SENTENCING: Barrow’s Neurologist killed by hit-and-run Driver

[ Linsk got pulled over and arrested AGAIN after serving his trivial sentence, 12/17/2014: Driving on suspended license: TR2014159525000, East Mesa Justice Court , a citation for unsafe lane change (presumably the reason he was pulled over) were dismissed. ]

[ yet another update? There are two new post-sentencing court minutes, The first dated 9/12 refers to the “Defendant’s custody status and medical issues”. The second, dated 9/13 CUTS THE JAIL SENTENCE IN HALF from 90 to 45 days, but also now “shall not participate in work release or work furlough”. The Defendant’s original sentence had him eligible for work release.  Laurie Roberts of the Az Republic did a column specifically about Linsk and on the light sentencing of hit and run drivers in general a couple of days ago. Roberts notes “Linsk was never charged in Maalouf’s death. Though he was speeding (59 to 62 mph in a 50 mph zone) and drifted into the bike lane, that apparently is not reckless enough to warrant a manslaughter charge”. This is the first I’ve heard this; reporting news is largely defunct ]

[ Update 9/6/2013: The driver was sentenced to 90 days in county (eligible for work release), and 5 years of supervised probation, as well as some community service. kpho.com. As is typical, the news is mum on anything to do with the mandatory 5 to 10 year license revocation for those convicted of this crime — though according to a first-hand account from the hearing, the driver will have a 10 year license suspension (i pasted that account, below, in a comment). If 90 days sounds light, it’s actually pretty heavy in terms of what other hit-and-runners get… though it is certainly light in view of the fact it is a very serious crime (Felony, class 2) carrying a presumptive prison sentence of 5 years. The actual sentencing court minute is not yet available; sometimes there are “tricks” in them — for example Lila Swanson was sentenced to 6 months incarceration for a fatal hit-run  that was delayed, deferred, and ultimately “deleted” (never served). The sentencing minute became available on Wednesday m5939382. I was glad to see it explicitly state that “IT IS ORDERED revoking the defendant’s drivers license as required by Arizona law”; I have never seen this in any other sentencing document ]

[ Update 7/12/2013 Criminal case against Nicholas Linsk is CR2012-153890; charged with 28-661 Hit and Run w/Death, a Felony 2. State’s attorney is Karen Komrada; and defendant’s is Clark Derrick. New media is reporting he has pleaded guilty ]

Bicyclist Marwan Maalouf was killed when he was struck from behind by a Chevrolet pickup truck westbound on Shea Blvd (it was about 1/4 mile east of Palisades Blvd) in Fountain Hills around noon on Sunday Oct 14, 2012. According to witnesses, the driver stopped and then drove off. Police arrested Nicholas Linsk. Linsk initially told investigators his pickup was damaged in a Target parking lot, he later changed his story to say he struck what he believed to be a traffic barricade.

Police (MSCO) said there were “bicycle tire marks inside the bicycle lane that showed there had been an impact with the truck”; if that is the case, and the driver was straddling the lane (partially in the right lane, partially in the bike lane) he should additionally be charged with 28-672 (causing death with moving violation) because that would mean he was in violation of 28-729 (not driving within one lane). [that charging was done successfully in the Lito Silla, Scott Drozdz and Brent Holderman triple-serious injury case — though that was not a hit and run, and was handled in justice court; though the investigating agency was was MSCO]

The Criminal Case

Nicholas Linsk plead guilty 7/17/2013 to Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Injury Accident, a felony, class 2 (this indicates Linsk casued the collision). This is criminal case number CR2012-153890 (or, direct link to list of case minutes).  In the case minute for the plea, the following list of statutes is associated with Count 1 (the only count)… I’m GUESSING these are the boilerplate list.

