Biker down

Let’s start at the beginning: There was an accident during El Tour de Tucson this year.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department is looking for a car that hit a group of bicyclists this morning near the Westward Look Resort before leaving the scene.

About 60 bicyclists were traveling westbound on Ina Road, east of Oracle Road, at about 10:20 a.m. when a car driving eastbound made a left turn into the resort and hit 10 of the bicyclists, said Deputy Dawn Barkman, a Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman. The driver got out of his car and observed the damage to the vehicle and the bicyclists before getting back into his car and fleeing the scene, Barkman said.
Five cyclists were taken to a local hospital with injuries ranging from critical to non-life threatening, she said.

In a word: Nasty.

It is gets hot in Tucson:

An attorney has identified a “person of interest” relating to the El Tour bicycle collision, deputies say.

Investigators confirm they also have the car that may have been used in the hit and run in Saturday’s El Tour de Tucson.

The driver turned in front of bicyclists as they were riding downhill on Ina Road near Westward Look Saturday.

Ten bicyclists collided with the car. Five had to be taken to the hospital.

One, Garu Stuebe, from Surprise, Arizona, was critically injured.

He is now in a Phoenix hospital, in a medically-induced coma, after undergoing surgery yesterday to remove part of his skull and some brain tissue.

Witnesses say at the time of the accident, the elderly driver got out of his car, surveyed the accident, then got back into his car and drove off.

This is the latest as of Friday, December 5th.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department’s investigation of a hit-and-run bicycle crash involving El Tour de Tucson riders went to the Pima County Attorney’s Office on Friday afternoon.

Deputy Dawn Barkman said the sheriff’s investigation was “inconclusive” and the county attorney will decide if criminal charges will be brought in the incident.

A 91-year-old motorist, William Arthur Wilson, was identified as a “person of interest” in the Nov. 22 collision that injured at least five El Tour de Tucson bicyclists. His name was in a search warrant filed in Superior Court.

I have absolutely no sympathy for anyone who behaves in this manner. For those of you who know my personal story, this should come as no surprise.

Mr. Wilson was involved in an accident, he stopped his car, he got out and took a look at the damaged people lying on the ground, and then he made the decision to simply drive away.

The relevant Arizona statute reads as follows:

28-661. Accidents involving death or personal injuries; failure to stop. . .

A. The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of a person shall:

1. Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the accident scene as possible but shall immediately return to the accident scene.

2. Remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of section 28-663.

B. A driver who is involved in an accident resulting in death or serious physical injury as defined in section 13-105 and who fails to stop or to comply with the requirements of section 28-663 is guilty of a class 3 felony, except that if a driver caused the accident the driver is guilty of a class 2 felony.

Mr. Wilson clearly violated state law. He made a choice. He got in his car and he drove away. And he should be held accountable for his actions.

I got this email yesterday from Scott Blanchard, a cyclist in Tucson:

From: S.B.
Subject: Injured El Tour Rider
Hi Everybody,

In an attempt to persuade the Pima County Attorney’s Office to take action against the driver that hit and injured many riders in El Tour we have formulated a letter asking for such. So many times issues like this get swept under the rug and ultimately are ignored completely. We owe it to the cyclists and families to do anything we can to help. I’m not sure jail is appropriate for the driver but certainly his driving privilege needs to be revoked and he should be held financially responsible for medical bills accumulated by the family. The most seriously injured rider will incur millions of dollars of medical cost and will have ongoing related expenses the rest of his life.

If you feel compelled to help please print and sign the letter and Snail Mail it to the PCAO. The contact and address is listed on top of the letter. Please feel free to mail it as or customize it better represent your sentiments.

Please forward this to anyone you think may be interested in helping.

Thanks and be safe out there.

Scott Blanchard
Pyramid Coaching &
Eclipse Racing

Download the word .doc here: pcao_letter.

All I ask is that you think about downloading that letter. Just think about it.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

13 thoughts on “Biker down

  1. Alright. I’m a lawyer, but I’m going to dispense with looking at the statute, and appeal to common sense and ask a simple question:

    If this guy hit someone just standing in the middle of the road, he’d be strapped to the electric chair right about now.

    Why, when you put the accident victim on a bike, it somehow becomes an issue whether a driver of a 2,000+ lb. metal death missle should be held responsible for the horrible damage he has caused?

    If my Grandfather did this, I’d cry and promise to visit him in jail. I’d never use his age as an excuse. If you thought it okay to drive, then suffer the consequences because you were wrong, like the rest of us, Old Man.

    Which, btw, this age thing is all bullshit. Check the carnage, damage to your precious vehicle, drive away, lawyer up, and THEN call the cops? You knew exactly what you did, you “Senile” Old Fuck.

    And I hope you totaled the fucking car of your dreams, just for good measure.

    My heart and prayers to those who were hit.

  2. Hunt down every one of that old cocksucker’s family. Slaughter them one by one in the most grisly manner imaginable. Make him watch it. Let him hear the anguished cries of his loved ones. Then send him on his way. Fuck the law, and fuck a lawyer. So many tits on a bull. The time has passed for that shit. Now it’s time for justice.

  3. While I would never condone physical violence, I will simply point out a basic fact that a person is incapable of driving without a vehicle.

    Things happen to cars all the time.
    They get stolen, vandalized, blown up . . . .

