Tag Archive for Patricia Ann Izquieta

Izquieta pleads guilty in OC drugged hit-and-run death; Jay Slater elected chair of BAC

Riverside resident Patricia Ann Izquieta has pleaded guilty in the 2009 death of cyclist Donald Murphy in Newport Beach.

According to KPCC 89.3 – which describes Izquieta as “drug-addled” at the time of the collision — she changed her initial not-guilty plea to admit to charges of felony hit-and-run with death or permanent injury, felony manslaughter while intoxicated and misdemeanor driving without a valid license.

And for that, she is expected to receive a whopping three years in prison — despite being under the influence of several prescription medications at the time of the collision.

On the other hand, Murphy, who spent much of his spare time working with recovering addicts in halfway houses, received the death penalty for the crime of riding a bike on a public street.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad there was a conviction in this case, and that justice was done.

But sometimes justice stinks.

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In a surprising move, Jay Slater is elected Chair of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee by a one-vote margin after calling for better outreach to LADOT, the mayor and City Council committee heads; former Chair Glenn Bailey is unanimously elected Vice Chair.

Glenn has done a great job as Chair over the last few years, raising the profile of the BAC and helping restore it to it’s legitimate place as the leading voice for cyclists in L.A. government. Regardless of last night’s vote, he deserves the thanks of the city’s cyclists for a job well done; if you’ve noticed improvement in how we’re treated on the streets and in City Hall, he deserves a lot of the credit.

And congratulations to Jay Slater, who is well-respected in L.A. cycling circles and well-connected to city leadership. Here’s hoping he can build on Glenn’s work and take the BAC to the next level.

I know, like and respect both men. If they can work well together as leaders of the BAC, it should be an unstoppable combination.

Thanks to Christopher Kidd for live tweeting the meeting. Meanwhile, Chris also reports on last week’s meeting of the BAC Bikeways Subcommittee.

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People for Bikes urges everyone to help double their membership by inviting a friend to take the pledge. So I’m asking you. If you haven’t signed up yet, take 30 seconds to do it right now; you could win a free Timbuk2 messenger bag.

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America’s rising bike hero puts his first pro year on hold as Taylor Phinney pulls out of the Tour of Qatar due to tendonitis in his knee. I’ve had the privilege of riding with both his parents — not that they’d remember it — and word is that he’s better than both onboard a bike, which is saying something. And he seems to be a genuinely nice guy, which appears to run in the family.

Meanwhile, Floyd “I was lying then but seriously, I’m telling the truth now” Landis says he had to choose between cheating by doping and being cheated by dopers; the Amgen Tour of California says not on our watch. Alexandre Vinokourov says this will be his last year as a pro cyclist. And Aussie cyclist Jack Bobridge breaks Chris Boardman’s 15-year old world record in the 4 kilometer individual pursuit.

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A DC area writer says cyclists will follow the rules when the rules make more sense. Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magos responds that cyclists need to follow the rules and obey the traffic laws we have now.

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The L.A. City Council decides not to decide on a proposal for bus and bike-only lanes on Wilshire Blvd. Car-less Valley Girl offers great advice on what not to do when you ride a bike and why; seriously, read it already. REI Santa Monica is hosting a presentation on cycling California’s central coast by the extremely nice and knowledgeable Meghan Kavanagh. Joe Anthony of Bike Commute News writes a great piece on the history and importance of the Save A Cyclist campaign; it’s definitely worth reading — and not just because he quotes me. Good daily news report from L.A.’s 2nd Council District. I spent most of yesterday on Tuesday’s ride from the Ballona Creek outlet to L.A. City Hall hosted by Jared Blumenfield, West Coast Administrator for the EPA. The Valley Bikery celebrated the Grand Opening of their new storefront, with coverage by CicLAvia and Streetsblog’s Damien Newton. Speaking of CicLAvia, mark your calendar for April 11, July 10 and October 9. More on NIMBYist opposition to the proposed extension of the beachfront bike path in Venice, as well as a surprising supporter. Tim Robbins rides a bike in Santa Monica. Long Beach hosts a workshop on the city’s bike master plan Wednesday night, part of a series of upcoming meetings. The city also begins construction on separated bike lanes downtown; thanks to Frank Peters for the heads-up. The Claremont Cyclist examines differences in helmet use between lycra and denim clad riders.