  • A.R.S. § 28-661: the Leaving the Scene itself (sometimes in other cases, 663 is also included)
  • 28-3001: Chapter 8 (Drivers Licenses) Definitions
  • 28-3304: Mandatory revocation of license; definition
  • 28-3305: Court action (with respect to license) on conviction
  • 28-3315: Period of suspension (the period is waived if pursuant to 28-661)
  • 13-701:  Sentence of imprisonment for felony (a different/older case’s plea deal also included 701.01; I can’t find that in current ARS?)
  • 13-702: First time felony offenders; sentencing; definition (sets the presumptive sentence to 5 years prison)
  • 13-801: Fines for felonies

These statutes can be looked up at either Title 13, or Title 28

Sentencing is set for 9/6/2013 at 1:30PM… though these dates often slip.

Prior traffic difficulties

The defendant has 3, all relatively recent, brushes with traffic court, according to case lookup. M-0741-4234803 in Phoenix Muni during 2010, speeding in a school zone, found responsible. Fountain Hills muni in case plea guilty/responsible to a “local charge”, case TR-201100844. And 2011 in Phoenix Muni, unsafe lane change, dismissed.
[ As of Sept 2013, there were a number of cases against Nicholas LInsk in Maricopa County Justice Courts (these courts don’t feed into publicaccess); the infractions/charges and outcomes are not available online, indicating additional citations prior to the hit-and-run. Recheck in December 2016 no longer shows those cases, perhaps there’s a time limit. But alarmingly,  there was a 12/17/2014 CONVICTION for Driving on suspended license: TR2014159525000, which means he’s obviously still driving despite being on probation for the h/r and the revoked license.  He plead to a violation of 28-3473, a class 1 misdemeanor, 28-707 lists a maximum penalty of six months for this crime — what does a prior-convicted felon, still on probation for the felony get for this new violation?  ]

[according to courtrecords.org there’s an old couple of scottsdale tickets from 12/12/1997; speeding and no-passing violation. This doesn’t show up at caselookup(?)]

A spate of hit-and-run fatalities?

There have been 5 hit-and-run bicyclist fatalities so far in 2012; out of a total of 9 (all unofficial counts). This is a very high ratio, the “normal” ratio is something like 20% nationwide. I have the official counts for 2010 and 2011 arizona, just not handy right now.

In another incident the driver who hit and seriously injured Shayna Weitzman on June 30, 2012 remains at large. According to 3TV/azfamily, who obtained the Gila River Police Dept report,  witnesses saw a 1999 white Jeep Cherokee swerve and leave the scene; the Jeep was found in the desert minutes later burning. Gila River Police questioned Desiree Carra, 23, in the incident who denied being the driver.

Lying?

Nicholas Linsk, Accused of Driving Into Bicyclist and Leaving, Blames Truck Thief (Who Was Nice Enough to Return His Truck) Speaks to the story that Linsk changed several times… someone must have stolen his truck, or he thought he hit a traffic barricade. Do hit-and-run drivers always lie? and are there ever any consequences for lying to police? There weren’t in this case.

News Reports

news reports: ABC15Arizona Republic.

Phoenix neurologist identified as victim in fatal Fountain Hills hit-run
by Jamie Warren – Oct. 15, 2012 01:19 PM
The Arizona Republic- 12 News Breaking News Team

The bicyclist killed in a fatal traffic collision in Fountain Hills on Sunday has been identified as Dr. Marwan Maalouf, a neurologist at Saint Joseph’s Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.

Dr. Maalouf was struck while riding his bicycle west on Shea Boulevard in Fountain Hills on Sunday afternoon, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Dr. Maalouf had recently been preparing to do research on treatment patients with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a statement from the Barrow Neurological Institute. He was a scientist, teacher and mentor since joining the institute two years ago.

On Sunday, a witness reported seeing a pickup hit something while driving west on Shea Boulevard, according to MCSO. The driver got out of his car to examine the damage before taking off, MCSO said.

The driver was identified as Nicholas Linsk, who works at a Target store in Fountain Hills, according to investigators in Maricopa County Superior Court documents. Linsk told authorities that when he went to the Target parking lot after work, his truck had been moved to a different parking spot and the front end was damaged. Linsk then told authorities he drove home, according to the documents.

