On Monday, an 87-year-old man pled guilty to criminally negligent homicide in a crash that killed a cyclist. The crash happened in April, 2012. I wrote about it at the time, and about a memorial ride several area bike clubs staged some weeks later.
We all knew at the time that an older man had been driving the car that killed Verter Ginestra, 54. Verter had been riding on the shoulder of Loop 360, a popular biking route just west of Austin. The road is also a high-speed route that gets drivers through the western suburbs. We were convinced the case would be a slam dunk for the local prosecutor. The driver had pulled his car out of the traffic lane onto the shoulder, because he was upset about having to wait in traffic. He sped up, and hit Verter from behind.
But as weeks went by, nothing seemed to happen. I checked in with riders who were friends of Verter, and they said they had no information about the case. The driver had been charged with criminally negligent homicide with a deadly weapon. But after time passed with no resolution, the case dropped off my radar.
Now, its turns out his attorney and the prosecutor worked out a plea agreement. The driver hasn’t been sentenced as of this writing, but newspaper accounts say he is expected to get five years’ deferred adjudication. In other words, probation.
One of the things the incident spurred on was an increased effort by local cyclists to get the authorities to levy tougher penalties on drivers who kill cyclists. That didn’t seem to happen here, although given the age of the driver, it might be the best that could be hoped for.
Since that fatality, we’ve had others in town. We’re still waiting for stiffer sentences for drivers.
curious to know what becomes of this man’s ability to operate a motor vehicle…if you’re looking for some sense of justice perhaps we should start there
setting the precedent that dangerous operation of a vehicle is grounds for removal of the privilege to operate said vehicle
Cody Johnson was killed by a DWI driver in Austin in Nov. 2012. The driver has yet to be charged in his death. How can you so carelessly and recklessly take a life without reprimand? Austin drivers are getting the message that the lives of cyclists are inferior. So very sad.
Here is the latest on an incident that occurred in January near Fort Collins, CO. It seems incarceration is unlikely even though it was a hit and run resulting in a fatality. There is no mention of potential loss of driving privileges.
Bike Noob says
Yep, that’s disgusting, Bill. It’s pretty clear that drivers are allowed to kill cyclists and get away with it. A hit and run fatality should carry a mandatory jail sentence.