I had missed this when it happened, though it was reported in the media. I learned about it while hearing the victim’s mother speak at the Distracted Driving Summit at the state capitol yesterday.
Nov 2, 2016 ~ 6:30pm. Victim Chloe Schneider, 16/F was struck from behind by a 22/F driver on Yuma Road near Tuthill, Buckeye, AZ. Chloe was training for an upcoming (MTB) event. (If i remember what I heard correctly, the victim’s sister was also involved?)
I don’t know what “criminal charges are possible” means; but once more-serious criminal charges have been ruled out — cases where a same-direction motorist drifts causing a rear-end collsion with a bicyclist in a bike lane (or a shoulder), on its face, should trigger a misdemeanor “causing death by moving violation” charge, see arizona-already-has-a-vulnerable-user-law
Rest assured the authorities are dealing harshly with the inattentive driver who caused a serious injury; she gets a traffic ticket “The driver of the Kia will be cited…”. That the driver will be immediately cited indicates police aren’t even bothering to look at any more serious charges — this distracted driver is facing 2nd Degree murder charges, exactly how are they different? He wasn’t looking at the road. According to the present story, something in the rear seat distracted this driver; somehow causing her to suddenly veer. So, this yields nothing more than a traffic citation — what constitutes recklessness. Endangerment/assault/aggravated assault — these are apparently not within the ken of the Phoenix PD, and/or prosecutor(s). “A person commits endangerment by recklessly endangering another person”. “A person commits assault by…recklessly causing any physical injury”. “A person commits aggravated assault if the person commits assault …and… causes serious physical injury to another”
It may be helpful to review the law referred to below by DPS; it is what’s known as the “Basic Speed Law”, in Arizona, it is
§28-701 Reasonable and prudent speed; prima facie evidence; exceptions
A. A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing. A person shall control the speed of a vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with any object, person, vehicle or other conveyance on, entering or adjacent to the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to exercise reasonable care for the protection of others…
In other words, if you run into something or someone you are not supposed to, you have violated the basic speed law; the infraction in that case is referred to as something to the effect of “failure to control speed”.
Recently in the wake of the death of DPS officer Tim Huffman due to what appears to be blatant distracted driving… and this being distracted driving awareness month; Arizona DPS is running a crackdown and general media campaign, and has released some Arizona numbers on distracted driving. Here is the DPS press release; a news story is pasted below.
summary: distraction of any kind is associated with about 1 in 10 crashes (1,160 out of ~ 10,000 crashes reviewed); and cell use was the cause of distraction in about one-quarter of those crashes (127 of the 1,160). SO DON’T JUST DWELL ON CELL PHONES. Continue reading DPS stats shed light on distracted driving→
[2/6/2015 A Yuma county jury found the driver guilty of negligent homicide, a class 4 felony, along with several other endangerment charges. yumasun.com I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it’s unprecedented for a prosecutor to bring, and get conviction, on any homicide charge against a driver not suspected of being impaired. Note that the “defense had also argued that is not against the law to use a cell phone while driving” claim did not win the day; he was convicted anyway. ]
[Update Sept 2014; trial should have been going on but has been delayed due to defense attorney’s medical condition reports the yumasun.com ]