Detectives told him a witness had spotted him. Linsk told authorities he thought he had hit a traffic barricade, even though he did not see any barricades in the area, according to the documents.

Investigators later found debris from the pickup and bicycle tire marks inside the bicycle lane that showed there had been an impact with the truck on Shea Boulevard, according to the documents.

Linsk was arrested on suspicion of leaving the scene of an at-fault fatal traffic collision and booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix, according to the documents.

6 thoughts on “SENTENCING: Barrow’s Neurologist killed by hit-and-run Driver”

  1. Text of 3TV/azfamily.com article about Shayna:
    SUV responsible for cyclist injury is torched minutes after accident
    Posted on August 20, 2012 at 9:45 PM Updated Monday, Aug 20 at 11:00 PM
    GILA RIVER INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. — An SUV plowed into a cyclist and within minutes the vehicle was found burning in the desert. 3TV has obtained exclusive information that shows even though the suspect confessed, police have yet to make any arrests.
    Shayna Weitzman is the kind of athlete who thinks nothing of working out two hours every day.
    “I did Ironman in November, I did the Marquee recently in March,” she said.
    But for the past six weeks, she’s been confined to a wheelchair.
    On June 30, while riding with six other cyclists down 51st Avenue on the Gila River Indian Reservation, Weitzman said, “This car just pulled in front of me and I saw the car and felt it. Crushed. I felt crushed.”
    The Gila River police report, obtained exclusively by 3TV, reveal witnesses saw two people in a white 1999 Jeep Cherokee swerve to the side and then take off.
    The officer documented “not observing any skid marks around Shayna” suggesting the driver never even slowed down. What’s worse, minutes later, “they had supposedly taken the car and driven it to the desert and after they air-evaced me up, the police that were helping me, had saw some smoke in the background,” according to Weitzman.
    Once the smoke settled, officers discovered the remnants of a ’99 Jeep Cherokee. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) confirmed it was the SUV that hit Weitzman. The officer also found an empty 12-ounce can of Budweiser beer on the ground just south of the vehicle.
    “They were very drunk when they hit me, but they must have been slightly sober to have such quick reactions to know what to do to cover themselves,” Weitzman said.
    Documented in the police report, Desiree Carra, 23, confessed to one of her friends that she hit somebody, that she had been drinking and she was sorry.
    “There’s a lot of evidence pointing towards her,” Weitzman said. “The car was in the bushes and she had scratch marks on her like fresh from bushes.”
    But according to the police report, Carra denied being the driver, admitting she and her friends drank two 30-packs of beers the night before and didn’t remember anything.
    “It’s not fair that I have to lay here for six weeks while she goes on with her life,” Weitzman said.
    Going on with life means grueling physical therapy. Despite her pain, Weitzman’s spirits are still high. Weitzman credits her friends and strangers in the triathlon and cycling communities for that.
    “You’d be surprised what you can do on your elbows,” Weitzman said. “I can get myself, in and out of bed. I can scoot. You learn.”
    In the meantime, she worries if her case will ever be resolved.
    “They believe they know who the person is and they spoke with her and they haven’t made an arrest yet because of things they can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt she was the one behind the wheel,” Weitzman said.
    Gila River police haven’t arrested Carra and refused our requests for an interview.
    If you’re interested in helping Shayna and other injured cyclists, check out http://www.facebook.com/NotOneMore.

  2. This was submitted to the Victim’s Advocate Yvonne Salazar salazary@mcao.maricopa.gov:

    Hi YVonne: I would appreciate it if were to be sent to any and all persons who have any interest – attorneys, judges, family, friends, or anyone else who is willing and able to end senseless tragedies like this. As a society of supposedly civilised people, maiming and killing our citizens should not be tolerated, and punitive measures should be such that people get the message that it will no longer be tolerated. Anything less will be considered to be remaining status quo. Thanks for your help in this matter.