San Diego-area Representative Duncan Hunter, recent recipient of his similarly named father’s hereditary seat, says getting San Diegans out of their cars is not feasible; way to think small, Congressman. Just Another Cyclist says California’s Mandatory Use Law really isn’t. Do SF cyclists consider new center lane sharrows too dangerous to use? A bicycling widow campaigns for safer roads for cyclists a year after his death.

Elly Blue says don’t be afraid to ride a bike, be afraid of what could happen if you don’t. A new $16 tool could save your next bent rim. A University of Arizona student has her first bike commuting collision, with another cyclist no less. Chicago’s leading mayoral candidate is an avid cyclist and bike supporter. Boston Biker astutely tells motorists cyclists are not the ones slowing them down. A columnist for the Boston Globe says if a little less car space is the price we have to pay to see women, children and the elderly pedaling the city’s streets, it’s worth it; thanks again to Frank Peters. John McCain — who I used to admire — has gone from maverick to whack job, insisting that not one federal dime be spend for bike parking at airports; God forbid some crazy person might actually want to ride to one instead of spending hours in backed-up traffic.

A Bahamian cyclist is murdered as witnesses report seeing a driver chase and intentionally run him down. No European-style strict liability for English cyclists; more on that topic soon. The BBC notes the rise of bike helmet cams; here’s a quick overview of some of the leading options. Town Mouse reports on the new Cycling Embassy of Great Britain after failing to get her Boris Bike account to work. Northern Ireland’s Assembly votes to reduce the rate of cycling in the province by requiring mandatory helmet use for all riders. In Copenhagen, parents are afraid to let their children ride because of speeding cyclists. Storming the beaches of Normandy by bike. The number one reason New Zealand is so shit for cyclists — the author’s words, not mine; personally, I think the #1 reason more people don’t ride is because we’re usually treated like #2. Ghost bikes may soon haunt Kiwi drivers; I’m a big supporter of ghost bikes, but what if we just didn’t kill any cyclists so they wouldn’t be necessary?

Finally, Cyclelicious points us towards this story about a new Jakarta bicycle track; maybe it’s just a bad translation, but I really, really like their promise to “sterilize the special track from other road users.” I don’t know what kind of disinfectant they use, but I want some.

Or I could just ride on the other side of the road. As long as it’s not this one.

Local bike cases slowly wind their way through the courts

Cyclist, attorney and court case correspondent Dj Wheels emailed today to catch us up on the current status of the all-too-many mostly bike-related cases winding their way through the local court system.

First up is the case of Patricia Izquieta, charged with the hit-and-run death of Don Murphy in Newport Beach last December.

Patricia A. Izquieta (Case #09HF2198) – Victim – Don Murphy

The Pretrial conference for April 16 was heard, but apparently the Preliminary Hearing which was scheduled for April 26 was cancelled and rescheduled. There is now a Pretrial conference scheduled for May 14 and the Preliminary Hearing for June 17.

She is charged with:

1) one felony count of hit and run with permanent and serious injury – CVC 20001(a)(b)(2)

2) a special allegation of inflicting great bodily harm, which is attached to the hit and run - Penal Code 12022.7(a)

3) one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence - Penal Code 192(c)(2)

4) one misdemeanor count of driving without a valid driver’s license - CVC 12500(a)

Next up is Marco Antonio Valencia, the hit-and-run driver who was reportedly high on alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana when he killed Joseph Novotny and injured three others.

Marco Antonio Valencia (Case # PA065011) – Victim – Joe Novotny & 3 other injured cyclists

There were pretrial conferences heard on March 23 and April 8 at the San Fernando Courthouse. Another pretrial conference was scheduled for May 18.

1) one felony count of murder with malice aforethought (2nd degree) – PC 187(a)

2) one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence – PC 191.5(a)

3) one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury - CVC 23153(a)

4) one felony count of driving with a BAC over .08 causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(b)

5) four felony counts of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

6) one felony count of driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a prior DUI – 14601.2

Robert Sam Sanchez is charged with the hit-and-run death of Rod Armas and seriously injuring his son Chris in Malibu during the L.A. Wheelmen’s Grand Tour last year.

