[lawsuit settled in ’08] El Tour de Tucson Collision

[Update Oct 19, 2010: major lawsuit settlement County and El Tour organizer, $3.5Million to Steube and several other injured plaintiffs. azstarnet]

Update Dec 1, 2008: According to news reports (or here) the “person of interest” has been identified, and a search warrant served on him. Further, the reports states that the Sheriff’s office is still investigating and the Pima County Attorney has not received the case yet. The whole a-bomb angle makes me cynically wonder if that’s just part of the value of hiring a PR consultant, er… I mean attorney.
Update Dec 19, 2008: William Arthur Wilson was indicted by a grand jury with one class 2 felony, leaving the scene of an accident involving serious physical injury. This means that the prosecutor believes Wilson is “responsible” for the collision — otherwise it would be a class 3.
Update May 6, 2009
This is rather disappointing: Wilson plead guilty to “attempted” leaving the scene, according to the Tucson Citizen. I didn’t even know there was such a thing, this makes it a less serious crime (it straddles the least serious felony, and the most serious misdemeanor). I don’t see anything that would indicate the hit-and-run was “attempted”; this seems like an inappropriate action for the prosecutor to take — I get that he’s old and all that… but leniency is something for a judge to decide, and the prosecutor shouldn’t be phoneying up the charges.
On happier news, Eric Post via tusconbikelawyer is reporting that Gary’s condition is improving. (and that his medical bills so far are well over $1M!)
Update June 22, 2009Wilson was sentenced today, according to reports at Erik Ryberg’s tusconbikelawyer.com , “Bottom line: no jail time, 3 years of probation, he never drives again and he is to remain in an assisted living center in Georgia”

There was a serious collision between a vehicle that turned left into a pack of cyclists participating in the Nov 22, 2008 El Tour de Tucson.

Gary L. Stuebe of Surprise, AZ received a serious head injury and remains hospitalized in serious condition. Numerous other injuries were described as non-life threatening.

After the collision, witnesses said the driver stopped, got out of his car, looked around a little, and then… drove off!

A driver doing such a grave error as to drive into a pack is probably impaired (visually, mentally, DUI or otherwise). That being as it may, the driver is undoubtedly selfish, irresponsible and committed a crime by driving off.

Then on Wednesday, it was reported that the man, 91 year old, turned himself in through his attorney. The same report stated that the Pima county attorney will decide what to do, as soon as Friday (but I’m writing this on Sunday, so I suppose nothing happened yet).

As is usually the case, suspected car-criminals are handled with kid gloves: “Though the person of interest met detectives, he answered no questions about the collision, (sheriff Lt.) Woolridge said. He said the man, neither charged nor cited, was allowed to go home”. Heck he may even be able to keep his name out of the papers entirely! (edit: he apparently did; the name of the convicted driver was never printed as far as I ever found out)

Regardless of fault in a collision — §28-661, hit-and-run involving a serious injury is a serious crime — a class 2 or 3 felony.

Varying accounts relating to the traffic control person at the intersection will undoubtedly be used to cast doubt on the driver’s negligence, e.g. the deputy directing traffic at the intersection was dealing with a different motorist during the time of the collision“.  This would, or perhaps I should say should, have no bearing on any hit-and-run (it would only affect the penalty).

4 thoughts on “[lawsuit settled in ’08] El Tour de Tucson Collision”

  1. Regardless of the man’s past affiliation with the A-bomb project and his age, and even the specifics of the sheriff’s involvement, as you’ve pointed out, the hit-and-run involving serious injury is a class 2 (or 3) felony by the ARS. Period. Even ignoring the issue that as the driver of the vehicle he is still responsible for the accident, this man MUST be charged. It is obscene to believe that this heinous incident may get swept under the carpet whether because of the person’s age, background, or that the victim was a cyclist.

    As an avid cyclist in town, I would love to know how I and other outraged cyclists can demand action from the sheriffs and CA. We need to unite and demand that Tucson support its strong and growing bicycling community.

    Thank you

  2. Hi my name is Shannon and Gary is my cousin, he is married to my cousin Angela and they have 3 boys between them. Everyday we pray that Gary gets better and can recover fully so he can enjoy the rest of his life with his family and his wife! Each day is a challenge and the recovery is distant, I DO NOT care what this guy did for the USA how many years ago I CARE about what he did to my family and all the other families involved! He should have had his license taken away a LONG time ago and he SHOULDN’T have left the scene!! He COMPLETELY deserves what he gets!

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