    In answer to your question regarding the relationship of myself to the victim/next of kin, it is that I also am a cyclist and am extremely concerned about the lack of safety and enforcement in Phoenix and the entire metropolitan area, as well as sentencing that seems to fuel the motorists’ attitude that the lives of people riding bikes is of no importance.
    I commuted to work for over thirty years, and still ride many days per month in Phoenix, and have had one injury caused by a motorist (fortunately not serious), and several close calls while on the road. In short, the outcome of this case will affect the entire bike riding community, for which the repercussions can
    be serious and financially detrimental. Phoenix is trying to present itself as being a bike friendy city which gives businesses that are considering relocation the impression that we are a “livable community”, in addition to organised and individual bike tours.
    If the carnage is not stopped, the “livable community” image will become merely a memory and we will lose the benefits that could have been ours. The benefits of encouraging and protecting bike riders far outweighs not doing so. Bob

    On Friday, July 26, 2013, Salazar Yvonne wrote:

    I also forgot to ask your relationship to victim and/or next of kin. Thanks.

    From: Salazar Yvonne
    Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2013 03:09 PM
    To: ‘Robert Jenson’
    Subject: RE: Hit and Run Drivers

    Hello Robert:

    I got your email.

    Do you want this forwarded to the assigned Deputy County Attorney or to the judge to consider at the time of sentencing or something else?

    YVONNE SALAZAR

    Victim Advocate, Major Crimes I
    301 W. Jefferson St., 4th Floor
    Phoenix, AZ 85003
    Tel. 602-372-0484, Fax 602-372-0475
    salazary@mcao.maricopa.gov

    From: Robert Jenson
    Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 3:28 PM
    To: Salazar Yvonne
    Cc: CAzB Execs; CAzBike Webmaster
    Subject: Hit and Run Drivers

    Hi: I just came across an e-mail in my inbox regarding the hit and run fatality of the Mayo Clinic physician last year on Shea Blvd. It is my desire and belief as a cyclist that these CRIMES against cyclists need to be fully investigated and PROSECUTED to the fullest extent of the law! The net result of the current legal system’s judgements tells motorists that it’s no big deal if they kill or injure a person on a bike! A motor vehicle is just as deadly as a gun, yet the perpetrators get off with little more than a slap on the wrist, telling the world that people who ride bikes lives are worthless and expendable! In this particular case we have a doctor working to find a cure for a disease – who knows how close to a cure this lost life might have been? How about the loss to his immediate

    family, friends, and community? There are laws on the books dealing with persons who kill or ruin another person’s life by injury. How many people – doctors, engineers, businesspeople, and workers need to die on their bikes before the legal establishment

    (police, lawyers, and courts) finally consider that their lives have worth, and fully investigate and fully prosecute those responsible for these needless deaths and injuries? This is a tragedy!

    Bob Jenson

  3. from Not One More Foundation f.g. page:

    Dr Marwan Maalouf Hit and Run Sentence Hearing

    It is very sad for me to report the outcome of a very emotional 3 hour sentencing in Maricopa Court yesterday. 6 witnesses from Barrows Neurological Institute gave professional testimony of the incredible Dr that Marwan Maalouf was and of his tremendous loss to medicine and humanity. The day before he was killed in his tragic hit and run on Oct 14, 2012, he was awarded a significant research grant that he and the Hospital believed would result in a cure for Alzheimers. His wife, brother, sister and mother also testified of the greatness of this good mans soul and the devastation of his loss to their family. The whole courtroom was overwhelmed with sadness at their pain, including the defendant and his family. To my own shock and horror this pain became inconceivable when his brother testified that 17 months prior, Marwan made an emergency flight to see his father in Montreal Canada, who had been hit by a car on his bicycle and died before he arrived to say goodbye. This devastated Marwan and the irony is inconceivable, the tragedy incalculable, the sorrow unimaginable to express at Marwan’s hearing. When I hugged Marwan’s grieving mother during a break in testimony, before hearing the other side, she just sobbed telling me that her life had been destroyed losing them both in bike accidents. I felt helpless to console.