Robert Sam Sanchez (Case # SA071910) – Victim – Rod Armas & Chris Armas injured

The Preliminary Setting conferences scheduled for March 11 and April 19 were both heard at the Malibu Courthouse. Another Preliminary Setting conference was scheduled for Friday May 7 at 1:30pm. What’s interesting is that the docket says, “VICTIMS WILL BE PRESENT TO MAKE STATEMENTS.” I called the DA’s office in Malibu to find out what this meant. Deputy McIlvain explained to me that May 7 is a Preliminary Setting Conference, and a disposition (plea bargain and sentencing) may be possible on that day. However, she is not allowed to disclose the terms of the offer for the plea at this point. If it is accepted, the case may reach a resolution that day, otherwise they’ll move forward with the Preliminary Setting conference to schedule a date for a Preliminary Hearing. I’m going to make my best effort to be there next Friday.

Charges are still the same as previously reported:

1) one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence – PC 191.5(a)

2) one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(a)

3) one felony count of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

Celine Mahdavi is charged with the West Hollywood hit-and-run (notice a common theme here?) that seriously injured professional cyclist Louis “Birdman” Deliz.

Celine Mahdavi (Case #SA073459) – Victim – Louis Deliz

Preliminary Setting conferences were heard on March 22 and April 23 at the Beverly Hills Courthouse. A date of June 11 was scheduled for the Preliminary Hearing.

Charges:

1) one felony count of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

2) one infraction count of a minor driving with a BAC over .01 – CVC 23136(a)

William Keith Square was arrested in the hit-and-run death of a still-unnamed cyclist in Carson earlier this month; at last report, authorities had not been able to locate the victim’s last address or next of kin.

William Keith Square (Case #TA11183201) – Victim – not named

On April 17, Square killed a cyclist in Carson with his car and left the scene. Luckily a witness wrote down his license plate # and Sheriffs arrested him at his home in Long Beach. The Inmate locater page says the arraignment is scheduled for May 5 at Compton Municipal Court. It also says that Mr. Square was arrested on April 18, assigned to permanent housing on April 24 at 4am, and then released from custody at 7:47 am. This is strange because usually it will also state the bail amount, but it doesn’t in this case. Bail for something like this should be something like $100,000, of which a bail bonds company usually asks for 10% to post bond for you.

Charges: (I haven’t seen the docket yet, but I’m assuming the charges are going to be these.)

1)one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence PC 191.5(a)

2) one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(a)

3) one felony count of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

Former state legislator Walter Karabian faces charges for assaulting an unnamed parking lot attendant with his car during a USC football game last fall.

Walter Karabian (Case #0EA00275) – unnamed parking lot attendant near USC campus

The Pretrial conferences for March 24 and April 23 were heard. At the last hearing, Karabian’s defense attorney, Joseph Gutierrez, was granted a motion for sanctions against Classic Parking for failure to provide subpoenaed documents. Classic Parking is to pay the defendant $500. Another Pretrial conference is scheduled for May 13 at the East L.A. courthouse.

Finally, no charges yet in the death of Bahati Foundation cyclist Jorge Alvarado, who came to this country to fulfill his lifelong dream of riding professionally, only to be killed when 18-year old Patrick Roraff allegedly lost control of his car while street racing.

Patrick Roraff (Case #?) – Victim – Jorge Alvarado

This 18 yr old man killed Jorge Alvarado of the Bahati pro cycling team on April 8 while street racing on Greenspot Road out in San Bernardino. According to the SB County Court online case info page, charges have still not been filed against Roraff.

Hopefully, the local authorities know that the cycling communities of two countries are watching this case closely; the comments in Spanish from the people who knew him are truly heartbreaking.

Special thanks to Dj Wheels for his amazing work in keeping us on top of these cases; if anyone needs a good young lawyer who knows bicycling, let me know.

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In better news, the jury in the case of the New York Critical Mass-bashing cop returned a verdict of guilty for filing a false criminal complaint, but acquitted him of misdemeanor assault.

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A former Republican candidate for Lt. Governor in Wisconsin offers a first-person account of an intentional attack by a truck driver; unclear is whether he was attacked for his politics or because he was on a bike.

