[Driver Sentenced] Arrest made in hit-and-run of Tucson cyclist

Hit and runs are always awful. This one from Tucson May 20, 2011 seems especially so. Police arrested a young woman four days after the crash, Abigail A. Allin, 21. There is a lot more info supplied by Sam Abate’s father over on tucsonvelo.com.

Hit and run can sometimes be hard to prove, but fortuitously a driver matching the description triggered a red light camera nearby before striking Abate: “The woman driving, talking on her cell phone, weaving in and out of traffic, and caught moments earlier by the red-light camera“. I am a big fan of photo-red enforcement. (see this murder case that was solved in part with photo-red evidence. Photo evidence was also instrumental in arresting a suspect in this cyclist hit-and-run killing)

One hopes the prosecutor will be seeking the bad driving involved — and not just the hit-and-run. The hit and run came after the collision; the bad driving before certainly seems like reckless driving, or some sort of assault.

Abigail Allins has a traffic case TR-10037413 from April 2010 for running a red light and no insurance for which she did not appear — which is probably where the “driving on a suspended license” is coming from.

Plea Deal Pulled

fox11az.com reported on July 27th that the prosecutor has withdrawn an unspecified plea deal for unspecified reasons. The defendant is scheduled to enter a plea on July 29th — I’m not sure exactly what charges have been filed because it’s not up on caselookup and strangely I don’t see anything at Pima County Superior Court (or its search page). It was reported earlier charges would be felony hit/run, endangerment, and tampering with evidence.

No news as of Aug 3 (2011)…

Inmate lookup results:

COURT: JUSTICE COURT #1 CASE#: CR11107610A <--- 1
BOND AMT: $ 75000.00 TYPE: Secured

Plea deal wrangling over 1 year later

The suspect is still in jail (can’t make bond?) over 1 year later. In late june 2012 there was a story on tucsonvelo.com outlining what’s been going on. This is really weird. On happier note, the victim is “doing better” and plays music and attends some UA classes.

Still Going, as of November 2012…

Status conference scheduled for Dec 3, 2012.

Plea deal wrangling absolutely settled Jan 2013

Details in the comment below.Quick summary — the defendant won the point in Superior Court; who ordered the prosecutor to reinstate the plea deal. The prosecution won a reversal at the Court of Appeals. The defense took it to the Arizona Supreme Court, which denied review — so the Court of Appeals ruling stands.

The CoA2 case is a “Memorandum Decision / Not for Publication”, 2 CA-SA 2012-0034. Apparently only recent decisions are on the court’s website. Available on justia.com.  “A defendant has no right to a plea agreement… and the decision whether to offer a plea is solely within the prosecutor’s discretion” and that the prosecutor’s decision to withdraw the plea based on media attention, whether or not instigated by the victim’s family, was not a due-process violation.

There’s a reference to a law I had never heard of, ARS 13-4419(C), which involves victim’s rights including the right to confer with prosecution but makes clear the victims cannot “direct” the case.

Inching towards a legal conclusion?

News item Driver admits hitting bicyclist, tampering
February 07, 2013 12:00 am • Kim Smith Arizona Daily Star

Sentencing. Finally, April 2013

Nearly two years since the incident occurred  Allin has finally been sentenced. In February, she plead to tampering and hit and run; she will receive no more jail time (limited to time already served awaiting trial), going forward she gets 5 years probation plus some community service and something about $5,520 for medical bills (which certainly ran into the hundreds of thousands. I also wonder where that oddly precise-sounding amount came from?). No mention of impairment, though her lawyer proudly states she has completed not one but  “two substance-abuse programs”; or any other explanation as to why she was driving so erratically. Also no mention of any license revocation or suspension, so I suppose her driving privilege is intact.