    Three witnesses for the defense of the man who plead guilty were equally tragic. The man who was the defendant and stood before the judge is a meek, 32 year old simple minded man. A man who has definite learning disabilities, who I witnessed in the restroom helping his disabled father. A man who had been at ASU for 8 years pursuing a degree through the aid of tutors and graduated and was now looking to work in non profits to help people. It was obvious that character of this man was compassionate and good. This man’s judgement was not impaired as he has never had a ticket nor drunk and he was not on a cell phone. He was simply inattentive and caused a major accident then lacked major judgement in not returning to the scene to see what he had hit, which in his testimony he said he did not know. I personally doubt this but it was clear to me and everyone there that this man was simple minded by this demeanor and through his own witnesses testimony and psychology experts. His own mother did not even plead for leniency and the defendant himself plead guilty and was distraught over the loss of Dr Maalouf and pain to his family.

    I agonized over the responsibility of the judge to weigh the law and the scales of justice. What can be done to apply restitution? Nothing to meet the tragedy of both victim and defendant, never the same again in this life. Lost in it all was any reference to the plight of cyclists who legally ride on the road like Marwan who was in his bike lane and the incomprehensible fate of his father to me. I was not allowed to testify but was told there was a stack of cyclist letters that were given to the judge. The victims lawyer plead for maximum penalties with jail time, the defense no jail time and probation. The judge rendered her sentence:
    5 years Probation
    10 years suspended license
    500 Community hours of service
    $18,000 in restitution to the family at $200 a month
    90 days jail, with work time off for his part time job at Target and school time off for 2 half days of classes at ASU

    His mother broke down and sobbed as he was led off in handcuffs, Marwan’s family was despondent. Was the sentence just? For Marwan’s family it certainly was not. How can any sentence compensate for the tragic loss of such a bright, compassionate, highly respected and renowned Doctor and family member. I left numb and in great sorrow; it felt like I had just witnessed the ultimate Greek tragedy.

    What do we do now? We continue the fight to raise public and legal awareness to make our roads safer. To reach out and comfort those in need and lift up the heads and hands of those who have lost loved ones. To demand justice for incomprehensible crimes of humanity to hit and runs againts a human being and witness and assist those who have been injured to seek compensation and justice.

    Thank you for your loyal support to Not One More. Thank you to Neil Bass, who was the first cyclist on the scene of Marwan’s collision. It was a pleasure to meet you. Thank you to any other cyclists who attended that I did not get to meet.