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LACBC encourages you to say thanks to your yes-voting council member. USC’s Neon Tommy takes a look at Bikeside, which endorses Winograd for Congress. Stephen Box celebrates a successful campaign to get safe bike parking at the new police headquarters; on the other hand, UCLA’s bike lockers could use some work. Carless Valley Girl debates whether to ride bespectacled; always cover your eyes with something says the man who’s seen bees bounce off his lenses, among other things. You might want to stay off the road while the mayor’s girlfriend is on it.Cyclelicious talks to the producer of the upcoming Major Taylor biopic. A Long Beach intersection gets a road diet, creating more space for diners, walkers and bike racks. Ciclovia comes to San Diego starting tomorrow.

The mindset of the female bike commuter, who rides faster and looks better than the boys do. Biking in Chattanooga — no relation — directs your attention to an exceptional biking artist. The Maryland Senate passes five bike-friendly bills, including a three-foot passing law. The cross-country travelling, penta-biking Pedouins are approaching Portland. A Fort Myers FL ministry donates bikes to the homeless. A kosher Crown Heights bike loan shop turns to sales. NPR offers songs for the urban cyclist.

More doping rumors for pro cyclist Alejandro Valverde. After yet another London cyclist is killed, Mayor Boris calls for more stringent testing of drivers. What to do when you’re riding in Scotland and your wheel falls off. A new British motorists’ guide urges cyclists to claim the lane, while a leading bike group says cyclists could hold the key to the upcoming election. A bike racing Canadian novelist comes to the defense of Lycra with rants tips for cyclists. A day after Lexus announced their high-concept bike, Volkswagen unveils a folding electric prototype.

Finally, Bike Portland discovers, as many of us do sooner or later, that middle fingers do not lead to productive dialogue; I like the advice someone else gave him, “The peace sign only takes one more finger.”

I think I’ll have that tattooed on the back of my hand so I see it when I ride.

Will we see justice for Robert Painter and Ovidio Morales?

In the deepening gloom of an early December evening, a lone bicyclist waited amid the bustle of rush hour traffic to cross busy Laurel Canyon Blvd. in North Hollywood.

He used the crosswalk, whether for convenience or the greater safety he thought it would offer.

Traffic approaching in the right lane paused, allowing him to set out across the street. But a driver in a dark colored Jeep Cherokee speeding in the left lane blew past the stopped cars and plowed into the cyclist, then sped off, leaving 40-year old Robert Painter, a Canadian citizen who made his home in North Hollywood, laying broken and bloody in the street.

Despite the best efforts of paramedics and medical workers, he died in a local hospital after clinging to life for another 10 days.

Outraged by the callousness of the incident, a police detective reached out for the public’s help in solving the crime. Yet nearly four months later, no one has been arrested, no suspect is being sought, and any leads have long ago dried up.

According to sources at the LAPD, the case has been thoroughly investigated without suspect being identified.

The police have examined security video from a nearby gas station without success; even if it had captured the fleeing SUV, limited camera angles and poor lighting conditions would have prevented officers from being able to make out the license plate. And despite extensive press coverage, no significant leads were produced.

As a result, the case is currently classified as Investigation Continued; the detective in charge promises to pursue any leads as they come in.

So a murderer still roams free.

And he’s not the only one.

On the morning of February 15th, Ovidio Morales attempted to ride his bike across Compton Blvd in Compton.

As he did, the driver of a minivan reportedly blew through the red light while talking on his cell phone, striking the 34-year old father of five and dragging him beneath his car, in a crime captured by a nearby security camera.

The driver is then shown stopping and walking back to look at Morales laying in the street, then getting back in what witnesses described as a silver or gray 1990’s Ford van, possibly an Aerostar, and driving away.

Again, the video footage failed to identify a suspect; the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is offering a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to the apprehension and/or conviction of the person responsible.

Both Robert Painter and Ovidio Morales have been remembered by the cycling community.

But the best way we can honor them is to keep our eyes and ears open, and do whatever we can to bring their killers to justice.

Meanwhile, DJ Wheels forwards news that Patricia Ann Izquieta has pleaded not guilty in the hit-and-run death of Donald Murphy in Newport Beach last December.

