Green Valley cyclist killed

the Arizona Daily Star is reporting a fatality in Green Valley (near Tucson),
Green Valley cyclist, 84 killed in vehicle collision.

It is very unusual for police (in this case the Pima County Sheriff’s Office) to cite immediately. The normal pattern in fatal collisions (see e.g. Allen Johnson) is nothing gets issued, a lengthy investigation (most of elapsed time is due to waiting on tox results)  is conducted, after which the prosecutor declines to file criminal charges, and finally traffic citations are issued. Will there be no further investigation? Seems hasty. Entry at tucsonbikelawyer.com also see zero-citations-so-far-for-three-foot-passing-rule-in-tucson-this-year for interesting facts about just how rare citations for 28-735 are.

There was a nice article about Jerome in the Green Valley News, interesting discussions about criminal negligence at tusconbikelawyer.com

The case was settled for only $254 in fines, covering two citations, according to the GV News “David Armstrong, 76, of Green Valley, pleaded responsible to ‘overtaking bicycles – fatal,’ and ‘driving in the bike lane’ and was fined $140.50 and $113.50 respectively”. No word as to why the fine for violating §28-735 , which carries a fine of “up to” $1,000,  was settled for far less — not that it really makes much difference, but after all what’s the point of having enhanced penalties for more serious outcomes if the judge/magistrate doesn’t apply it? It was Case number TR-20091755 in Green Valley Justice court.

I have no idea how the fines are arrived at. The fine schedule according to the list for ddp (but defensive driving school isn’t an option, I’m just using it to look up court fees), for Green Valley is $120 court fee plus $40 state fee. Perhaps that is where the $140.50 comes from? Which I suppose means the “enhanced” part if it is $0.

Here is a google maps street view of N Desert Bell Drive. It appears to be a full-up bike lane; albeit with “old” bike lane signs and the diamond markings. the street view when I checked it in March of 2012 was dated April 2008, so I don’t know if it’s been updated with the new MUTCD 2003 signs/markings.

2009 AZ Cyclist Fatality Grid

By Alexis Huicochea
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.03.2009
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An 84-year-old bicyclist died this morning after he was struck by a car in Green Valley.
Jerome Featherman was riding south on North Desert Bell Drive, near West Calle de Oro, at 9:38 a.m. when a motorist drove into the bike lane and hit him, said Deputy Dawn Barkman, a Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman.
Featherman was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, she said.
The driver of the car – David Armstrong, 76 – was given a citation on suspicion of violation of the three-foot passing rule causing death and driving in a bike path.
The three-foot passing rule states that when passing a bicycle that is going in the same direction, a motorist has to leave a safe distance between the vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet until the vehicle is safely past the bicycle.

5 thoughts on “Green Valley cyclist killed”

  1. How is this jerk not going to jail for manslaughter?????????!! I can’t believe what cyclists put up with in this area. I nearly get killed on a daily basis, and to know that my life will be work $250 if someone finally does run me over makes me want to scream.

    Susan — just a quick reply. I share your upsetment, of course. But it really doesn’t have to do with the victim having been a cyclist — it has to do with the negligent driver’s behavior. Prosecutors will only seek serious charges (e.g. negligent homicide or manslaughter for a fatality) if the driver is provably DUI or is doing something REALLY over the top (think weaving or “excessive” speeding, things like that).

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