Archive for Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lawrence man charged in hit-and-run accident that killed bicyclist

Charges were filed Thursday against a Lawrence man accused in an Oct. 16 hit-and-run accident that resulted in the death of a bicyclist.

November 19, 2009, 12:37 p.m. Updated November 19, 2009, 5:35 p.m.

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Charges were filed Thursday against a Lawrence man accused in an Oct. 16 hit-and-run accident that resulted in the death of a bicyclist.

Joel Hernandez, 21, turned himself in at the Douglas County Jail this morning, said Charles Branson, Douglas County District Attorney. Police allege Hernandez was under the influence of alcohol when he hit 20-year-old Rachel Leek, who was riding a bike just south of 10th and Tennessee streets. Leek died later that day.

Hernandez is charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving the death of a person and failure to report an accident, both felonies; vehicular homicide, a misdemeanor; and improper passing, a traffic infraction.

Branson said the suspect turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The suspect was not arrested when he was located after the accident. Branson said it took more than a month to file charges in the case because his office was gathering information.

“We can’t just immediately jump to a conclusion,” he said.

Prosecutors didn’t charge Hernandez with any alcohol-related crimes, Branson said, because no breath test was given to the suspect.

Hernandez, a graduate of Lawrence High School, was being held in Douglas County Jail on $5,000 bond, pending a Dec. 2 hearing before District Judge Michael Malone.

Defense attorney Al Lopes said Hernandez pulled out of attending classes at Haskell Indian Nations University after realizing “he had some serious issues to deal with as a result of this” case.

According to prosecutors, Hernandez has no criminal history.

Comments

brujablanco 5 years, 8 months ago

Good, now the faux activist of Larryville can let it rest, unless, of course, she is also an expert in courtroom procedure.

Danielle Brunin 5 years, 8 months ago

"Hernandez is charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving the death of a person and failure to report an accident, both felonies; vehicular homicide, a misdemeanor; and improper passing, a traffic infraction."

Leaving the scene and failure to report an accident are felonies, but vehicular homicide is a misdemeanor? Is that correct?

jimmyjms 5 years, 8 months ago

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somedude20 5 years, 8 months ago

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ebyrdstarr 5 years, 8 months ago

rodentgirl, yes vehicular homicide is a misdemeanor. DUI manslaughter is a felony.

sierraclub, the passengers can't be charged with either leaving the scene of an accident (K.S.A. 8-1602) or failure to report an accident (K.S.A. 8-1606).

8-1602 only makes it criminal for the driver to leave the scene. This makes sense if you bother to think about it because only the driver has any physical control over the car. A passenger can yell and scream for the driver to stop all she wants, but she still can't force the car to stop without endangering herself and others.

8-1606 requires a driver to report an accident. The statute only shifts that requirement to a passenger if the driver is physically incapable of reporting the accident. Where the driver remains conscious and alert but simply does not report the accident, there is no legal duty for the passenger to report the accident.

frisbeenation 5 years, 8 months ago

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krisell 5 years, 8 months ago

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ralphralph 5 years, 8 months ago

The law rewards running. They have tried to make it less so, but they failed. The message is that if you run and hide, long enough to avoid a breath or blood test, they can't prove you were drunk. The penalty for running and hiding needs to be adequately severe to provide the incentive to stay. I'm guessing that won't be the outcome in this case, given it's odd and slow handling to date. The message to the DA and the Courts here must be that you have to place severe consequences on running from an accident like this, or the incentive to run remains.

9070811 5 years, 8 months ago

It really pisses me off that so many posts are pulled from the commentary.

Amy Heeter 5 years, 8 months ago

This is a good start but the owner and the passenger need to be chatgred too.

Evan Ridenour 5 years, 8 months ago

"ralphralph (Anonymous) says… The law rewards running. They have tried to make it less so, but they failed. The message is that if you run and hide, long enough to avoid a breath or blood test, they can't prove you were drunk. The penalty for running and hiding needs to be adequately severe to provide the incentive to stay. I'm guessing that won't be the outcome in this case, given it's odd and slow handling to date. The message to the DA and the Courts here must be that you have to place severe consequences on running from an accident like this, or the incentive to run remains."

