Rich Vail Fund Manager Hits Cyclist And Runs, Gets Off Because Charges Might "Jeopardize His Job"
The rich are different from you and me; they get to hit and run, almost killing a cyclist, but get off without serious charges because it is hard to be money manager for Smith Barney if you have a record. District Attorney Mark Hurlbert is not charging Martin Joel Erzinger with a felony, because "Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger's profession," which is managing billions for rich people.
Dr. Steven Milo, the victim, is not impressed.
Mr. Erzinger struck me, fled and left me for dead on the highway," Milo wrote. "Neither his financial prominence nor my financial situation should be factors in your prosecution of this case."
Dr Milo's lawyer notes that the accident had some pretty serious job implications for his client:
He will have lifetime pain,' his lawyer Harold Haddon told the court. His ability to deal with the physical challenges of his profession - liver transplant surgery - has been seriously jeopardized.'
According to the Vail Daily,
Milo was bicycling eastbound on Highway 6 just east of Miller Ranch Road, when Erzinger allegedly hit him with the black 2010 Mercedes Benz sedan he was driving. Erzinger fled the scene and was arrested later, police say.
Erzinger allegedly veered onto the side of the road and hit Milo from behind. Milo was thrown to the pavement, while Erzinger struck a culvert and kept driving, according to court documents.
Erzinger drove all the way through Avon, the town's roundabouts, under I-70 and stopped in the Pizza Hut parking lot where he called the Mercedes auto assistance service to report damage to his vehicle, and asked that his car be towed, records show. He did not ask for law enforcement assistance, according to court records.
At Cyclelicious, Richard Masoner is organizing a boycott of a race in Vail next August.
At Change.org, a petition has been started, asking DA Hurlburt "Don't drop felony charges against hit-and-run wealth manager."
Traffic laws exist to motivate all drivers to act in a manner that is safe for other users of the road, including pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers. To those of us who rely on bicycles for transportation and recreation, enforcement of laws that ensure our safety on the road is vital.
The enforcement of traffic laws should not differ depending on a driver's ability to write a check, but rather on the ability of the law to motivate drivers to drive safely. What Martin Joel Erzinger is accused of doing is clearly criminal, but dropping felony charges will set a message to drivers that the penalties for neglecting the welfare of others on the road, causing life-altering injury, and showing no concern for the victim might not be as serious as the law indicates.
Read the petition here.
A hundred years ago, Author Anatole France wrote that "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread." The rich have always been treated differently in the courts. But this is just so blatant; you or I would not have "job implications" taken into account if we did a hit and run.
In the New York Times today, Nicolas Kristof says that America is turning into a banana republic with its extremes of distribution of wealth. Now it also appears to have become a kangaroo court for the same reason.
More on Cyclist/ Automobile "Interactions."
What Some Drivers Think About Cyclists in Tucson
Charlie Prinsep: Another Dead Cyclist
Former Attorney General in Cyclist/Driver "Altercation"
How To Turn Your Car Into A Clunker: Kill a Cyclist
Driver Sues Dead Cyclist for Damage To His Audi
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