According to prosecutors, Izquieta was on Methadone and Clonazapam when she struck Murphy from behind, dragging his bike under her car for over a mile before stopping; amazingly, Murphy’s family issued a statement shortly after his death forgiving her.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 26th.

If you have any information about the Painter case, contact Valley Traffic Division Detective Doug Larkin or Detective William Bustos at 818/644-8036 or 818/644-8020, respectively. Or you can call 1-877/LAPD-24-7 (1-877/527-3247) toll free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Anyone with information about the Morales case is urge to call Detective Michael Lennig at the Compton Sherriff’s Station, 310/605-6500 or 310/605-3516 and refer to Report No. 010-02521-2832-251.

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James Williamson, elite mountain biker and former solo 24-hour champion, died in his sleep while in South Africa yesterday. The 26-year old cyclist could not roused by his teammate the morning after completing the second stage of the Absa Cape Epic endurance cross-country race. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead; cause of death is undetermined pending an autopsy.

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The recently formed South Bay Bicycle Coalition is selected to create a bike plan for the seven-city South Bay region, with support from the LACBC. A near-90 degree wallride in Echo Park. The 5th annual Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer rolls this Sunday, with a killer loop around — or through — Mt. Washington, Silver Lake and Dodger Stadium. Evidently, I’m the new poster child for blocked bike lanes. Maybe what we need is a bike excise tax; I’m in if all the funds go toward bicycling (yeah, that’ll happen). It’s spring, when anti-veloism rears it’s ugly head. Crowdsourcing bike jerseys in Chicago. With a few more bike shops, Nashville could be just like Portland. Boise State hosts a Bicycle Congress focusing on a women’s perspective on bike commuting. A Baltimore rider says we need enforcement, not a three-foot law; I’ll take both, thank you. Carbon fiber — light, strong, sexy and keeping bike lawyers employed. The war on the car goes on, with a few small victories from the Resistance. A New Zealand writer ask why so many people hate Lycra these days. A former Aussie media mogul gives up cycling after undergoing emergency brain surgery following a bike accident. Cycling in non-London Britain declined over the last four years — except for a 27% increase in six demonstration cities. A new Brit bike lane is great, except that it’s not possible to ride in it. Cycling from the UK to the World Cup in South Africa with a big, fat mosquito-bit lip. Da Vinci’s rough-riding bike goes on display in Manchester.

Finally, keep carried objects away from your wheels, or you too could end up shocked and dazzled.

The bike court beat goes on

Christian Stoehr and Ron Peterson speak outside the courthouse following the Thompson conviction last November; at left is Josh Crosby, Patrick Watson is partially visible in back. Photo courtesy of Jared Shier.

Cyclist/Attorney DJ Wheels wrote the other day to provide updates on pending court cases involving cyclists.

First up is the case of an Orange County woman charged with striking and killing a 49-year old Irvine cyclist in an early morning collision on December 9th, then driving off, leaving a 300 yard pattern of debris — yet amazingly, was forgiven by the victim’s family.

Patricia A. Izquieta (Case #09HF2198) – Victim – Don Murphy

A hearing was held February 18 for arraignment, but no plea was entered yet and arraignment was continued to March 19 at the Santa Ana Courthouse.

She is charged with:

1) one felony count of hit and run with permanent and serious injury – CVC 20001(a)(b)(2)

2) a special allegation of inflicting great bodily harm, which is attached to the hit and run – Penal Code 12022.7(a)

3) one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence – Penal Code 192(c)(2)

4) one misdemeanor count of driving without a valid driver’s license – CVC 12500(a)

Next is the underage driver with a long list of priors who was charged with killing a Santa Clarita man and injuring three others in a drunken hit-and-run; tests showed that in addition to a blood alcohol level over twice the legal limit, he was also high on methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana at the time of the 11 am collision.

Marco Antonio Valencia (Case # PA065011) – Victim – Joeseph Novotny & 3 other injured cyclists

There was a pretrial conference and re-arraignment on January 22. Four separate counts for DUI — two counts of 23153(A) and two counts of 23153(B) — were dropped. I think the charges were initially filed separately for all the various substances that came up in the toxicology report. However, there are still two remaining DUI counts. He plead not guilty to all the charges in the amended complaint. Another pretrial conference is set for March 23 at the San Fernando Courthouse.