I would like to point out that it was only recently that the hit and run statute was upgraded to a felony. I think it is asinine how people blame the legal system. Blame your legislature. They are responsible for passing criminal statutes. If you don't like it contact your representatives, make an effort to change the law instead of sitting there whining about it.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 8 months ago

Prosecutors didn't charge Hernandez with any alcohol-related crimes, Branson said, because no breath test was given to the suspect.

---reward for hit-and-run!

sure seems that a couple more charges could be added against Joel.

and, couldn't testimony of one or both of the party princesses be used to charge him with drunk driving?

so, legal minds, if Joel's found guilty on all current charges, given the max sentence to run consecutively, what's that total...about five years with no prior criminal history?

that right?

wow, we really have to hit the legislature, this must change.

Penny0727 5 years, 8 months ago

Eride--It's not at all asinine to blame the legal system. Even when criminal statutes are passed, our local DA doesn't do his job. Animal cruelty--the precursor to human abuse--was upgraded to a felony, but Branson has a chronic history of not charging anyone with animal cruelty or abuse, or he has his assistant DAs plead the cases down to nothing at all. Check the records--you won't find anything against animal abusers under his reign. And if we could throw these dirtbags in jail or prison for their animal abuse, we might be able to avoid their inevitable abuses against people later on down the line.

ebyrdstarr 5 years, 8 months ago

gnome, even with max criminal history, the sentence couldn't get anywhere close to 5 years. And for the felonies, unless he's got some big-time criminal history, he'll be presumptive probation.

artichoke, what would you like the passengers to be charged with? They can't be charged with leaving the scene or failing to report, so what exactly would you propose?

Amy Heeter 5 years, 8 months ago

Al I know is the owner of the car has no remorse for handing the keys to a drunk man nor waiting to report until after Rachel Leek had died. I don't know what the sentance in the end will be but I think Joel is already getting some lessons out of this situation. He has seen that his best friend is not what she seemed for sure. He has dropped out of school by counselor adice until this is resolved so his life is on hold.

Stuart Evans 5 years, 8 months ago

I would think that they would be charged with interfering with an investigation. If you're the witness of a crime and you don't report it, that makes you an accessory.

justsomedude 5 years, 8 months ago

artichokeheart.....thats brandy all right

kmat 5 years, 8 months ago

AreUNorml (Anonymous) says…

I would think that they would be charged with interfering with an investigation. If you're the witness of a crime and you don't report it, that makes you an accessory.


Totally agree! There needs to be something they could be charged with since they encouraged a drunk person to drive (handed him the keys to the car) and didn't bother to call the cops once they had the opportunity. They weren't driving, but they were involved. If there are no current laws that would cover this, we need to make laws that will. Who knows if these idiot passengers will once again let something like this happen. We know they have a history of drinking and driving.

ebyrdstarr 5 years, 8 months ago

The absolute max sentence would be 24 months on the two felonies, if he has max criminal history (which he probably does not) and they are run consecutively. But unless he has a lot of criminal history, he will most likely be looking at probation on these two charges.

Then, the max on the misdemeanor vehicular homicide is one year in county jail.

Arunorml, that is not correct. Witnessing a crime but not reporting it does not make you an accessory.

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

How about giving your keys to a drunk person who then drives and kills someone?

No charges that apply to that situation?

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

How about criminal negligence?

It seems obvious that letting an obviously drunk person drive puts them and others at risk.

ebyrdstarr 5 years, 8 months ago

Kansas doesn't have a criminal negligence statute. They can't be charged with aiding and abetting a DUI if the state can't prove that he was driving drunk.

