Tag Archive for vehicular manslaughter

Driver in Arizona attack had long record of assault and DUI arrests, and killer Escondido driver gets 30 years — or less

Once again, the legal system did its best to keep a dangerous driver on the road until it was too late.

With predictably tragic results.

Authorities identified the driver who intentionally slammed into participants in a Master’s bike race in Show Low, Arizona on Saturday as 35-year old Show Low resident Shawn Michael Chock.

The AP reports Chock has a long criminal record, dating back to a 2007, when he pled guilty to a reduced charge after being indicted for aggravated assault, followed by disorderly conduct with a weapon a few months later.

Three years later, Chock was allowed to walk with probation after prosecutors dropped three DUI charges, allowing him to plead to a single count of felony aggravated DUI, as well as shoplifting and another aggravated assault.

He ended up serving 19 months behind bars anyway, after violating his probation.

Now seven innocent people are paying the price for that extreme leniency, with six of Chock’s victims still hospitalized in critical condition, and another in stable condition.

Chock himself is in critical condition after he was shot by police during a standoff following the crash.

Maybe someday our courts will take driving under the influence seriously, and put the public’s right to safety on the roads above the privilege — not right — of driving.

But sadly, not now. Or anytime soon.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels.

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This is why people keep dying on our streets.

Ex-con Jamison Connor was sentenced to nearly 30 years behind bars after pleading guilty to felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run in the death of 36-year-old mountain biker Kevin Lentz in Escondido two years ago.

Lentz was just below the entrance to the Daley Ranch Recreation Area when Connor rounded a blind curve at a high rate of speed, slamming into him head-on.

Yet despite a well-deserved sentence of 29 years and ten months, Connor could be out in just six years due to a quirk in California law, Prop 57, passed by voters in 2016, allows a prisoner to be considered for parole after completing the sentence for the primary offense if it was a nonviolent crime

Remarkably, Connor’s primary sentence of vehicular homicide is not considered a violent crime.

Although I’m sure Lentz and his loved ones would disagree.

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Cycling News went all in on Amazon Prime Day this year, with recommendations on the best bicycling deals, what Garmin deal to avoid and the ones you shouldn’t, and where else you can find good bike deals today.

Meanwhile, The National looks at the best Prime Day ebike deals.

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The Transport Workers Union of America reports that Metro Bike workers are trying to unionize.

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Crouching Tiger, Levitating Bicycle.

Apparently this was done by the construction crew so they could lay the new concrete without disturbing the bicycle.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the heads-up.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

No bias here. Oklahoma residents are fighting plans for a bike path through their neighborhood, trotting out the trope that bicycles and pedestrians don’t mix — even though they’d be on separate pathways — and fears that people on motorcycles or small cars would use the pathway. Which says a lot more about the mentality of Oklahoma residents and drivers than it does about bicycles.

But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly. 

Tasmanian police strongly recommend riding you bike on the bridge, not across the arches supporting it.

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Local

Tragic news from Compton, where a man was shot to death while riding a bicycle early Monday; no word on the identity of the victim, or how it happened.

Voting is underway for this year’s LA2050 Grants Challenge; CicLAvia is a finalist in the Play category, in addition to East Side Riders, as we mentioned yesterday.

 

State

The San Diego Reader accuses scooter companies of bullying, and says the tragic death of actress Lisa Banes raises safety concerns for the San Diego area, after she was killed by a hit-and-run e-scooter rider in New York. If they’re that worried about a single death caused by a scooter rider, just wait until they learn about cars and the people who drive them.

Santa Barbara is expanding its bikeshare system into the city’s Coastal Zone, after a successful introduction downtown earlier this year.

A Bakersfield TV station goes back to basics by explaining what an ebike is, as debate continues whether to allow them on the city’s Kern River Parkway Trail.

A Lodi man is preparing to spend the next few months riding across the US from San Francisco to Savannah, Georgia, to raise funds for five different charities.

A Sebastopol paper celebrates hometown boy Luke Lamperti, after the 18-year old cyclist won an unexpected victory in the road cycling national championships.

 

National

A new study of “socioeconomic and demographic changes in predominantly residential neighborhoods” in 29 US cities show that despite fears of gentrification, new bike lanes don’t result in the displacement of people of color and low income residents.

A writer for Forbes considers whether dooring will still be risk in the era of self-driving cars.

Yes, you can ride a bike when you’re pregnant, and it’s actually good for you.

Sad news from Colorado, where a missing man was found dead in a creek swollen with winter runoff, after he failed to return from a bike rider on Saturday.

A little more sanity from Oklahoma, where kindhearted strangers pitched in to buy a new bicycle for a man after learning he was walking 17 miles each way in the the scorching heat to get to his job at Buffalo Wild Wings.

 

International

Treehugger offers tips on how to keep your bike safe at home, where half of all bike thefts occur.

