[Update Oct 19, 2010: major lawsuit settlement County and El Tour organizer, $3.5Million to Steube and several other injured plaintiffs. azstarnet] Continue reading [lawsuit settled in ’08] El Tour de Tucson Collision
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.
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.
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.
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.
Six wrecks in the past few years? Who is this guy’s insurance company? Continue reading Kandas arrested for negligent homicide
There are a couple of slants in this story by Sarah Fensky appearing in the Phoenix New Times: “It took less than one drink to get Shannon Wilcutt busted for felony DUI“
Cities and the state (ADOT) issue various reports with regard to traffic safety, Continue reading Understanding Collision Summaries
The City of Phoenix became one of the few (only?), places in the US that specifically bans text messaging. I would be much more happy to see a statewide ban — so to the extent that this is being used as leverage against a recalcitrant legislature I think it is a good thing. Continue reading Phoenix Bans Text Messaging
I’m reading Bob Mionske’s excellent book Bicycling & the Law (available from velogear), here is what I distilled out of the section on car insurance and liability systems as it relates to Arizona.
Arizona operates on the traditional “tort liability” system. By comparison, the three other systems used in decreasing order of popularity are: no fault, hybrid, and choice. Continue reading Insurance Considerations