Evan Ridenour 5 years, 8 months ago

"Penny0727 (Anonymous) says… Eride—It's not at all asinine to blame the legal system. Even when criminal statutes are passed, our local DA doesn't do his job. Animal cruelty—the precursor to human abuse—was upgraded to a felony, but Branson has a chronic history of not charging anyone with animal cruelty or abuse, or he has his assistant DAs plead the cases down to nothing at all. "

Uhh... you obviously don't know what you're talking about. Just because the statute is there doesn't mean the DA will be able to meet the elements of it. It is like in this case, why was he not charged with involuntary manslaughter and instead charged with fleeing the scene of the accident and vehicular homicide? Because those are the criminal offenses that he can prove the elements of.

Why do DAs give plea bargains? There are many reasons but two of the more common ones are that the ability to prove the elements of the criminal offense might not be as strong as the DA would like and that resources are limited. There are only so many resources for a prosecution to go around and trials are expensive compared to a plea bargain.

Both of these issues have much more to do with the legislature then anything else. The legislature defines the elements necessary for a criminal offense (as well as the punishment for an offense) and the legislature provides the funding to the judiciary system. I guess if it is your opinion that our DA is incompetent that is fine but I can say this, my opinion is that you don't know what you're talking about and people who have no idea what they are talking about probably shouldn't act like they know better then an individual who has been educated extensively on the subject matter and practiced the profession for years.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 8 months ago

"About time!! What about the passenger?? "

Who do you think they were "gathering information" from? The passengers were the only real witnesses.

workinghard 5 years, 8 months ago

I hope the family hits the car insurance company for every penny they could get for medical and funeral expenses. At least it would hit the passenger in the pocket book for future car insurance payments. If the DA could just find some sort of misdemeaner at least to get her on, it would show up on background checks for jobs and rental applications, making her life a little harder. It's better than nothing.

kewlb 5 years, 8 months ago

I REMEMBER READING THAT SHE HAD BEEN OUT AT A BAR DANCING THAT NIGHT,WAS SHE DRUNK OR BEEN DRINKING/ALSO WAS SHE OBEYING ALL THE TRAFFIC LAWS,SHE WAS OUT ON A BICYCLE AT THE WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING, WAS SHE WEARING PROPER REFLECTIVE CLOTHING?HOW COME NONE OF THESE ISSUES HAVE BEEN DISCUSSED?IM SORRY FOR WHAT HAS HAPPENED BUT THERE IS ALWAYS 2 SIDES 2 EVERY STORY.

GodsChild22 5 years, 8 months ago

wouldn't you all like to stop talking if you knew Brandy? I know her. Did you guys happen to know that joel had the keys before he even got drunk. Brandy always give him the keys cuz he has bigger pockets before they go out. They didnt give the keys to a drunk person. And did you know that he wouldn't give them back when she asked for them back at all. Maybe if you know brandy so well, then you would talk to her directly and not just make a whole bunch of dumb assumptions. She told him to go back but he didnt and he wasn't drunk when he had the keys in the first place. The only reason they know everything is because of her and the other passengers testimony, so its unfortunate they you all sit here and act like you know her, but don't get the story from her. And yes she does have remorse for what happened. I've seen it first hand.

kewlb 5 years, 8 months ago

WELL BRANDY IS GUILTY.CAN YOU READ,BECAUSE THERE IS THE WORD "WAS" IN MY COMMENT.ALSO ALL U CAN DO IS ASSUME HERNANDEZ WAS INTOXICATED BECAUSE THERE IS NO PROOF.ALL THE COMMENTS ARE JUST THROW HIM IN JAIL FOR WHAT HE DID BUT WHAT IF SHE WASNT VISIBLE,OR WHAT IF SHE WAS WEAVING IN AND OUT OF THE LANE.AND SO ON AND ON AND ON.

damnitimpissed 5 years, 8 months ago

"bearded_gnome (Anonymous) says…

so, legal minds, if Joel's found guilty on all current charges, given the max sentence to run consecutively, what's that total…about five years with no prior criminal history?

that right?

wow, we really have to hit the legislature, this must change."