KVOA had the most detailed news story. By way of explaining what I would consider a light sentence (this is a class 2 felony for cryin’ out loud) “The judge said since this is her first criminal charge and first felonies, he sentenced her to five years probation.”

other coverage: tucsonvelo.com , azstarnet.com

Here is the court’s sentencing minute; obtained via a public records request; there is always curious math in these documents, and the whole thing is cloaked in obfuscation — for example she was sentenced to 365 days in jail for each of three charges; yet somehow her 463 days incarcerated pre-trial gets to be used to cover all three; viola, no more jail time.

  1. §28-661A1 Leaving the scene with serious injury / non-repetitive, non-dangerous class 2 felony
  2. §13-2809A1 Tampering with physical evidence / non-repetitive, non-dangerous class 6 felony
  3. §13-1602A1 Criminal damage / non-repetitive, non-dangerous class 6 felony

Prosecutors often throw in an endangerment charge on these sorts of cases, but that’s yet another class 6 felony and as such doesn’t amount to anything. §13-1602A1 … A person commits endangerment by recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury.

What about driver’s license revocation?

At guilty on 661 w/serious injury should result in an automatic (“The department shall revoke the license…”) 5 year license revocation. A copy of Allin’s MVD court abstract form was obtained from Pima County Superior Court. It lists the 28-661, but has left the “other” field of the form blank — this action by the court has the effect of preventing the license revocation.  (Actually, documentation for MVD court abstract submittals, since at least 2009 says that “Courts must now supply the appropriate sentencing authority [in the “pursuant to” box] on an MVD court abstract, to avoid reject errors or returned documents” so I’m not exactly sure where that leaves it).

14 thoughts on “[Driver Sentenced] Arrest made in hit-and-run of Tucson cyclist”

  1. This information was sent around in Early August by Sam’s father, Bill:

    Several weeks ago the District Attorney called Sam and alluded to a potential walk for Abigail Allin (the woman accused of nearly killing him). None of us were okay with this so I rallied the media again and the plea-deal was taken off of the table. Last week, we had a meeting with the Prosecution and the only option that this person currently has is to plead guilty to one class II and two class VI felonies or face a trial. The potential jail-time for her combined offences is 16.5 years, although this has never been realized before. In any case, I will attend the trial and be allowed to make a statement at sentencing. The dates for future hearings have not been set yet…

    The hit-and-run would/should be a class 2, as noted — but that would only be a presumptive, first time felon, sentence of 5 yrs. I’m not exactly sure about the class of the other charges (presumably endangerment, and tampering w/evidence). Is the driving on a suspended license in there somewhere? As mentioned in Hit and Run in Arizona, prosecutors often fiddle with these deals, but the notion of getting zero jail for these accused crimes is pretty mind-blowing.

  2. I called the superior court yesterday, who gave me contact information for a helpful prosecutor who called back today. Nicollette tells me that the Court of Appeals has decided that the State is not required to re-offer the plea that was previously offered. She anticipates that the defense may will appeal this decision to the supreme court of Arizona. Failing that, there is a hearing date set for Aug 13, 9am.

  3. The defendant was (apparently) in county jail awaiting trial (or whatever) until ~ August 29, 2012; at which time her motion was granted, according to the conditions set forth below:

    CASE NO. CR20111856-001
    COURT REPORTER: Tracy Johnston DATE: August 29, 2012 Courtroom – 472
    STATE OF ARIZONA Matthew P. Eklund for Nicolette Kneup
    Erin M. Carrillo, Esq. counsel for Defendant
    M I N U T E E N T R Y
    Defendant present, in custody.
    THE COURT NOTES the State filed a written opposition to the motion in this matter.
    Defense counsel argues to the Court.
    Over the objection of the State,
    IT IS ORDERED as follows:
    1. The motion is GRANTED.
    2. The defendant shall be released to the supervision of Pretrial Services.
    3. The defendant shall drink no alcoholic beverages nor take illegal drugs.
    4. The defendant shall complete drug/alcohol treatment/monitoring as directed.
    5. The defendant shall appear at all future hearings.
    6. The defendant shall reside at a residence approved by Pretrial Services.
    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Status Conference currently set on Monday, October 01, 2012, at
    9:00 AM, in Division 28, is affirmed.
    Filed In Court: Conditions of Release and Order; Pretrial Services Information and Recommendation
    cc: Hon. Paul E. Tang
    Erin M. Carrillo, Esq.
    Nicolette Kneup, Esq.
    Pretrial Services

