Driver sentenced after controversial plea deal in Vail hit-and-run

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Martin Erzinger was sentenced to a year’s probation and a suspended jail term on Thursday after a Colorado judge accepted a controversial plea bargain in the case of a cyclist who was the victim of a hit-and-run last July.

Erzinger, a Denver-area wealth manager, originally had been charged with a felony and two misdemeanors. But Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlbert forwarded a plea agreement to drop the felony charge [link broken in original] in exchange for guilty pleas to the misdemeanors — careless driving and failure to report an accident — noting that “felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession.”

On Thursday, District Judge Fred Gannett told the victim, New York anesthesiologist Dr. Steven Milo, that the plea bargain was perhaps one that he might not have made, but was not outside the realm of what he considered to be reasonable.

The court found the agreement reasonable, and that is the extent of their discretion in such matters.

I am not so convinced as many of my cycling contemporaries that this was the raw deal it has been painted to be. I will attempt to get my thoughts organized on the matter and put something to paper. I began working on a draft of this idea a few weeks ago, during the build up to my final exams. As you may imagine, it was put on the back burner to simmer awhile while I attended to more pressing matters.

This sorted tale rings deep within me, for obvious reasons.

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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

30 thoughts on “Driver sentenced after controversial plea deal in Vail hit-and-run

  1. A sad day for cyclists everywhere IMHO… though it is good to see the comments in the link being mostly constructive, as to start letter writing and publicity campaigns. Hopefully more awareness and a correction for the obvious wrongs being done come in the near future.

  2. Weak.

    I’m interested to hear your side of it, Jonny, because this sure sounds like money winning the day again.

  3. Kinda wonder what the sentence would be if he had fallen asleep with a gun in his hand and shot some one…

  4. I’m no lawyer but my first thoughts were that hopefully this opens the door to a large civil settlement, and an employed Erzinger will be better able to pay, but…

    Erzinger must have substantial assets so I wonder if the cyclist could have gotten the same substantial settlement even with Erzinger in jail and out of work?

  5. If you were nearly anyone else in the world, I would tell you that you were full of shit, but as a person whose history and experience I respect, I’m not going to do that. I look forward with anticipation to hearing your take on this saga.

  6. …we wait with bated breath for your ‘take’ counselor gianni ‘cuz we, the great unwashed are having a hard time with what we see…

    …so far, this case involves a cyclist & a car driver but it sure looks like a fucking ‘railroad’ job…

  7. What a week for the ultra wealthy! Tax breaks, this jack ass getting off w/ a smile and wink, what’s next?

  8. but AA, trickle down economics tells us that we in the middle class benefit when the rich benefit. Keep telling yourself that the warm, yellow stream they send down upon us is like Veuve Cliquot or maybe Krug, just a little flat and it smells like urea.

  9. I live in Co and was shot by some hunters last year, pretty open and shut. The hunters offered to plea but the DA decided to take them to trial to get a larger punishment.

    The jury found them not guilty, no punishment at all. Same thing could have happened here, leaving the victim in much worse position in terms of recovering damages.

    And yes, if you have more money you get a better outcome…but how is that any difference than any other aspect of life? The justice system is more about keeping society operating than finding out who is right and who is wrong.

  10. This is the same attorney who played hardball in the Leadville 100 impersonation case last year (charged a women with a felony for riding w/another’s number). Glad to see he’s got his priorities straight. Dick!

  11. @Cameron, Don’t forget that he is also the same D.A who attempted to press felony charges against an Australian exchange student for throwing a snowball at a fellow student (I believe). It would seem as if Hurlburt’s career’s most notable points are little more than acts of insanity.

  12. It’s been a while since I annoyed anyone here, so, let’s have a go.

    I think “sorted” doesn’t mean what you think it means, BJ. Didn’t you mean “sordid?” You better clean that shit up before the Bar exam this summer.

    And once again, nice going electing Obama. His latest gaffe? That’s right, an upcoming executive order authorizing the indefinite detention of your friends in Guantanamo.

    As a lifelong republican, even I am offended at the notion of lifelong detention for any human being without charges being filed or a trial. Human rights are inalienable, after all. Even for the bad guys.

    But we all knew going in to this, well, at least conservatives did, that when Barry got into office and had a look at all of the intelligence, he too would decide that what Bush and Cheney were doing with Guantanamo was pragmatic policy.

