Big news on the legal front.
According to courtroom reports from cyclist and attorney Dj Wheels, Dominique Rush, the driver charged with the hit-and-run death of 17-year old cyclist Alex Romero, will spend the next few years behind bars.
Wheels, who was in the courtroom for today’s preliminary hearing, reports the 23-year old Rush entered a plea of No Contest to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run.
Her father, Steven Rush, also entered a plea of No Contest to being an accessory after the fact for his efforts in helping his daughter cover-up her crime.
Romero was riding north along De Soto Avenue with a friend on the night of April 20th when he was struck by a speeding car near the intersection with Valerio Street. The driver, later identified as Rush, reportedly tried to pass another vehicle on the right, striking Romero’s bike from behind and killing him instantly before speeding off without stopping or slowing down.
That began a months-long investigation in which the police soon identified Rush as the suspect, but were unable to find the 2003 Toyota Corolla she’d been driving at the time.
According to the police, that difficulty was due, at least in part, to her father’s efforts. As KNBC-4 reported at the time of the arrest,
“The father went way beyond taking care of his child,” said Capt. Ivan Minsal of LAPD Valley Traffic Division. “He concealed the information. He concealed the car that his daughter, the driver, was driving.”
Now they’ll both have to pay for their crimes.
Wheels reports that Dominique will be sentenced to two years and eight months in prison on March 6th, while her father will receive 10 days in jail, along with 30 days on a Caltrans road crew.
I hope he works on a roadway where he’ll have to watch a lot of cyclists go by.
And yes, that sentence is a relative slap on the wrist for running down another human being and leaving him to die in the street where he fell. Maybe someday someone can explain to me how anyone could do that to another person.
Anyone with a heart, anyway.
But it may be the best prosecutors could do under the circumstances.
The fact is, this is one case the police didn’t give up on. Maybe it was pressure from the cycling community. Or maybe it was dedication to their jobs, and a commitment to keep going until they had the guilty party behind bars.
The LAPD investigators in charge of this case kept at it long after they could have given up and pushed it off the back burner. And long after many of us had given up on this case.
That they didn’t says a lot about them.
And the gratitude we all owe them on Alex’ behalf.
Wheels reports that his aunt Matilda addressed the court, saying Alex was a precious gift from God, and asking Dominique to repent. He says Dominique cried during the aunt’s comments, while Steven was tearful but composed.
I’m sure they’ll shed more tears in the days and years to come.
But it won’t begin to compare with the tears that have already been shed by Romero’s family and friends.
A couple other notes from Dj Wheels.
He reports that Jeffrey Ray Adams, the road raging driver charged with intentionally cutting off a cyclist in Santa Monica — then ranting about it as the camera rolled — had a preliminary hearing last Friday. The court found there was enough evidence to take the case before a jury; he’ll have a felony arraignment in a couple of weeks.
And a restitution hearing was held Tuesday in the case of Jaclyn Andrea Garcia, the underage driver charged with nearly killing cyclist Adam Rybicki last April when she collided with a group of Sunday morning riders while still drunk from the night before.
She may have gotten off with a slap on the wrist at her sentencing. But the judge lowered the boom in assigning restitution, ordering Garcia to pay $16,162,239.24.
Yes, that’s 16 million, one-hundred-sixty-two-thousand, two-hundred-thirty-nine dollars. And twenty-four cents change.
On top of that, she was ordered to pay 10% annual interest until the amount is paid in full.
Although I suspect they might be willing to write off that last 24 cents.
Which means that unless she’s phenomenally successful, Garcia will likely be working for the Rybickis for the remainder of her life. And that is a heavy price to pay for a night of youthful stupidity.
Yet it doesn’t begin to make up for what Garcia has put Adam Rybicki and his family through.
Speaking of Adam, Jim Lyle sends word that he continues to make slow, steady progress in recovery from his injuries. And that he’s back on a bike — even if it is a stationary bike in rehab.
That’s a lot more than most of us would have expected — or even dared to hope — just nine months ago. He’s clearly one tough, determined guy, with a support circle that refuses to give up.
I hope you’ll join me in offering my best wishes and prayers for Adam and his family for a full recovery.
In addition to the state prison sentence, Dominique will be ordered to pay restitution to the family of Alex Romero. A separate hearing will be held to determine the amount of restitution. Her attorney indicated that she did have insurance and a claim would be made through them in order to cover some of the costs.
2 years 8 months for a young Soccer Players Life? It appears to me the Courts are showing us that if you stay and take responsibility for a mistake large or small you will do more time then if you run, hide, and are later found. Where is the deterrent in this type of Cowardly Action. Where is the Punishment for costing Tax Payers a lot of money to Investigate, Search, and Close this Case? Had she stayed she could have given a Statement and saved everyone in this City a lot of money. How long must a Parent wait to find out what happened to their Child?
As for the Father and him being Responsible Teacher to his Daughter. I think his Incarceration should be longer then hers.
What he did was absolutely disgusting. I have no respect for his Actions when learning of the mistake his Daughter made. Why are we not holding him more Accountable?
This is a disgrace to everyone who accepts Responsibility for their Actions.
This is absolutely disgusting. 10 days in jail?? REALLY? You get more for minor offenses. The dirtbag daughter should rot in prison and the father should get years in state prison not 10 days in jail and *&@#^*&@ing Caltrans work.
I love the added $0.24 on that restitution amount. And the credit-card level of interest charged.
Glad to hear Adam is making progress, good for him! Definitely sending positive thoughts his way.
And it’s good to hear that Jaclyn is facing some consequences, though I’d be happier if it were jail for life…
That girl is still not 21 yet and is drunk alomost every night of the week!!! Where is her probation officer??? and why would she continuously post pictures of herself and friends drinking alcohol on her facebok and instagram accounts if she were truely “sorry” for what she has done to Adam? SMH!
In addition to the time, and the restitution, convicted manslaughter hit-and-runners should be memorialized on the web. Frequent re-postings and Google search bombs to ensure that their name will always return the conviction report at the top of search results.
Although Jaclyn Garcia surrendered on October 6, 2011 to begin serving her sentence of 365 days in County Jail, it appears her projected release date is March 27, 2012 according to the Sheriff’s Inmate locator page, which would be roughly half of her sentence.
[…] of the Department’s record on hit and run crashes, we do know they hate cover-ups. It was just two years ago that a father got a small measure of jail time for hiding his daughter’s killing of a […]