Even if five years in prison were a possible sentence, it would be entirely unreasonable.

Five years in prison is a lot of taxpayer money. It is also a very long time for something that was an accident. Yes, his behavior was reckless and great care should be taken to ensure that he never takes such a risk again, as well as taking action to discourage drunk driving in general - not by making examples out of people, because most of us could have, at one point or another, caused such an accident - but by addressing the causes of the behavior.

Here's what I would do if I were in charge.

  1. Make him do a few thousand hours of community service.

  2. Put him on strict probation with regular counseling and make damn sure he doesn't drive at least until he has proven that the lesson has been learned.

  3. Give him a large, large fine for restitution, with which the family can do whatever they wish.

  4. Improve evening public transit options - cab stands, buses, etc.

  5. Put CHECKPOINTS downtown, EVERY weekend (at least).

It is counterproductive and stupidly expensive to put someone in jail for that many years for something that was not intentional. The goal of any judgement should be improvement of society as a whole; community service does a much better job of that than jail time, which unfortunately tends to turn decent people into bad people, and bad people into worse.

mudd 5 years, 8 months ago

I agree with Kewlb. Though it was a horrible accident and many are hurt from it, Lawrence is one of the worst cities for bikers not following the rules of the road. I would also like to know what the results were, or if they gave a blood test to determine if she had been drinking. It is illegal to operate a bicycle while drinking, as we all know.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

If he was not impaired did he willfully and knowingly hit the cyclist?

If he was not impaired did he willfully and knowingly leave the scene of the alleged crime/accident?

If he was not impaired did he willfully and knowingly decide to leave the victim lying on the ground?

thewayitis 5 years, 8 months ago

I was driving down Tennessee the other night and almost hit a bicyclist stone cold sober. I wouldn't have run, but he would have been dead just the same. Have lights on bikes. You going to throw me in jail for that??

Kyle Chandler 5 years, 8 months ago

Im starting to consider that the entire city of Lawrence is guilty.

Lawrence was the passenger!

Lawrence should be charged with criminal negligence

More Laws!

This is so pathetic...you people should be ashamed

kewlb 5 years, 8 months ago

Hey kylechandler,i dont live in lawrence,so as ,many that comment im sure may not also.and when u have an "accident" that may leave another injured or worse would you still be wanting the "public"(not just lawrence)wanting to throw you in jail and not considere the acts of the other party?

kewlb 5 years, 8 months ago

Just for everybody that says he was impaired,just because somebody says they were drinking does not mean they were legally drunk.that is why they have breath and other tests to determine that,which he was not given.

melissa stewart 5 years, 8 months ago

The people who were involved/witness can testify to Hernandez being intoxicated that night. I am sure his best friend had a moral conflict and chose to do the right thing. The fact is there are many witnesses to this case and are having a hard time coming forward. As soon as they do there will be justice for Ms. Leek.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 8 months ago

so according to Damnit and Kewl, Lawrence is to blame, not the drunk @$$ who hit her, knew from the damage of the car he'd hit her, drove off and left her to die, drove off to sober up and avoid the blood alcohol test?

public transit? somebody's guilty again of dragging their own stinking personal agenda onto the story of a catastrophic and entirely preventable death of a beautiful young woman!

frankly, I don't care if she had blood alcohol of 2.2, no reflectors. none of that caused the slimebag to hit her, drive off, leaving her to die without summoning help or comfort.


presumptive probation? I hope that at least includes revocation of his driver's license!

Personally, I think Lawrece should start a campaign putting up posters with faces and names of people who shouldn't be driving again: Jake Deckert; Joel Hernandez. besides pushing the legislature to change laws that now favor those who avoid blood alcohol tests, maybe we need some direct action here in Larryville, too.

grimpeur 5 years, 8 months ago

bearded_gnome (Anonymous) says…

"Personally, I think Lawrece should start a campaign putting up posters with faces and names of people who shouldn't be driving again: Jake Deckert; Joel Hernandez."

Kyle Van Meter (Deputy Dillon's killer)

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

If the driver claims he was not impaired.....

If he was not impaired did he willfully and knowingly hit the cyclist?

If he was not impaired did he willfully and knowingly leave the scene of the alleged crime/accident?

If he was not impaired did he willfully and knowingly decide to leave the victim lying on the ground?

If he was not impaired did he have a strong dislike for cyclists?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps the City of Lawrence should be green enough to provide two " Pedestrian - Cyclists Safe Pathways".

Create pathways on two of the most dangerous streets for both pedestrians and cyclists aka Tennessee and Kentucky. The right of way is available aka existing sidewalks and there is a ton of bike and pedestrian traffic in these areas at all hours.

  1. Widen sidewalks on the eastside of each street to accommodate both cyclists and pedestrians.
  2. Light them up
  3. Provide cross walk signs and markings at each intersection from 7th to 19th to increase awareness of drivers
  4. Decrease speed by 5 mph from 7th to 19th
  5. In the process the city is making it safer for women = rape prevention.
  6. Name these pathways after Rachel.

The investment is small compared to the safety that would provided. KU students are worth the investment considering the number of jobs they generate and tax dollar revenue they generate. Students bring life and culture to Lawrence,Kansas.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

Thursday at 43rd and Main street KCMO there was a safety reminder at the corner in the form of a bicycle.

LOOK was spelled out. Bike wheels represented the O's. The L and K were attached to the bike frame at either side of the wheels. The primary color was orange.

parrothead8 5 years, 8 months ago

damnitimpissed (Anonymous) says… Five years in prison is a lot of taxpayer money. It is also a very long time for something that was an accident.

An "accident"? When someone gets in a car, drives drunk, and kills someone else, that's not an accident. Are you proposing that we stop sending people to jail for committing heinous crimes because it costs a lot of money? I agree that it's stupid to send someone to jail for having a bag of weed or for stealing a bag of chips, but this guy killed someone, and it wasn't an accident. Put prisoners to work, let them pay for their own time.

brandy_is_guilty If Branson had rushed to press charges in the heat of the moment (anyone remember what the response threads were like to the initial stories on here?) before investigations were complete and all the evidence was processed, and Hernandez had gotten off on a technicality, would you have been leading the mob down the street with pitchforks? It's absolutely stupid to be angry that it took a month. Rachel Leek deserves some justice, and I guarantee you the month it took to press charges didn't seem very long from her vantage point. Get over yourself.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

Sales tax are available as we speak. This one time initial construction could be taken from the existing 1994 one cent sales tax.....no problem.

Why not for an inner urban "Pedestrian - Cyclists Safe Pathway"?

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

For brandy's friend,

She should feel bad, but her remorse will not bring Rachel Leek back to life.

I have some suggestions for brandy (and others like her):

Keep your keys to yourself.

If you are going out drinking and don't have a designated driver, assume that no one will be capable of driving well, and plan accordingly.

Don't get into a car when the driver is drunk.

And, for the folks who continue to think everyone drives drunk, I (and many others, I'm sure) have never gotten behind the wheel impaired.

If it is in fact as common as you think, it's a huge problem, and we should do something about it - immediate and stiffer penalties for DUI come to mind.

If not, then it should not be used to excuse this sort of behavior.

damnitimpissed 5 years, 8 months ago

Parrothead8: an accident is also defined as an unforeseen event resulting from carelessness. Look it up. I think we can safely say that Hernandez wasn't driving around looking for a biker to hit, also we can safely say he didn't purposefully hit Leek upon seeing her on a bike. He likely didn't see her AT ALL.

Now, what he probably did intentionally was drive drunk and leave the scene of a crime, though one can't really prove the former. A heinous crime worth five years? Come on... It would be smarter and cheaper to never issue the man a driver's license as long as he lives. Or what, send him to prison and hope he is "rehabilitated". LOL.

kidicarus 5 years, 8 months ago

"4. Improve evening public transit options - cab stands, buses, etc."

