Tag Archive for Milton Everett Olin Jr

Weekend Links: Is the LA County Sheriff’s Department trying to hide the results of the Milt Olin investigation?

So what, exactly, are they trying to hide?

It’s standard practice in public relations that when you want to hide something bad news, you release it on a Friday afternoon where it can get lost on the weekend news cycle. And when you really want to hide something, you release it on a Friday just before a three-day holiday weekend.

That’s exactly what the LA County Sheriff’s Department did today.

The department has been highly criticized for investigating their own deputy in the December death of cyclist Milt Olin, rather than turn it over to independent investigators from the CHP, which usually handles traffic fatalities for the LASD.

Now, after sitting on the news for over a week, they finally announced that the results of their foot-dragging investigation into the former Napster executive and entertainment lawyer’s death were turned over to the DA’s office for evaluation on May 15th.

Why it took over five months to conduct an investigation that probably wouldn’t have taken five days if it was an average citizen behind the wheel is anyone’s guess. Let alone why the announcement wasn’t made last week, unless they were deliberately attempting to time it for the holiday weekend.

The incredibly cryptic announcement doesn’t offer a clue as to the results of the investigation, leading many in the cycling community to suspect the department may be attempting to cover-up its own culpability in Olin’s death. And hoping we won’t notice.

Good luck with that.

I’ve heard from a number of riders since the news broke late Friday afternoon, all of whom suspect something fishy is going on. And virtually all of whom question why the LASD chose to investigate itself, knowing the results would be held in doubt unless they unexpectedly come down hard on the department itself.

And yes, I’m told the CHP was more than willing to step in to assist or take over the investigation, but were never asked.

Meanwhile, the Times cites the coroner’s report as saying Olin appeared to be wearing earphones connected to an iPhone, which would be in violation of state law permitting an earpiece to be used in one ear only.

What bearing that could possibly have in the investigation is highly questionable, unless they’re trying to make a case that Olin should have somehow been able to avoid the patrol car that drifted into the bike lane and ran him down from behind.

Even eyes in the back of his head, let alone perfect hearing, probably wouldn’t have helped in that case.

The paper also notes that the Sheriff’s Department has publicly apologized to Olin’s family. As well they should.

But what they really owe them, and us, is an open and honest investigation, rather than a five month cone of silence followed by deliberately trying to bury the press release when it was most likely to go unnoticed.

On the later, they failed miserably.

On the former, the jury is still out. If it ever gets to one.

Thanks to everyone who reached out to me about this story.

………

The US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offer a new animated bike safety video; Copenhagenize’s Mikael Colville-Andersen says it was made by people who hate bicycling.

Seriously? Seems pretty innocent to me.

………

You’ll find a free bike valet at the annual Fiesta Hermosa in Hermosa Beach, which makes biking along the beach by far the best way to get there.

I’ll try to catch up on updating the Calendar over the weekend.

………

This weekend marks the US Cycling Pro National Championships in Chattanooga TN.

Cycling scion Taylor Phinney is a favorite, but can we please stop calling him the next big thing and/or the future of American cycling and just let him prove himself on the race course, or not, as the case may be?

………

Local

Great news on the Westside, as the popular San Vicente bike lanes are being extended through Brentwood. I rode through there myself on Friday, and even unfinished, it feels a lot more comfortable than the usual Friday traffic madhouse.

A Burbank resident writes a paean to the Chandler bikeway.

More on the planned Downey Bicycle Master Plan, which plans to borrow ideas from nearby Long Beach. Good ones, I hope.

 

State

Red Kite Prayer looks at the recent Campy Gran Fondo San Diego.

CalBike lobbies the state legislature for protected bikeways and a vulnerable user law.

Merced police pitch in to buy a cerebral palsy patient a new bike after his is stolen.

This one definitely wins the prize for California’s best named bike tour. Welcome to the Tour de Manure.

Pedal Love’s Melissa Balmer says bike style has the power to capture the imagination.

 

National

The hit-and-run epidemic spreads to Seattle, as a bike rider suffers serious injuries while the cowardly driver flees the scene.

Denver’s mayor leads cyclists on a test ride of the city’s first protected bike lane.

The popularity of Chicago’s bike-friendly mayor sinks to just 29%, evidently because voters don’t like bike lanes.

Jersey City moves some bike lanes to the left side on one-way streets.

A speeding New Orleans driver is indicted on negligent homicide and negligent injury charges for killing an Atlanta firefighter in town for an Ironman competition and injuring another rider. Apparently they’re taking this case seriously, since he was taken into custody on a total of $600,000 bond.

After a North Carolina bike rider confronts a cop to deny running a red light, the officer takes him down, breaking his arm in the process.

 

International

A Montreal letter writer insists roads are for cars and bikes don’t belong there. So there.

A UK motorcyclist riding in a bike lane knocks down a bicyclist, then blames the victim before posting video of the incident online — which clearly shows his mirror clipping the rider’s arm.

Bike Radar profiles the essential kit for bike commuting. Yes, tires are essential; the rest, maybe not as much.

A Sydney newspaper calls a study showing bike lanes carried the same amount of traffic as the lanes next to them a two-wheeled fraud.

A Thai driver walks with a one year probation and a 10,000 Bhat fine — the equivalent of just $307 — for killing two bike riding British tourists on an around the world tour. I’d like to say life is cheap there, but I’ve seen just as bad right here in the US.

 

Finally…

A North Carolina TV station says Chapel Hill police seek expensive bike thief. So how much are bike thieves going for these days? And after an Alabama truck driver idiotically posts videos online showing himself threatening cyclists, he’s arrested on a charge of reckless endangerment; needless to say, other idiots rush to his defense.

 

Update — bike rider killed in wreck with Sheriff’s patrol car

Word is just coming in that yet another bike rider has lost his life on Mulholland.

And this time, the police may be fault.

According to KCBS-2, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding in the bike lane on the 22000 block of Mulholland Highway in Calabasas around 1:05 pm today when he was hit by a Sheriff’s Department patrol car. Calabasas Patch reports that both the victim and the patrol car were traveling in the same direction, suggesting the rider was struck from behind.

The sheriff’s deputy behind the wheel was reportedly on routine patrol and not responding to an emergency call; a sheriff’s spokesman said speed was not a factor in the crash.

However, the driver was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor lacerations to his face and eye due to broken class from the impact, suggesting a significant impact. No explanation was given for why the driver apparently entered the bike lane to hit the cyclist; drug or alcohol use was not suspected as a factor.

This is the 82nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 34th in Los Angeles County; that compares with 71 in the seven-county SoCal region and 21 in LA County this time last year. And this was at least the fourth cyclist to lose his life on Mulholland Hwy in the last four years.

My deepest sympathy for the victim and his loved ones.

Thanks to Carlos Morales, Danny Gamboa, sonofabike and John McBrearty for the heads-up.

Update: KABC-7 has just identified the victim as 65-year old Milton Everett Olin Jr. of Woodland Hills; a well-known attorney in the entertainment field. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LASD Malibu/Lost Hills Station at 818/878-1808.

Meanwhile, the Ventura County Star reports that Olin’s bike somehow hit the patrol car, rather than the other way around — despite obvious damage to the car’s windshield. The LA Times confirms the car’s windshield was broken, making it virtually impossible for the rider to have struck the car if they were both traveling in the same direction. 

Update 2: KTLA-5 reports Olin and the patrol car were both traveling east on Mulholland Hwy when the collision occurred.

The Times fills in Olin’s work history, noting that he was Chief Operating Officer at Napster from 2000 to 2002, at a time when the file-sharing service was under fire from the music industry for enabling piracy, and forced to liquidate in bankruptcy court. 

He’d been a practicing attorney since graduating from UCLA Law School in 1975, and worked as vice president of business development for A&M Records — which was chiefly responsible for the lawsuit that led to Napster’s bankruptcy. He also served briefly as the senior vice president for business development for Firstlook.com before joining Napster.

The Star has corrected their story that repeatedly blamed the victim for the collision in a later report, although they’ve left the initial biased story online; thanks to Lois for the tip.

Update 3: Too often, we never learn anything about the victims of bicycling collisions, or the pain their loss leaves behind. But in this case, both the LA Times and KNBC-4 fill in the blanks with nice reports on a man who loved his family and riding his bike.

Although it does not build more confidence in the investigation to know the lead investigator in the case took yesterday off. Or that I’m told the CHP was willing to conduct an independent investigation, but wasn’t asked.

Meanwhile, a reader forwards an email exchange with the editor of the Ventura County Star in which he complained about the bias in the initial report. And received a very nice response promising to look into the matter — which resulted in the updated report correcting the misinformation, as well as changes to the initial story.

Too often, complaints like that get ignored. So let’s give credit to VC Star editor John Moore for doing the right thing.

Update 4: The LA Sheriff’s Department offers an apology, but doesn’t accept responsibility.

Update 5: The Daily News identifies the Sheriff’s Deputy who killed Olin on as a 16-year veteran from the Malibu/Lost Hills station, despite a lack of confirmation from the department. The collision is still under investigation; two weeks later, investigators still haven’t spoken to all the witnesses. 

%d bloggers like this: