7/11/2009: location listed only as “South Phoenix”, in the early morning hours of Saturday, hit-and-run. Police apprehended Max Ramiro Garcia, 33, in an unrelated traffic stop (speeding). ( azcentral.com, KPHO). was charged with manslaughter and leaving the scene in the death of cyclist Robert Flakes; Superior Court Case Number CR2009-145409 case minutes Continue reading Driver found guilty: South Phoenix Hit-and-run
[Verdict April 12, 2010] The driver who killed Drake Okusako plead guilty, and received a 4-year prison sentence. “On March 1 he (Segebartt) entered guilty pleas before Pima County Superior Court Judge Deborah Bernini to the leaving the scene charge and a reduced negligent homicide charge” Continue reading [verdict] Fatality in Tucson — driver was reportedly “weaving”
A cyclist was killed in Phoenix Friday night; this area is west of the airport and just north of I-17. The victim was later identified: “Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump said 70-year-old Lorenzo Nevares was riding on 7th Avenue just north of Interstate 17 when he was struck around 8:30 p.m” [abc15]
The approx location: On 7th Avenue near Mojave Street, just north of I-17.
That two men were arrested on suspicion of aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of a fatality indicates, I guess, that police believe one of them was the driver that struck and killed the cyclist. Not many other details…
Case Lookup; Nicanor Fuentes-Adame, Case Number: S-0700-CR-2010115214. Defendant plead not guilty to all charges 04/07/2010: Manslaughter, Extreme DUI, hit-and-run w/death.
The other guy mentioned below, Victor Popoca, Case number: S-0700-CR-2010115215 did a plea deal on an aggravated DUI. Which also violated his parole from a previous incident. And he’s had other troubles including speeding+driving with alcohol underage. I’m not sure how or if any of this involves the death of Lorenzo Nevares.
A cyclist was seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver in Mesa in the early-evening timeframe. Monday Aug 24, 2009. Police arrested Benito Gil-Mendoza, 31, on suspicion of aggravated assault and hit-and-run.
The azcentral story says the collision was 6:30p. Sunset that day in Phoenix is 7:03p. No mention of lights was made in either of the news stories.
How will this one play out? After all, three hours is a long time. The suspect will likely deny he was drunk at the time.
Another bicyclist fatality, the fourth fatal Phoenix metro area hit-and-run in just over two months.
See Phoenix hit-and-runs disturbingly similar for a rundown on the other three.
According to MCSO, on 8/15/2009 ~2am three cyclists were EB on Ocotillo Rd ne
ar 228th St, the motorist was WB in the EB lane — i.e. head on. The motorist fled the scene and MCSO later arrested Gary Foshe, 53. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) provides police services to the town of Queen Creek. The name of the suspect is probably actually Gary Lynn Foshee — there is a 53 year old by that name with a civil traffic case in justice court June
of this year (is that in addition to the DUI in Scottsdale 2006, mentioned in the EV Trib article below?).
There are some pictures of a roadside memorial at queencreekevolves. The victim’s name was Russell Jenkins. Pics of the ghostbike memorial here, and here. Continue reading Queen Creek hit-and-run; driver arrested
There has been a third fatal hit-and-run in Phoenix, the third within two months — one in June, one in July and one (so far) in August.
Just after midnight this past Saturday, 52 year old cyclist Charles Waldrop was killed by a hit and run driver who witnesses say was driving at a high rate of speed and swerving. Police say an anonymous tip lead to the apprehension and arrest of 23 y.o. Timothy Kissida after he traded (via the “Cash for Clunkers” program) a light blue 1992 BMW 325i w/damage consistent with hit-and-run. He was booked into the Maricopa County jail and charged with leaving the scene of a fatal collision and tampering with evidence. (KPHO, abc15, azcentral) (CAzBike blog). According to case minutes from 04/08/2010 “The parties anticipate that this matter will resolve prior to Trial.”. Kissida was ultimately sentenced to 10.5 years in prison.
This is disturbingly similar to another incident just 4 weeks ago; also in Phoenix, also in the early morning hours of Saturday, also hit-and-run. In that case, though, police apprehended and was arrested someone soon after the collision. See South Phoenix Hit-and-run for details on that incident.
There was a third nighttime hit-and-run fatality in Phoenix back in June, see Driver confesses to hit-and-run killing
As a note on media coverage; something I normally have complaints about, I have to give credit where it is due — The azcentral.com (and abc15.com carried the same quotes), sourced to police spokesman Sgt. Tommy Thompson was unambiguous: “The cyclist, 52, was riding home from work and was in full compliance with the bicycle laws. He was riding with a bike light and a rear flashing light in the bike lane.” In the June fatality, police said “Police say that Thompson was riding his bike legally”.
Recap of the Criminal Cases
Index to the three, with outcomes, all drivers were caught and were subsequently convicted of various crimes, though the outcome varied quite a bit:
- June incident: driver worked a plea for simple hit-and-run; very brief sentence. Presumably because there was apparently no impairment.
- July incident: driver went to a full trial — found guilty of neg hom among other crimes. Was sentenced to 6 year PLUS a consecutive 3.5 years for the hit-and-run (VERY unusual) — this seems to be his “punishment” for going to trial vs. working a plea deal.
- August incident: driver plead to manslaughter and got 10.5 years. due to plea deal, the hit-and-run he also plead to netted no incarceration.
Marcello Rojas, 43, the driver of a 2006 BMW was stopped for speeding June 9 ~ 10pm — this is unrelated to the crash. At that time he told police “he hit a guy on a bicycle”. According to police the victim, Billy Ray Thompson, was riding westbound on Broadway “perfectly legally” which i took to mean, but the story doesn’t elaborate, that he was properly lighted/reflectored. No dui is suspected.
This is one of a chain of similar fatal hit-and-runs in Phoenix that occurred in summer of 2009.
Superior Court Docket, case number CR2009-138233. According to the minute entry on 2/9/2010 Rojas plead guilty to hit-and-run w/death and was sentenced to 7 weeks in county jail with credit for 52 days already served (which i take to mean, he’s done with jail already); and a year probation.
According to the minute entry that went over the plea deal; apparently by pleading he got 28-661 knocked down to a class 3 felony (leaving the scene of a fatality that was not his fault. Versus a class 2 if it was his fault). Then, for whatever reason, for the purposes of sentencing this is considered a “non dangerous” offense. Which I guess is why it comes with such a piddly sentence.
[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.