This is by far the most constructive comment on this board.

Also, for what it's worth, the DA doesn't decide questions of bond or sentencing. He makes recommendations that may or may not be followed by a judge.

TheHeath 5 years, 8 months ago

Unfortunately we are all victims of accidents. It would be so hard to of lost somebody very special, but Joel has always been the kindest soul. He is young & going to have to live with the repercussions of this forever.

jessrs 5 years, 8 months ago

i understand everyones rage- a person has died and it is due to a lack of judgment-poor judgement..but when i look at this little boy i do not see a criminal i see a scared to death little boy (little inside-big on the out) - i agree he should be punished but disagree that we should hang him... he has made a horrible mistake but he deserves a second chance-everyone does. we have all driven when we shouldn't have at one time- it could have happened to anyone-but it happened to him. again.. drinking and driving never mix.

gsxr600 5 years, 8 months ago

"An “accident”? When someone gets in a car, drives drunk, and kills someone else, that's not an accident."


Merriam Webster defines an accident as:

1 a : an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance b : lack of intention or necessity 2 a : an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance

This was an accident. There was no intention to hit her whatsoever.

phoggyjay 5 years, 8 months ago

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purplesage 5 years, 8 months ago

How on earth can leaving the scene and failure to report an accident be felonies when vehicular homicide is a misdemeanor??????? That sets compliance with the law over the death of a person. Sorry, to panic and to run is in no way more serious than hitting someone with a motor vehicle (under the influence, no less) and causing the death of a human being.

I'm not trying to divert the attention from the tragedy. But the law is backwards. Hitting someone, drinking and getting behid the wheel while intoxicated - serious. The other things - less serious. They should be aggravating factors to the actual crime.

jayhawk166 5 years, 8 months ago

Didnt he win home comming king at LHS in 2005?

purplesage 5 years, 8 months ago

Pywacket - Your hypothetical is interesting. I think the alcohol ratchets up the charge. My point is simply that killing someone is the more serious issue. An accident isn't a crime. Negligence and irresponsiblity make for something more than an accident. That is the point at which criminal charges should enter into the picture. Drinking and driving qualifies as negligent, irresponsible and criminal behavior.

beastshawnee 5 years, 8 months ago

I wouldn't ride a bike in this town. I don't feel safe driving my car in this town. Lawrence is full of the most careless drivers I've ever seen. (And I've driven DC and Atlanta) I approve of bikes, and am cautious around them, but they don't mix well with cars on a good day. Perhaps we ought to get rid of the cars inside city limits. Imagine if I had to get my fat butt on a bike every day to get to work. Your butt too...

Amy Heeter 5 years, 8 months ago

jessrs (Anonymous) says… }"i understand everyones rage- a person has died and it is due to a lack of judgment-poor judgement..but when i look at this little boy i do not see a criminal i see a scared to death little boy (little inside-big on the out) - i agree he should be punished but disagree that we should hang him… he has made a horrible mistake but he deserves a second chance-everyone does. we have all driven when we shouldn't have at one time- it could have happened to anyone-but it happened to him. again.. drinking and driving never mix."

Good that Joel is scared, he should be. Hopefully he is scared enough that he will change the behaviors that brought him here. Joel has had his fair share of lesson opportunities in the past and did not heed them. Just because someone is a "nice guy" does not alleviate them of personal responsiblity. :Prisons are filled with "nice guys" who made serious errors in judgement.

Kris_H 5 years, 8 months ago

Since he probably can't be made to do a lot of prison time, I'd like to educate him about the errors of his ways by making him do community service in a morgue. Even if it's just washing the blood off the autopsy tables.

There he can observe up close and personal the results of his choices, and maybe he'll actually learn something.

Monica Miller 5 years, 8 months ago

Well, at least the DA gave him a month to save up his bond money so he could get right out of jail! Almost like it never even happened for him!