Road.cc suggests ways to keep your bike from being a pain in the butt. Literally.

A British Columbia letter writer says we’ll stay off the sidewalk if you’ll stay the hell out of the bike lane. Actually, I may have added that hell part myself. Not that I’ve ever had to deal with recalcitrant pedestrians in bike lanes, or anything. 

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 83-year old British man is back on his bike, just two weeks after a major endo left him a “bloody mess.” I mean, aside from the endo and bloody mess, that is.

A new German-made taillight includes an HD video camera that automatically saves video of close passes, as well as the last several seconds of video if you hit the pavement.

The Financial Express says India is riding its way to a more bike-friendly future, as bike sales have jumped up to 400% during the pandemic.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Guardian offers a stage-by-stage preview of the Tour de France, which gets off to an earlier than usual late June start this Saturday.

Bicycling offers a team-by-team guide to who will win this year’s Tour de France, while suggesting it may not be your favorite one. As usual, read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you. 

British sprinter Mark Cavendish was a surprise addition to the Deceuninck-Quick-Step roster, after missing the last three Tours.

Why just watch the races as an uninvolved spectator, when you can join the fun with Cycling Tips’ Tour de France Fantasy Competition?

Cyclist looks back to Frenchman Antonin Magne’s win in the 1931 Tour, which he repeated three years later.

Britain’s cycling team is looking to continue their success at the Summer Games, despite several years of scandals and conflict since capturing 12 medals in Rio.

A gritty 30-mile breakaway at the US road cycling nationals won a pro contract for 30-year old Lauren De Crescenzo. But only after she finishes her work with the CDC.

 

Finally…

Apparently, riding a bike isn’t just like riding a bike. If you can’t remember whether you stole the bike you’re riding, maybe cut back on the drugs a bit.

And that feeling when you’re cut off by a drifting weinermobile.

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Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Update: Claremont woman killed in Friday the 13th bicycling collision, driver arrested for vehicular manslaughter

Sadly, Friday the 13th lived up to its reputation for a woman riding her bike in Claremont.

According to the Claremont Courier, the woman, identified only as a Claremont resident, was riding north on Mills Ave near Rockford Drive around 9 am Friday.

A driver headed in the opposite direction lost control attempting to pass another vehicle and skidded across the roadway, hitting the victim head-on.

She was taken to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, where she died.

Thirty-eight-year old Claremont resident Cheryl Becker was arrested for vehicular manslaughter. She also faces a charge of child endangerment because her children were in the car with her at the time of the crash.

Not surprisingly, police say speed may have been a factor.

A street view shows a two lane roadway on Mills, with a center turn lane and bike lanes in each direction. Police say there’s been an increase in unsafe driving on the street in recent months, including drivers exceeding the 40 mph speed limit.

Friday’s crash took place just blocks from where Sandra Wicksted killed Leslie Pray in a 2018 collision as Pray was riding her bike. Wicksted was sentenced to 16 years for voluntary manslaughter earlier this week, after prosecutors pled down from the original murder charge.

This is at least the 56th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 15th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: The victim has been identified as long-time Claremont resident Terri Wolfe Ingalls, who was killed less than a week after her 62nd birthday. 

According to the Claremont Courier, she was run down just moments after leaving her home. Her final act may have been waving to her neighbor as she set out on her bike. 

The paper describes her as a “thoughtful, lovely” mother of four, and grandmother of seven, who checked in on her elderly parents every day. 

They’ll all have to find a way to get along without her now.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Terri Wolfe Ingalls and her loved ones.

Update: Man riding a bicycle killed by speeding driver in possible DTLA street racing crash

A man riding a bicycle is dead because a driver couldn’t keep his foot off the gas pedal.

And he may not have been the only one speeding.

According to KTLA-5, the crash occurred around 8:55 Thursday night on the 2100 block of South Alameda Street in Downtown Los Angeles.

Although earlier reports put the time of the crash closer to 8:30 pm.

The northbound driver lost control when he hit the railroad tracks and smashed into the victim at high speed, then slammed him into a utility pole.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was deemed beyond medical help when firefighters arrived, and died at the scene.

For once the driver stuck around. Probably because he was trapped inside his overturned car with minor injuries, and he had to be removed by the firefighters.

Witnesses reported that he was driving at least 50 mph before the crash, and appeared to be racing another driver.

Police took him into custody on suspicion of negligent manslaughter. Which sounds like the bare minimum he should be charged with.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD at 877/527-3247.

This is at least the 26th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also the sixth in the City of Los Angeles.

Update: The victim has been identified as 30-year old Manuel Gonzalez Hernandez, who was reportedly homeless. Which does not make this any less tragic, or minimize the severity of the crime in any way.  

The driver, who still has not been publicly identified, was driving on a suspended license. 

One more reminder that taking someone’s license away doesn’t always stop them from driving. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Manuel Gonzalez Hernandez and all his loved ones.

 

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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