1) one felony count of murder with malice aforethought (2nd degree) – PC 187(a)

2) one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence – PC 191.5(a)

3) one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(a)

4) one felony count of driving with a BAC over .08 causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(b)

5) four felony counts of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

6) one felony count of driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a prior DUI – 14601.2

Then there’s the case of the Malibu driver who fled the scene after running down two riders nearing the end of the L.A. Wheelmen’s 200 mile Grand Tour; killing a father and critically injuring his son. The tragedy was compounded by reports that the driver wasn’t a bad guy, but made a fatal error by driving after drinking, and destroyed two families in the process.

Robert Sam Sanchez (Case # SA071910) – Victim – Rod Armas & Chris Armas injured

A preliminary setting was heard on February 11.  The court ordered a pre plea report pursuant to PC 1203.7.  Sanchez counsel consented to an pre plea interview, but the defendant may not be interviewed about the facts of the case.  The defendant was also ordered to the probation department and also ordered to appear at the next court date, which will be March 11 for another preliminary setting hearing at the Malibu Courthouse.

Charges are still the same as previously reported:

1) one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence – PC 191.5(a)

2) one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(a)

3) one felony count of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

In another case, the 18-year old driver who hit a cyclist in West Hollywood last December, causing “massive” injuries — including breaks to both hands and extensive facial injuries — fled the scene, but was arrested less than a half mile later; despite her age, she had a small amount of alcohol in her system at the time of her arrest.

Celine Mahdavi (Case #SA073459) – Victim – not named

This is the West Hollywood case, involving a young woman in a luxury SUV who made a left hook, seriously injuring a young male cyclist. Charges were filed in early February by the L.A. D.A.’s office:

1) one felony count of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

2) one infraction count of a minor driving with a BAC over .01 – CVC 23136(a)

Mahdavi entered a not guilty plea to both counts on Feb. 25. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for March 22 at the Beverly Hills Courthouse.

In a case that largely went under the radar, an Orange County driver was convicted on the same day the Christopher Thompson verdict was announced in the Mandeville Canyon case. He was accused of killing a 14-year old Huntington Beach boy riding to school in the bike lane on the opposite side of the street, while texting and under the influence of prescription drugs.

Jeffrey Francis Woods (Case #08ZF0040) – victim – Danny Oates

Woods was found guilty by a jury after a 16 day trial.  He was sentenced to 6 years state prison, 3 years license revocation and ordered to pay restitution for:

1) one felony count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated – PC 191.5(a)

However, according to the OC Superior Court website, the status of this case is listed as “APPEAL.”  Woods is still in custody.

He also includes an update on one strange, non-bike-related case involving a 71-year old former state legislator who ran over a USC parking attendant after being denied entry last December because he didn’t have the proper parking permit.

Walter Karabian (Case #0EA00275)

Apparently Karabian was trying to enter a lot for which he didn’t have the appropriate parking permit, and ended up hitting the parking attendant with his car, causing some minor injuries. Sheriff responded and arrested him; he was later released on $30,000 bail.

The D.A. rejected it for felony charges and gave it to the City Attorney, but they recused themselves due to a conflict of interest, and handed it back to the D.A. for misdemeanor consideration. Turns out Karabian has a son who is currently a deputy C.A. at the Metro Traffic Court on Hill St.

A single misdemeanor count for assault with a deadly weapon – PC 245(A)(1) was filed in early January at the East Los Angeles Courthouse by the D.A’s office. A motion was filed last month to have the case removed from the initial judge, Elaine Lu, because she might be prejudiced in this case, and the case is now before Judge Henry Barela in Dept. 7. On Feb. 18, Karabian’s defense attorney entered his plea of not guilty on his behalf; this is allowed in most misdemeanor cases. There is a pretrial hearing set for March 24, 2010.

The elder Karabian is a former deputy district attorney, former State Assemblyman and current named partner of a law firm in Monterey Park.

He concludes with the current status of two recently convicted prisoners — the driver accused of the intoxicated hit-and-run death of a Mexican immigrant in Echo Park last April, and the emergency room physician sentenced to 5 years in prison for intentionally injuring two cyclists in Mandeville Canyon on July 4th, 2008.