NoConservativesNoLiberals 5 years, 8 months ago

For everyone saying he's such a nice guy, I saw him act like a jerk in Curtis Hall and ask for special treatment because he forgot his ID, then get mad because he was treated like every other student. I've seen him delay waiting lines because he is busy chatting away holding up the line, only thinking of himself, and seen him drunk AFTER this accident. Its beyond me why hardly any of us wanted to physically harm him. I thought we'd all want to lynch him for reinforcing that negative stereotype about us. He should fry, and so should "remorseful" Brandy who has also been out partying since this happened and saying things like, "I don't deserve this", making it all about her like always.

Amy Heeter 5 years, 8 months ago

"See, you don't have to think about doing the right thing. If you're for the right thing, then you do it without thinking." Maya Angelou; I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

GodsChild22 5 years, 8 months ago

Brandy had no control of the car when joel left. So she really should be punished for him running away form the scene? What about the third person that was in the car. Do you even think about her? No, you dont because you claim that you know both of them and obviously you don't like them but don't think about the third person at all. She was in the car too when this all happened. She had a phone too. Couldn't she have called? Stop directing everything on them two and not remember that there was a third person in the car that could have called. You do not have to live with what happened, they do, including the people that had no control over the car. Why don't you look at the entire picture instead of blaming two people that you don't like just because you dont know the other person. You all assume you know what happened and you don't. If you know Brandy then ask her what happened instead of assuming you know. By the way, Joel carried Brandy's phone too that night. But there was a third phone that could have called!!!

Psychohontas 5 years, 8 months ago

Joel, Your Auntie loves you. Keep your head up. You will be in my prayers. Always and forever.

somebodynew 5 years, 8 months ago

Smitty - I applaud you on this board. You bring up legitimate points that can be discussed reasonably. I remember that case "very" well. A couple of things to consider - the laws have changed since then and the prosecution of those laws have changed since then, which may make the difference in how things have transpired recently in similar cases. Secondly, the case you cite drug on for years and caused great angst and dis-contentment in the community for years. That may have influenced the judge (don't know just speculation).

Anyway, if I read your posts correctly you are calling for the same treatment for the driver in this case. If that is so, Thank You.

damnitimpissed 5 years, 8 months ago

bearded_gnome (Anonymous) says… "so according to Damnit and Kewl, Lawrence is to blame, not the drunk @$$ who hit her, knew from the damage of the car he'd hit her, drove off and left her to die, drove off to sober up and avoid the blood alcohol test?

public transit? somebody's guilty again of dragging their own stinking personal agenda onto the story of a catastrophic and entirely preventable death of a beautiful young woman!"

Look, you have a choice:

Choice 1) Throw Joel into jail for years, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax money. Sit back and watch as more young people are killed because people think they can get away with drinking and driving (which they usually can).

Choice 2) Remove the conditions that encourage drunk driving, and use the money that would have been spent on Joel's prison sentence to build safe bicycle pathways, thus preventing future deaths. Punish Joel in ways that are constructive for the community.

Just think, if we had been going for choice 2 all along, maybe Rachel would still be with us.

I'm not blaming Lawrence. I'm blaming those of you who are out for blood instead of looking for realistic ways to prevent future deaths.

sandman2021 5 years, 7 months ago

comeon Godschild22 we all know your actually Brandy!

smbrady 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm no Saint, and neither are any of you commenters, it was a horrible accident, and unfortunately someone died. But you could all use a little compassion and consider what he's actually going through too. Not only are her family, freinds, and collegues going through tuff times, but so are his. If you only knew the person you so brutally try to take down, you would feel his remorse, his guilt, his regret, it was an accident. I'm sure he replays this over and over in his head, wishing he could take it all back, do something different, stay in, anything else. I only wish none of you are put into any type of situation like his. He made a mistake and now he has to pay for it, psychologically, emotionally, and socially. Put into such an extreme situation, our reactions are not always right, not always sound, and hardly ever the best decision, give him a break and let the law handle it, your comments mean nothing when nobody reads them.

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