at the Grove. Those of us born with an competitive gene have to be reminded from time to time not to underestimate anyone; I have to fight the urge to ride down anyone on the road ahead of me. Funny how often the Times photo of the day features bikes. Will gives new meaning to L.A. River Ride by actually riding in the river to connect the gaps in the trail. The South Bay section of the beachfront Marvin Braude Bike Path is about to get a much needed facelift; hopefully the county will get to the cracked and crumbling Marina section before it completely falls apart. Ashley Tisdale rides with her dog in Toluca Lake. An update from Amarillo on the L.A. firefighters riding across the country to honor victims of 9/11.

More information on Cody Wessel, the 19-year old Wildomar cyclist who was killed in nearby Lake Elsinore on Friday. Bike thefts are up in Newport Beach, where police search for Ashton Kutcher and Colonel Sanders. A blind cyclist rides a tandem 240 miles from Santa Barbara to San Diego. A Santa Barbara writer says we could solve a lot of problems with those three little words: share the road. An SB teen is riding across county to raise money and awareness for a program allowing the homeless to live safely in their cars. The Bay Area is facing a pedicab war; yes, Microsoft Word, pedicab is a word so get over it. I missed the unique importance of these new microwave red light sensors in Pleasanton the first time around; thanks to Road.cc for the clarification. Palo Alto attempts to calm traffic and build boulevards. A bike path that doesn’t connect to anything may be a waste of money, but some idiots still don’t get it — it’s the cyclists who are subsidizing the roadways, not the other way around. African American cyclists get blessed in Oakland in an attempt to get more on the road.

New Tron-style wheel rim lights could keep you safer at night. How to not be invisible when you ride. Cycling is good for you, even if you’ve been a couch potato. A graphic illustration of why bikes are good for rural economies. This is why you don’t buy cheap carbon frames off eBay. How is it that Sitka AK is bike-friendly and L.A. isn’t? Misdemeanor charges for killing a Colorado cyclist. It wasn’t easy coming up with that crappy name for the upcoming USA Pro Tour Cycling Challenge; after a top 10 finish in the TdF, Colorado’s Tom Danielson could be one of the favorites. A thief who stole seven bikes from Idaho’s World Relief returns three with an apology. Newly minted Montanan Dancer a la Mode sends word of a DUI fatality that’s gripping the local community. Oklahoma authorities have arrested a suspect in the 2009 hit-and-run death of an 8-year old girl; there’s not a pit in hell deep enough. A Chicago cyclist is killed on her way home from Lollapalooza after falling underneath a dump truck. Massachusetts authorities can now ticket cyclists, but can’t force them to pay.

Turns out bike share saves lives; I wonder if the results would be the same here in L.A. with our lack of cycling infrastructure. How to be an ambassador for cycling. Southern California isn’t the only place where cycling fatalities are on the way up. Pro cycling’s most successful team is folding at the end of this season, while star rider Mark Cavendish may jump to Team Sky; thanks to George Wolfberg for the head’s up. Cycling prodigy Taylor Phinney will compete in this year’s Vuelta a Espana, after winning his first stage since turning pro. Israel revokes their mandatory helmet law for adults. Three years in prison for a rickshaw jockey who chewed off a cyclist’s ear in a road rage incident.

Finally, the unofficial highlights of the Tour de France. And a cyclist rescues a crawfish from the mean streets of Salinas.

If you missed Sunday's Brentwood Grand Prix, you missed some great racing. Don't make the same mistake next year.

Hit-and-run driver kills cyclist in Carlsbad; driver found hiding in bushes

It’s happened yet again.

Another hit-and-run, another dead cyclist in North San Diego County, only a few miles from where Jim Swarzman was killed in April.

This time, though, the alleged drunk driver was found before she had time to sober up, hiding in some bushes near where her car was found.

According to multiple reports, 64-year old Arthur John Jacobs of Vista was riding southbound near the intersection of El Camino Real and Cassia Street around 9:45 pm last night when he was hit by a vehicle allegedly driven by 23-year old Julianne Elyse Thompson. A witness reportedly told police that Thompson’s vehicle hit the curb and some bushes, then sped off into the nearby Villa Loma apartment complex.

When police arrived, they found Jacobs lying in the street; he was pronounced dead at the scene.

After a brief search, Thompson was found hiding in the bushes near where her vehicle, which has not been publicly identified, had been abandoned. She was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run drunk driving.

This is the 43rd confirmed traffic-related cycling fatality so far this year, and the 10th in San Diego County; one other cyclist was killed in a shooting this year. It is also the third fatal hit-and-run death of a cyclist in SDC this year, and the second in which the driver was known to be intoxicated.

Thanks to David Huntsman for the heads-up.

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