Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hitting a jogger will cost you $500. Stealing and killing a dog will cost you $5,000.

Two crime stories at the top of today's Frederick News-Post sit side by side. Both defendants are men, and both face radically different fines.

In the first story, Joshua Wayne Cool has been fined $500 for hitting Elizabeth DiNunzio as she jogged on the side of Old Emmitsburg Highway. Speed and alcohol did not "factor" in the crash. DiNunzio was two weeks from graduating from Mount St. Mary's with a degree in Spanish.

Cool also has to pay $103 in court fees, bringing his bill to a grand total of $603.

Cool was not convicted. At most he faced a year in jail. He plead guilty to failing to exercise care to avoid a pedestrian, and this article wants to emphasize he did it "although he was in his lane of travel when the accident occurred." (Hm. I think the car that hit me in a crosswalk was in its lane of travel too.) Cool's other charges were mostly about insurance, since he drove a truck that belonged to his parents, and his parents didn't insure him. He had his own insurance, however, so those charges were dropped.

So Cool owes $603. He does seem to feel pretty bad about this--and I think he probbably is devastated. Instead I'm annoyed that a girl died and the best the court can come up with is $603. Cool feels significantly worse than the court. I think that's a problem.

The second story details a man who threw a teacup Chihuahua off a bridge last year. Some background: David Michael Beers drove in to a couple's driveway, thinking it was a service road. He needed better cellphone service. Caisha and Tim Wantz asked Beers to leave their driveway (this happened to them a lot). They were going to run some errands and needed to get out anyway. Beers engaged in an argument with the couple, because the phone call was super important, and Beers finally left the driveway. The couple left soon thereafter, and Beers returned. The Chihuahua, Zoey, approached the car. Beers picked her up, drove off, and then tossed her off a bridge.

Beers also plead guilty. He faces 4.5 years in jail and $5,500 fine plus $318 in restitution to the Wantz family. His fine is $5000 more than Cool's! He'll also face three years of probation.

There is a lot of anger here because Beers "deprived the Wantzes of the ownership of their dog...and commited cruelty to Zoey."

What Beers did was obviously unconscionable and cruel, but I don't think depriving DiNunzio's parents of their daughter is easier for DiNunzio's family.

Beers' "punishment" will be determined later. The judge wants to hear from Zoey's owners (who are devastated--I don't want to diminish that) and would like a psychological evaluation.

I hope Beers serves the maximum sentence.

But I also wish there was a little more balance in the justice system's treatment to pedestrians.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dummy Target Practice

I hate this:


I feel icky and annoyed. More a personal issue I guess. The video is part of a campaign by Street Smart, who is trying to prevent accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists. (Which is totally awesome, hooray for Street Smart.)

From DCist:
In a series of dramatic safety demonstrations in Montgomery County this afternoon, "Bobby," a wire-framed dummy the size of a 10-year-old human, is trying to cross the street.

In the first example, a truck traveling at 25 mph (a normal residential speed limit) is able to brake in time to avoid hitting Bobby. A close call, but Bobby is able to walk away.

In the second example, the truck is traveling 35 mph, 10 mph over the speed limit. Bobby is struck hard by the truck and thrown down the street. He has injuries, probably serious ones.

In the third example, the driver is only traveling 5 more miles per hour, 40 mph. But the small speed increase is probably fatal for Bobby. He's again thrown down the road, tumbling over before resting on his back. He's seriously injured, possibly fatally.

Monday, March 8, 2010

D.C. Lets Me Down Forever

That unfortunate, uncomfortable high-pitched noise you hear are the remnants of my screaming from afar. Why am I screaming? Why have I completely lost my shit? GLAD YOU ASKED!

Apparently, in D.C. you can hit a person and leave the scene, and you won't get charged! Which is awesome, because I thought that was the one remaining chance for charging a reckless (and in this case, murderous) motorist! Just kidding! Never mind! It's Frogger for the rest of us, and open season for anything with a vehicle!

A jogger was hit Saturday in the crosswalk. She was left to die, and the driver said he "didn't know" he hit someone. (Hey, when I through that knife in your direction, I didn't think it would hurt you.) And, since the deceased victim "was crossing against the light and wearing headphones" charges won't be filed (via). Sorry for the inconvenience, motorist! Bitch had it coming!

The woman is dead, and the reasons are ridiculous. At least Montgomery County and its incompetent officer of the law didn't fault The Clash's Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg.