Category Archives: carlaw

New rules on license plate holders

New rules on license plate holders goes into effect Jan 1, 2009. Holders may not obscure any of the word “Arizona”. The law was passed in 2006, but delayed implementation until 2009 to allow dealers time to adjust.

“Law-enforcement officials say the law will help officers differentiate between in-state and out-of-state vehicles, a difficult task given the state’s profusion of specialty plates. Arizona issues license plates in more than 60 styles” amen to that, I think there are too many styles and it makes it harder for witnesses to get tag info.

Inquiring minds who want to know the actual verbiage, it from  §28-2354(B),

28-2354. License plates; attachment

B.  …A person shall maintain each license plate so it is clearly legible and so that the name of this state at the top of the license plate is not obscured.

Mionske: Can’t we do better?

In Bob Mionske’s Nov 20th column, Can’t we do better?, he asks “What do you think can be done about cyclist safety?”…

2007 Fatals by type

This may sound trite but, to improve cyclist’s safety I think the best thing to do is focus on improving traffic safety.  I know it’s easy to read yet another apparent case of a negligent motorist hurting/killing a cyclist, getting off scot free and then feeling that “the system” is stacked against cyclists. But this loses sight of the fact that the problem isn’t limited to cyclists as victims, all categories of motorist’s victims, including other motorists, are treated just as shabbily. Cyclists’ fatalities represent less than 2% of the 41,059 traffic deaths (NHTSA 2007 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment – Highlights)

There are other, far larger, constituencies who are also subject to these same injustices; pedestrians, motorcycle operators, and the largest of all; passengers and innocent drivers. These groups — which includes just about everybody — are all victims of negligent drivers.

So the key, in my view, to tightening up laws which would actually punish negligent drivers is to broaden to appeal beyond the tiny community of active bicyclists to involve as many of these other groups as possible.

So without this becoming a laundry list — consider for example victim Lance Adams who was killed in Mesa, AZ April 2005 WHILE WALKING ON THE SIDEWALK… no criminal charges(prosecutor says “no likelihood of conviction”), no citations. Matthew Hayes Peterson said he blacked out, causing his vehicle to jump the curb. The young man who killed Lance had a previous speeding violation, and somewhat incredulously was ticketed for speeding again on Dec 14 (90mph! in a 65. As of story Feb 1, the outcome of that ticket was still pending).Prosecutors won’t seek criminal charges against a 21-year-old driver who ran over a Mountain View High School student last year, saying there isn’t enough evidence to prove he was impaired.


DRIVER WON’T BE CHARGED IN STUDENT DEATH

Jim Walsh. Arizona Republic.  Jan 31, 2006.

Lance Adams, 15, was walking home from school on a sidewalk April 11 when he was struck and killed by an SUV driven by Matthew Hayes Peterson.

Mesa police sought manslaughter charges in late December after obtaining long-delayed test results from the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s crime lab on drugs found in Peterson’s system.

But Krystal Garza, a spokeswoman for Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, said in a statement that the case was sent back recently to Mesa police.

“Based on the information submitted to date, we don’t believe there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction,” Garza wrote. “One factor in this decision was there were no signs of impairment that could be tied to any substance, legal or illegal, in the suspect’s system.”

Peterson told police after the collision that he blacked out before his 2000 Toyota RAV4 jumped a curb in the 1400 block of North Lindsay Road and struck Adams.

The lab tests measured the amount of marijuana metabolite found in Peterson’s system, along with two prescription drugs identified by police as propoxyphene, a narcotic pain reliever and zolpidem, a sleeping medication.

[oddly, they listed the chemical names. The two prescription drugs found in Peterson’s system are commonly known by their brand names; Darvon, and Ambien. One wonders if Peterson had a prescription? What about the warnings, did Peterson heed them?]

Heed the warnings?

Ambien/zolpidem Warnings : “Patients should be cautioned against engaging in hazardous occupations requiring complete mental alertness or motor coordination such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle after ingesting the drug, including potential impairment of the performance of such activities that may occur the day following ingestion of Ambien”

Darvon/Propoxyphene Warnings: … may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks, such as driving a car…”

Mesa boy injured in hit-and-run; driver gets 6 years

This is one of those “it’s hard to know what do with some people”. She’s out there driving around on a suspended license, presumably for previous mis-deeds involving driving. (she has at least one prior dui)

These often make me wonder about sentencing, the prison sentence stems from the aggravated DUI. It would seem to me that 3 years of “probation” for the hit-and-run has no effect at all, because she’ll ostensibly be sitting in prison longer than that. Or isn’t that how it works?