Alejandro Hidalgo (Case #BA35559301) – Victim – Jesus Castillo

According to the Sheriff’s Inmate locator page, Hidalgo was transferred to Wasco State Prison on January 26, 2010 after pleading guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence – PC 191.5(b).  The two year state prison sentence he received in his plea bargain is the middle-term sentence available for this charge.

Christopher T. Thompson (Case #SA06829701) – Victim – Ron Peterson and Christian Stoehr

According to the Sheriff’s Inmate locator page, Thompson was also transferred to Wasco State Prison on January 28, 2010.

Thanks to DJ Wheels for his amazing efforts to keep us up to date on all these cases — it’s a lot of work, and very much appreciated.

On a personal note, some people have questioned why I focus on negative aspects of cycling like the cases noted above. The answer is simple. I feel there’s a need to shine a spotlight on crimes like these in order to do whatever we can to ensure that they don’t happen again. And I feel we have an obligation to the victims to make sure that justice is done and that they are not forgotten.

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Streetsblog plans a fundraiser next month honoring winners of this year’s Streetsie awards. A Sacramento cyclist is killed when he “somehow” gets caught beneath a bus; yeah, like that sort of thing just happens. Three thousand riders take part in a soggy Colnago Gran Fondo in San Diego. A great manifesto on feminist cycling. Trek thinks you might confuse their bikes with their with an unrelated winery. Denver prepares to kick off what they call the nation’s first city-wide bike share program, and uses stimulus funds to close gaps in their bikeway system — and they place sharrows on medium to high volume streets, rather than quiet streets where they aren’t needed. Can private businesses cut the locks of bikes parked in the public right-of-way? 1936 sounds a lot like 2010, at least as far as bikes are concerned. Eight months of riding culminates with a final leg from Guadalajara to Playa Real; the photos alone are worth a look. Cyclelicious covers the prologue of this year’s Paris – Nice race, Boom gets off to a good start while Team Sky’s Henderson takes the first stage. The Scheck brothers may leave Saxo Bank to form their own team — and take Cancellara with them. After being denied a chance to take it, a 10-year old girl with cerebral Palsy passes Britain’s Bikeability test. The first of new bike superhighways sponsored by London’s mayor don’t exactly get glowing reviews. Did Germany send the Hitler Youth as to pre-war Britain as “spyclists?” Evidently, British cycling engineers don’t ride bike routes before they select them, either. Looking at the Japanese love affair with electric bikes. A new Dutch system paces cyclists at the correct speed to avoid red lights.

Finally, L.A’s Downtown News reports on the efforts of bike messengers to fight back again bike thieves, including the infamous — and now confirmed — report of stripping two teenaged alleged rim thieves to their underwear and donating their clothes to a homeless shelter.

Bike cases fill the dockets — Dr. Thompson was just the beginning

As Bob Mionske noted in the Times last week, the Thompson case does not represent a sea change for cyclists.

It was just one case, with unique circumstances. Like driver who admitted trying to “teach them a lesson.” A car with a unique, memorable license plate. And at least three other cyclists who could testify to similar incidents involving the same car, and the same driver.

Not to mention a police department that took it seriously — which isn’t always the case.

Unfortunately, it’s also just the tip of the iceberg.

As cyclist/attorney DJ Wheels pointed out recently, while Thompson got 5 years for intentionally injuring two cyclists, Alejandro Hidalgo got just two years for getting drunk and killing Jesus Castillo, then fleeing the scene.

Call me crazy, but on my balance sheet, Intoxication + Death + Running Away outweighs Intent + Injury. Even if it wasn’t the first time.

And that’s just the first of at least 10 other cases involving cyclists working their way through the investigative and legal process in the L.A. area.

Like Teri Hawkins, for instance.

She reportedly ran a stop sign before striking a cyclist, knocking him 30 feet through the air. The 40-year old Simi Valley resident turned herself in to the police 4 days after the hit-and-run collision that resulted in “major injuries” to the 26-year old rider, who has not been publicly identified.

