Tag Archive for vehicular manslaughter

100-plus mph, underage drunk driver gets four years for 2014 death of bicyclist Haytham Gamal

Four years.

Four years behind bars for driving at speeds over 100 mph in a 35 mph zone, with a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit.

And taking the life of an innocent man as he rode his bike home from work on Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point, after losing control on a slight curve and skidding 200 feet before striking the victim from behind. Then dragging him another 500 feet before flipping over after hitting the curb.

Needless to say, the victim, 39-year-old Haitham Gamal, was pronounced dead at the scene.

All because he had the misfortune of sharing the road with then 19-year old Dominic Devin Carratt that tragic April night in 2014.

Carratt pleaded guilty last month to A) one count of felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, B) one count of felony driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, and C) one count of felony driving with a blood alcohol of .08 percent or more causing bodily injury, along with a sentencing enhancement for great bodily injury.

Yet even though the victim’s wife implored the court to give him the maximum 10-year sentence, the judge showed leniency, deserved or not.

I’m told he imposed a sentence of four years in state prison for the first count, another two years for the second count, to be served concurrently, and stayed an additional two years for the third count.

Carratt will also be required to pay restitution in an amount to be determined at a later date, and his driver’s license will be suspended for three years after his release.

Though why he would ever be allowed to drive again is beyond me.

A woman in the courtroom for the sentencing noted that Carratt’s mother gave him a long, tearful embrace as he walked to the front of the courtroom.

It may be a long time before she gets another chance.

Thanks to Edward M. Rubinstein for the heads-up. 

Dominic Carratt sentence

 

Morning Links: Glendale bike rider attacked by SUV driver, and guilty plea in 100 mph Orange County DUI case

It’s happened again.

A woman riding her bike in Glendale is the latest bike rider to be the victim of an apparent intentional assault by the road raging driver of a motor vehicle.

The 29-year old woman, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was riding on San Fernando Road near Magnolia Ave around 4:40 pm last Friday when the driver of an SUV allegedly pulled up next to her and swerved into her bike, striking her ankle.

After the victim yelled that she’d been hit, the driver yelled something back and swerved into her again, nearly crushing the rider between the SUV and a parked car after she turned her bike to avoid getting hit.

Police arrested 53-year old Glendale resident Nazik Ghazarian on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon; she was taken into custody after another driver blocked her car while bystanders called police.

Meanwhile her legally blind husband, who was riding with her in the SUV, told police Ghazarian did nothing to “agitate” the cyclist.

The victim reported pain in her ankle, but declined treatment at the scene.

After all, who would get agitated over a little thing like multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon?

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The OC Register reports 20-year old Dominic Devin Carratt faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to the DUI death of cyclist Haitham Gamal as the victim was riding home from work in April, 2014.

In a horrifying detail that wasn’t reported at the time, Carratt was going over 100 mph when he slammed into Gamal’s bike; he had a BAC nearly twice the legal limit, despite being just 19-years old at the time of the wreck.

According to the paper, he pled to a long list of charges.

Carratt pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit causing bodily injury and he admitted a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury.

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Pro cycling’s governing body considers testing team bikes before each race to prevent motor doping. They should also stop the practice of allowing riders to switch bikes mid-race, which is the easiest way to get, and hide, a tampered bike.

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Local

The LA City Council Transportation Committee will consider a motion directing LADOT to report on the implementation of the bicycle infrastructure in the City at this afternoon’s meeting. Based on recent progress, that could be a very short report.

Several dozen protesters associated with T.R.U.S.T. South Los Angeles gathered on Central Ave to fight a proposal from Councilmember Curren Price to remove the street from the Mobility Plan. Someone should tell Price not to judge a bikeway by what he’d be comfortable using; not everyone is looking for a quiet place to ride with their grandkids.

The maker of Lucky Brand jeans offers their own private bikeshare system for employees of their offices in DTLA.

High-end British bikewear maker Rapha pops up on Abbot Kinney for the next two months.

Caltrans presents alternatives to replace the Trancas Creek bridge on PCH in the ‘Bu; both versions include a wider shoulder to make room for bikes and pedestrians.

A Pasadena bike rider is in serious condition after he was hit head-on by a driver who veered onto the wrong side of the road.