    That said, the Bush/Cheney/Obama policy of detaining humans forever without laying charges or trial offends inalienable human rights.

    You morons were just stupid enough to vote Obama into office thinking he would change anything for the better.

    He didn’t bring the boys home from Iraq. He has blundered in Afghanistan, the war you libs said was the war that should have been fought. Quagmire, that one. He hasn’t closed Guantanamo and won’t. Ever. Healthcare for everyone…not really. Not if you work for McDonalds or one of the big unions. They were exempted from insuring everyone. Some big wigs are more equal than others. That’s the rub of socialism.

    The coup de gras will arrive when you libs abandon Barry, too.

    How long will you wait?

  13. Smarter, I can’t disagree with anything you said and still I find myself thinking we are 1000 times better off then with Bush/Cheney.

  14. …hey, look, it’s ‘blah, blah, blah’

    …pal, if i’m personally annoyed, it’s certainly not directed at you…hell no…i’m annoyed that we didn’t have the forethought (as a small group of cyclists, as a concerned but fractured political grouping, hell, as a nation even) to write you in & get you on the ballot so that you could direct your wonderfully vast knowledge towards solving the issues that while seemingly insurmountable to those who hold or have held the job, you could undoubtedly solve…

    …maybe next time, ya ???…okay, good, i’m with you there…i’d suggest that you are the man for the job…

    …so listen, ‘blah, blah, blah’, how’s about you save a little of that erudition for actually accomplishing something when it counts rather than exploiting meaningless political discourse with those of us not worthy of carrying your intellectual jock & please, be so kind as to give us your ‘take’ on the subject this post was based upon…

    …we (i) await your informed view regarding a man who’s allowed to run down another man on a bicycle with his new mercedes, all with the support of local politics, simply because he makes a lotta money…

    …btw, you do ride a bicycle, ya ????…

    …thanks, ‘blah-x3’

  15. Wait until after the civil case against Erzinger, after the money is signed over to Milo for the economic and non-economic damages. Then run him over with a Toyota with no plates and leave the scene and burn the car, paint the car with house paint to make sure nobody knows what color it was and don’t forget to remove the serial numbers from the major parts like the engine block, transmission, and differential housing if it’s separate from the transmission (RWD car). You might even want to have the guy that buys the car no be the guy that drives it, so you can have plausible deniability. Buy the car, keep it for a few months then take a vacation for a couple weeks before the hit with lots of pictures to document that you were nowhere near Colorado when the hit went down.

    No, I haven’t been thinking about this for very long, I just know the perfect way to kill and get away with it. It was used against me, only I survived.

  16. …sheesh, opus…if you really wanna get into this, just shoot the prick in the head, pin a note on his chest saying “guy was polluting the gene pool…he couldn’t ‘afford’ to continue living”

    …grind away or seriously torch the serial number area, score the fuck out of the inner barrel so nothing can ever be matched, put the weapon in a canvas bag labeled “vermin eradicator”, take a long ride into the wilderness & find a spot only an archaeologist might discover in 200 years…

    …now, if anybody uses this method, remember, you didn’t hear this idea from me, ‘kay ???…thanx…

  17. bgw— I used to sell equipment to the criminal forensics guys, fascinating stuff. One thing I learned is that 90% of criminals who file off the S/N fail. When a piece of steel is cold-stamped, there is deformation of the grain structure of the steel far deep than the actual stamp mark. The lab guys can recover the S/N about 90% of the time. One guy told me the other 10% are repeat offenders who got sent up the river previously because the weapon they thought was untraceable was in fact totally traceable.

  18. …mikey…so what you’re really saying is, most criminals don’t pay enough attention to detail or apply themselves with enough vigor…

    …i was envisioning literally ‘grinding’ that whole section away so that there would be nothing to recover…

    …i’m sure if i was a nefarious criminal, no matter what part of my agenda was a ‘pass’, there’d be a major ‘fail’ in there to accompany it…

    …think i’ll stick to being a poor-ass bike rider & hopefully i’ll never encounter a prick like erzinger out on the road…

    …on that note, hey…happy, happy…i wish everyone here, posting or commenting a wonderful christmas or a least a honest & warm seasons greetings…

    …no reason not to admit it, drunkcyclist really IS a nice part of my day to day life…thanx all…