    Sincerely,
    Sterling Baer
    President, Not One More

  4. Section 6-207: Uniform Conditions of Supervised Probation

    I AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING AS CONDITIONS OF THE SUSPENSION OF IMPOSITION OR
    EXECUTION OF SENTENCE: (Conditions Checked Also Apply)
    LAW ABIDING BEHAVIOR
    1. I will maintain a crime-free lifestyle by obeying all laws, and not engaging or participating in any criminal
    activity.
    2. I will not possess or control any stun guns, tasers, firearms, ammunition, deadly or prohibited weapons as
    defined in A.R.S. § 13-3101.
    3. I will report any contact I have with law enforcement to the APD within 72 (or ____) hours.
    4. I will submit to search and seizure of person and property by the APD without a search warrant.
    5. If deported or processed through voluntary departure, I will not return to the United States without legal
    authorization during the term of my probation. If I am deported or processed through voluntary departure,
    all conditions remain in effect except for _____________.
    REPORTING TO APD
    6. I will report to the APD within 72 (or ___) hours of sentencing, absolute discharge from prison, release
    from incarceration, or residential treatment and continue to report as directed. I will also keep APD
    advised of progress toward case plan goals and comply with any written directive of the APD to enforce
    compliance with the conditions of probation. I will provide a sample for DNA testing if required by law.
    RESIDENCE
    7. I will provide the APD safe, unrestricted access to my residence and receive prior approval of the APD
    before changing my residence. I will reside in a residence approved by the APD.
    8. I will request and obtain written permission of the APD prior to leaving the state ( county).
    9. I may apply for Interstate Compact supervision in the state of ______________________and will not
    proceed to that state until reporting instructions are received and the APD issues a written travel permit.
    10. I may apply for an Inter-County transfer and will not proceed to that County until APD issues written
    authorization.
    11. I will actively participate and cooperate in any program of counseling or assistance as determined by
    APD, or as required by law, given assessment results and/or my behavior. I will sign any release or
    consent required by the APD so the APD can exchange information in relation to my treatment, behavior
    and activities.
    12. I will not possess or use illegal drugs or controlled substances and will submit to drug and alcohol testing
    as directed by the APD.
    13. I will obtain written approval of the APD prior to associating with anyone I know who has a criminal record.
    I will not knowingly associate with any person engaged in criminal behaviors.
    14. I will seek, obtain, and maintain employment, if legally permitted to do so, and/or attend school. I will
    inform the APD of any changes within 72 hours.
    15. I will be financially responsible by paying all restitution, fines, and fees in my case as imposed by the
    Court. I understand, if I do not pay restitution in full, the Court may extend my probation. 16. I will not consume or possess any substances containing alcohol.
    SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
    17. I will complete a total of _____hours of community restitution. I will complete a set number of hours
    per month as directed in writing by my probation officer. I will complete these hours at a site
    approved by the APD.
    18. I will serve ________ days month(s), in the county jail beginning____/____/____ with credit
    for _____ days served, not to be released until ____/____/____. I will report to the APD within 72
    (or ____) hours of my release from jail. I will comply with all program rules.
    Be screened for or shall participate in Work Furlough, if eligible or Work Release, if eligible
    19. I will not have any contact with the victim(s) in any form, unless approved in writing by the APD.
    20. I will comply with the following sanctions based on my behavior:
    Up to ____community restitution hours (in addition to any ordered under condition #17), as directed by the
    APD.
    Up to ____days in the county jail (in addition to any ordered under condition #18), at the discretion of the
    Court, upon recommendation from the APD.
    21. I will abide by the attached special conditions of probation:
    Intensive Probation Sex Offender Gang
    Domestic Violence Drug Court __________________
    Mental Health DUI Court/Program
    22. _______________________________________________________________

  5. Criminal defense attorney on the hit-and-run was Clark Derrick, Kimerer & Derrick; and the prosecutor was S Lee White initially followed by Karen Komrada; Sentencing Judge Sherry K. Stephens
    Criminal, 602.506.4818
    For the revoked license charge he was represented by James Palestini, also with K&D. The prosecutor was Juliana Angelina-Charron

    Case Number: TR2014-159525 Judge: Russell, Keith
    File Date: 12/17/2014 Location: East Mesa Justice Court
    Case Type: Criminal Traffic Case Status: Adjudicated

    ARSCode Description Crime Date Disposition Code Disposition Date
    28-729.1 (T1) DRIVE ONE LANE/UNSAFE LANE CHG 12/16/2014 8:47:00 PM 43 Dismissed on motion of court or defendant. 12/29/2014
    28-3473A (M) DRIVE W/LIC SUSP/REVOKE/CANC 12/16/2014 8:47:00 PM 11 Plea of guilty or responsible; sentence imposed. 4/1/2015

  6. My father was recently hit on Thursday January 12th in the exact same spot on Shea going northbound at Balero. The driver of a truck was in the right lane and my father was in the bike lane. The truck mirrors collided with my father throwing him onto the windshield and shattering the cars right side mirrors. Luckily my father escaped alive and have 6 broken ribs and a broken clavicle. CLEARLY there is not enough space for a bike lane here on a road where cars go 50MPH! this is completely unsafe and I am appalled to read about the Neurosurgeon above and the driver of the car getting off scott free. I would love to speak with someone who knows the law about this and can offer some insight. My email is THollinger@Gmail.com.

    Please please some help would be greatly appreciated.

    Tyler

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