After pleading no contest to hit-and-run with injury (CVC 2001a), her request for probation was denied and she was sentenced to 16 months in state prison last week, with credit for 76 days time served. Hawkins was also ordered to pay restitution, with a hearing scheduled for Tuesday in the San Fernando courthouse.

Wheels notes that turning herself in may have been a mitigating factor in the relatively low sentence — although it should be noted that her conscience seemed to kick in after her car had been located and impounded by the police.

Wheels also provided an update on the status of some of the other cases:

The preliminary setting for Robert Sam Sanchez — the driver accused of killing Rod Armas and seriously injuring his son Christian on PCH in Malibu last June — has been continued for the third time.

Sanchez was arrested shortly after fleeing the collision, which took place near the completion of the L.A. Wheelmen’s 200-mile Grand Tour Double Century. The preliminary setting, held prior to a preliminary hearing, is now scheduled for February 11 in the Malibu Courthouse. Sanchez has pled not guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (Section 191.5a of the California Penal Code) as well as driving under the influence (CVC 23152a) and failure to stop after an accident involving an injury (CVC 20001a).

Rod’s sister-in-law reported last summer that Christian was doing well physically, though making it clear that the family was struggling with his loss. And an acquaintance of Sanchez noted that he was not a bad person, despite a drunken decision to get behind the wheel that has forever changed two families.

Mark Antonio Valencia was high on drugs and alcohol when he mowed down five cyclists in Santa Clarita on the morning of July 11, killing Joseph Novotny and seriously injuring two others. Valencia, who was driving his sister’s car without a license after two prior DUI convictions — as well as multiple arrests for drug and alcohol possession, selling tear gas and obstructing officers — had already been reported to authorities before the collision; unfortunately, sheriff’s deputies couldn’t catch up to him in time.

DJ Wheels reports that Valencia is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in the San Fernando courthouse on January 22. Valencia is still being held on $1.3 million bail, charged with 13 criminal counts including murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run and several DUI charges.

In a very personal case, the driver who threatened a group of cyclists, resulting in injuries to Wheel’s new wife, will be arraigned on January 26.

On January 28, the driver accused of injuring local cycling advocate Roadblock in a hit-and-run collision is scheduled for a pretrial hearing.

A February 3 hearing has been scheduled for four men charged with attempting to rob a female cyclist by striking her in the face with a baseball bat.

Meanwhile, the investigation continues into the hit-and-run that sent community leader Ed Magos to the hospital on January 6. Despite driving off and leaving another human splayed on the pavement unable to move, the driver was not arrested when she turned herself in later; no charges have yet been filed.

No word yet on the status of Patricia Ann Izquieta, who was arrested for the hit-and-run death of Donald Murphy in Irvine last month. Or whether any charges will be filed in the death of Gustavo Ramirez in Long Beach on the 5th. It doesn’t sound likely, though, since initial police statements seemed to blame Ramirez; the Press-Telegram reports on last weekend’s ride in his honor.

And there’s still no word of an arrest in the hit-and-run death of Robert Painter, the cyclist killed while riding in a crosswalk in North Hollywood last month. Fittingly, the driver is likely to face murder charges once an arrest is made.

……..

Controversy over plans for a bikeway near JPL. Travelin’ Local maps L.A. by bike. A North County San Diego paper questions whether current criminal penalties are strong enough when cars hit bikes; a drunk cyclist unwittingly volunteers as a test case. Another rider is killed in the nation’s most deadly state for cycling; Transit Miami examines why it happened there. Austin’s planned bike boulevard hits some bumps. Anchorage holds a very frosty bike race. A Colorado town revives the legendary Morgul Bismark stage from the Red Zinger/Coors Classics. German pro Matthias Kessler suffered a serious brain injury after a cat runs in front of his bike. London residents question traffic calming and bikeway plans. Lance has won seven tours; World Champ Cadel Evans says he’s only lost five.  Bikeways to the sailing venues for the 2012 Olympics could use some improvement. Scotland awards over $1.2 million to promote cycling in Edinburgh. The UK promotes child cycling through the new Bike Club. An Indian Nobel Laureate and confirmed cyclist says cars set a bad example, while a Danish politician says bikes are the obvious solution. Finally, the Trickster did indeed say it first — Michael Vink is a rising rider to keep an eye on.

And a woman walks into a bike shop

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