Ex-state employee gets 6 years in hit-run

by Jim Walsh – Oct. 6, 2008 03:02 PM
The Arizona Republic

A former state employee who struck a 3-year-old Mesa boy in a hit-and-run collision in April was sentenced to six years in prison by a court commissioner.

Heather Mariah Grace Funk, 29, pleaded guilty to aggravated driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs and leaving the scene of an injury accident.

The prison sentence stems from the aggravated driving charge. She was placed on probation for three years for leaving the scene of the accident, according to court records.

The boy was riding a tricycle on a sidewalk in the 3100 block of East Cicero Street when he was struck by a red Chevrolet pickup while crossing a driveway, police said. The boy survived. Police believed Funk was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time.

Funk was driving while her license was suspended and had a history of drug arrests. She had been hired by the state as a maintenance worker after her release from prison on another conviction for aggravated driving under the influence.

Mejia guilty of neg hom and hit-and-run in death of Walmsley

This is remarkable only in that the county attorney sought negligent homicide charges…

From an earlier azcentral story “On May 2, 2007, Mejia was arrested after deputies obtained a search warrant and gathered evidence from a Ford F-350 pickup truck linked to the hit-and-run suspect” .  The article doesn’t mention any allegations of evidence tampering(?).

Arizona Superior Court Docket CR2007-006287,  All case minutes. Here’s the Warrant to search the large 2007 pickup truck involved. Sentencing Minute from 6/17/2008 — I guess fairly standard, the charges are deemed “non-dangerous” and thus you can get a light sentence the negligent homicide is an F4 (class 4 felony; smaller number are more serious). One oddity was the hit-and-run was listed as an F3, whereas it should have been an F2 (because the defendant clearly caused the collision by driving on the wrong side of the road).

There are a lot of case minutes, including a request to be released early from probation, and numerous requests to revoke probation; finally in the 4/18/2014 minute “Defendant admits violation of probation for condition 1” (whatever that is, i can’t find it in the sentencing minute). It doesn’t seem like anything bad happened.

Mejia TR-200701627 speeding 2/28/2007 in Avondale Muni; dismissed w/driving school; a couple of months before he caused the fatal crash.

These cases from 2013/14 seem to have something only to do with the original case’s restituation, not a new criminal beef:  CR2013-462094 and CR2014-110154

 

==========================================
Avondale man gets 3 years in cyclist’s hit-run death
==========================================
Arizona Republic, The (Phoenix, AZ)-June 20, 2008
Author: Brent Whiting, The Arizona Republic

An 18-year-old Avondale man has been sentenced to three years in prison for killing a cyclist in a hit-and-run traffic crash.

Victor Manuel Mejia, who pleaded guilty to charges of negligent homicide and leaving the scene of a serious injury accident, also was placed on a five-year probationary term.

The sentence was handed down last Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court after relatives of Mejia and the victim, Bob Walmsley, were offered a chance to address the judge.

Walmsley, 65, of Sun City West, was killed April 9, 2007, while he and other cyclists were pedaling on 99th Avenue in the Southwest Valley, south of Interstate 10 near Southern Avenue.

He was hit by the driver of a pickup truck who was traveling north on 99th Avenue and was trying to pass another vehicle. The driver fled after striking Walmsley, according to sheriff’s investigators.

On May 2, 2007, Mejia was arrested after deputies obtained a search warrant and gathered evidence from a Ford F-350 pickup truck linked to the hit-and-run suspect.

Walmsley, a cycling enthusiast, moved to Arizona in 2000 after retiring in California as an engineer and computer programmer.

License Plate Covers

Apparently the existing law, §28-2354, which requires that vehicle license plates be displayed “clearly legibly” isn’t clear enough for police, who don’t seem to enforce that law.

Thus House Bill HB2250 (48th legislature, 2nd regular session, 2008) which would make the rules about covers crystal clear: “…a person shall not apply a covering or any substance to the license plate”.

Unfortunately, the provision is tangled up with the abortion debate — strange but true! It turns out the cover thing is in a bill involving special license plates… thus the controversy.

And as if one controversy wasn’t enough, the cover thing is clearly aimed at would-be camera violators.

By the way, probably the most controversial use of photo enforcement was speed cameras on a section of Loop 101 in Scottsdale. ASU engineering professor Simon Washington’s research has consistently showed only good things in terms of safety and even a time savings due to reduced speed — that is the time savings due to fewer crashes more than offset the time lost by lower speed. See Speed cameras help travel time, report says, Arizona Republic,May 13, 2008.

Unmentioned and unquantified in the report are not only fuel consumption, and air pollution benefits. Mean speeds were reduced from 73 before to 64 mph after enforcement. Vehicles’ toxic NOX pollution increases substantially with increased speed. NOX turns into ozone.