Temple City will select a final design for Las Tunas Road at the city council meeting on Thursday; make your voice heard to ensure they choose the safest option for cyclists and pedestrians.

 

State

A group of Olympic cyclists and hopefuls, including the great Kristin Armstrong, urged middle school students in El Cajon to believe in themselves. And have fun.

A Berkeley OpEd says the city needs to work to provide greater safety for bicyclists.

More bad news from Sacramento, as a second bike rider has been killed in a collision this week.

 

National

A Portland study says a good bikeway network helps riders avoid dirty air.

Las Vegas’ coming bikeshare system will be just part of a new transportation innovation district in the downtown area.

Wyoming considers creating a committee to study a network of bike and pedestrian paths crossing the state. Having crisscrossed the state many times, safe bikeways through the mountains and prairies of the state would be absolutely amazing; you haven’t lived until you’ve ridden with a herd of wild antelope running alongside you.

The Kentucky state senate approves a three-foot passing bill, including a provision allowing drivers to cross the center line to pass cyclists, even in no passing zones, similar to the one vetoed by Governor Brown a few years ago.

Residents of Hoboken would rather double park than make room for bike lanes.

Jimmy Fallen is one of us, as he cruises sans skid lid through the Hamptons on a $6,000 fat bike.

A Savannah GA writer credits recent bike lanes with the city’s jump in bike commuting rates, but fears they’ve reached peak bike with no more bikeways on the agenda.

 

International

Road.cc offers a roundup of a number of new bikes from top makers, including a Look time trial bike that would be perfect for your morning commute.

If you build it, they will come. A Toronto study shows bicycling is up 300% on one street since a separated bike lane was installed; 38% of those riders didn’t use the street before the bike lane was built.

An exceptionally compassionate Canadian family urges the court to sentence a hit-and-run driver to probation instead of jail for the death of a bike rider.

A candidate for mayor of London says bicycling in the city is quite safe, even though he won’t let his own teenage daughters do it.

Social media blows up when an English rail station operator suggests a traveler and his family should just leave their bikes at home.

Britain’s leading bike retailer is accused of sexism for saying a men’s bike is great for riding on pavement or trails, while the women’s version is good for visiting Auntie Doris.

A South African cyclist is visiting all 19 of the country’s national parks, riding over 3,700 miles in 80 days to raise funds for orphaned rhinos. Meanwhile, a Durban DJ learns the hard way not to make fun of fallen cyclists on Facebook.

A 24-year old Chinese man who once walked across the US is planning to bike from San Francisco to China on a pilgrimage to “explore the ecological and spiritual awakening in the 21st century and the cultural landscape and the political economy of the global village, through the lens of China’s interconnectedness with the world.” Oh, well if that’s all.

 

Finally…

Bashing people and cars is not the correct use for a cable bike lock; then again, neither is locking your bike with one for more than a few minutes. Seriously, don’t stab someone if you think he stole your bike; at least that’s better than how they treat bike thieves in Bali, though.

And British police appear to be looking for a maniacal bike-borne pedestrian pusher with multiple personalities.

 

Breaking news: OC lawyer guilty in 2013 DUI death of cyclist Eric Billings

Word is just coming in that an Orange County attorney has been convicted in the DUI death of cyclist Eric Billings two years ago.

According to a press release from the OC District Attorney’s office, Hasti Fakhrai-Bayrooti pled guilty to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated on Tuesday.

The DA reports the 41-year old Rancho Santa Margarita woman had prescription drugs — including Xanax and Suboxone — in her system when she ran down Billings’ bike from behind on March 15, 2013, as he rode in a marked bike lane on Santa Margarita Parkway in Mission Viejo.

Fakhrai-Bayrooti was apparently unable to plead down to a lessor charge; she was convicted on the same count she was originally charged with, which is unusual in cases that don’t go to trial.

According to the press release, she is currently out on $100,000 bond, and faces up to four years in state prison when she is sentenced on May 8th.

She also faces possible removal from the state bar following her conviction; she has been an active member of the bar since 2005.

Thanks to Edward Rubinstein, and Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today for the head-up. (And apologies for misspelling Rubinstein’s name at first.)

 

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