  4. Delay in hit-and-run case
    Posted: Jul 13, 2012 11:20 AM
    Updated: Jul 20, 2012 12:25 PM
    By Barbara Grijalva – bio | email
    Posted by Sarah Cantey – email
    TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) –
    There is another delay in the case of a Tucson woman accused in a hit-and-run crash that seriously injured a bicyclist.

    Abigail Allin, 22, is in jail on $75,000 bond and she did not appear in court Friday for her hearing.

    Police arrested Allin a few days after the crash when a worker at a glass repair business reported finding blood and hair in the windshield of Allin’s car.

    Friday’s court date was scheduled for a change of plea, but Allin’s attorney asked for more time. Her next court date is set for August 13.

    Allin is accused of hitting bicyclist Sam Abate near Swan and Camp Lowell in May of last year.

    Abate has undergone rehab for his injuries and has been taking classes at the University of Arizona.

    In a release last year from the accident, police said Allin was driving with a suspended license.

    According to the technician that was called by Allin to fix the windshield, she claimed a brick had gone through the glass on her black Nissan Altima. When he pressed her on the blood and hair, the technician said she thought it could have been a bird.

    Allin was initially charged with leaving the scene of a serious injury collision (at fault driver), causing serious injury with a vehicle while under a suspended license, and tampering with physical evidence.

    Copyright 2012 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

  5. A source close to the accused family has stated the defendant herself had refused to be bonded as a means to show her sorrow

  6. regarding Supreme court case to review reinstatement of the prosecutor’s withdraw plea agreement:

    The “order to ..” was read and heard by the AZ ct of appeals:
    But is also available directly:
    The CoA reversed the superior court ruling that the offer must be re-instated.

    The AZ supreme court denied review:
    “01/09/2013 Copy of minute letter by Arizona Supreme Court re action taken 1/8/2013; ORDERED: Petition for Review of a Special Action Decision of the Court of Appeals = DENIED.”

    I have never tried to use this page before:

    But I found that she was released from custody in August; I have an old email about this motion and its associated hearing.


    I also found older minute entries with judge clark w munger (trial court who ordered the plea to be reinstated).

    There are entries from:
    deberah bernini
    javier chon-lopez

  7. Driver admits hitting bicyclist, tampering
    February 07, 2013 12:00 am • Kim Smith Arizona Daily Star
    A Tucson woman could be placed on probation or receive up to seven years in prison after admitting she left the scene after causing a crash that resulted in serious injury. She also admitted to tampering with evidence and causing criminal damage.

    On May 20, 2011, Samuel Abate, then 23, was struck by a vehicle as he was riding his bicycle north on North Swan Road between East Camp Lowell Drive and the Rillito River. He suffered severe head and brain injuries and numerous broken bones.

    Abigail Allin, then 21, was arrested six days later.

    At the time of her arrest, it was reported Allin was driving without car insurance and had her damaged windshield fixed between the time of the crash and the arrest.

    The Pima County Attorney’s Office had extended a plea offer to Allin at one point but later withdrew it.

    Now-retired Pima County Superior Court Judge Clark Munger ordered prosecutors to extend the plea agreement again because he believed they withdrew it only because “the press got involved in the case.”

    The Arizona Court of Appeals held that the state had the right to withdraw the plea.

  8. From case mgt services:
    apr 15: sentencing, Judge Tang

    I can’t find any minute entry (yet?), but I believe she plead guilty.

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