  4. I’m no lawyer so i have no clue as to how any of this would work, but what about a civil suite? When you ask the state to prosecute someone to the fullest extent of the law in a criminal case the only thing I can imagine them (the state) doing is imprisoning the person. In the end this is essentially fucking the victim twice over. First there was the hit and run to which the initial damage was incurred, and next the victims and everyone else for that matter have to pay for the accused to sit in a prison cell. How does this help anyone?

    This is where my argument for a civil case would come from to which financial restitution could be sought. This seems like the only helpful solution as far as I can tell.

  5. Cars can be replaced. And money is just money. A million dollars is a drop in the bucket in cases like this and it will never make a broken body whole again. When they kill us, we need to kill them back. It’s the only way we’ll ever be able to stop the slaughter.

  6. Age is not an excuse. Hunt him down with a pedal wrench. The big blue Park one. This stuff makes me real angry, as a cyclist that lived in the geezer populated hell of florida for five years. I had too many close calls and watched a friend get hit by an old lady. When are we going to have a nationally mandated age limit for drivers licences. I dont care how well you can hear or see , you are losing reflex time everyday. We will never be respected in this country because cycling is not our culture. Arogant old fuck.

  7. Sucks getting old, but I do agree that in this case he was ‘coherent’ enough to drive in the first place; ‘aware’ enough to know he hit someone and get out and made the decision to flee the scene of an accident.

    If it were you or I we would be in the slammer faster than shit thru a goose.

    Sorry gramps, no changing the law because you’re old. You get to do janitor duty in the hospital where those guys are until you die, fucker. Make that fucker do hard labor. Get him to turn a wrench for the last few breaths of his miserable old coot life for no fucking pay.

    Here’s a thought… If gramps drove thru the local football team, stopped and then left the scene how much of a STINK do you think they’d make over THAT? A whole lot more than this. Then ask what the difference is. Hit and run is hit and run.Breaking the law has consequences for EVERYONE, not just ‘bad guys’.

    Damn… this is making the tapioca rise in my gullet.


  8. Ryan @3 stated “Things happen to cars all the time.
    They get stolen, vandalized, blown up . . . .”

    And in Tucson, cars do get blown up:

    Now I don’t condone violence towards living creatures, but blowing up an unoccupied car is just a major escalation of vandalism, no?

    Sad thing is this may be another case of someone who never should have been on the road in the first place. Hopefully he has some major assets that can be drained to try and help those he hurt.

    It would be interesting to see how often bike/car accidents result in charges compared with car/car, car/person, car/nothinginparticular situations.

  9. I know a guy whose 90 year-old father recently had a few drinks, blew a stop sign, totaled two vehicles (thankfully no injuries) and limped back home in his smashed vehicle. The State of Oregon called the old coot on the carpet and … wait for it … suspended his license for one year.

  10. The basic elements of this case — driver hits cyclist, gets out to inspect vehicle, laments damage to vehicle as victim is lying on pavement, then drives away and is subsequently apprehended — have already played out once in Tucson, and only as long ago as last August.

    What happened to the driver? Well, Tucson’s finest called him up and left a message on his voicemail. He never returned their call so they dropped the case, leaving the cyclist on the hook for his medical bills and property damage. You can check this story out at I’ve posted the police report up there too.

    The problem in Tucson is pervasive and chronic. Our law enforcement seems institutionally indifferent to basic issues of public safety when it comes to cyclists. I do not personally believe that cyclists enjoy even the most basic protection of the Tucson Police Department, and I’ve got the examples and police reports to prove it.


  11. Flaherty, for a non-lawyer, you’ve basically got it right. The criminal case doesn’t do anything DIRECT to help the accident victims. The only direct result is the offender is pulled off the streets, thrown in jail where, besides playing someone’s bitch, he cant get behind the wheel of another car and inflict damage on yet more riders.

    The INDIRECT consequence of a criminal conviction is that it makes the civil case pretty much a slam-dunk. In a civil case, in order to win, you need to prove two things: (a) liability (you did what I accuse you of doing), and (b) damages (your actions caused me X damage). Since proving CRIMINAL liabilty (innocent until proven guilty) is harder than proving CIVIL liability (more likely than not you did it), a criminal conviction automatically gets you your proof of liability in the civil trial. In other words, if the Tucson law enforcement community does its job, the injured bikers will only have to prove damages in the civil suit, instead of the added burden of also proving liability. This also makes the insurance companies much more likely to settle before the mess of a trial. All of this is a good result for the cyclists.

    I think the real outrage is that only a criminal conviction delivers JUSTICE. Ask Ron Goldman’s parents. They didn’t want OJ’s money, they wanted his ass in jail. While the money might help the injured cyclists get back to health, justice will not have been done unless the Old Fuck does time.

    Which, all in all, is why I think there’s such outrage about the lax way much of law enforcement treats biker-down cases. How are we somehow less worthy of justice because we were riding a bike when we got hit, instead of playing football (see Bikepunk above) or jaywalking or just picking our noses in the middle of a busy intersection when we got whacked?

    The injured riders might be able to collect in a civil suit, but that’s not true justice.

  12. John, that’s the nub of it. The piggy-piggies need to put down the donut. The states attorney needs to follow through. But it ain’t getting done and things ain’t likely to change without pressure from the public at large. Which ain’t likely to come until the masses change their attitude.