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Archive for Friday, October 23, 2009

Police identify driver of car involved in fatal hit-and-run

Police have identified the driver in the hit-and-run accident that resulted in the death of Rachel Leek last Friday. As of yet, no charges have been filed against the Haskell Indian Nations University sophomore.

October 23, 2009, 9:46 a.m. Updated October 23, 2009, 11:31 a.m.

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Lawrence police have identified the driver of a car involved in a hit-and-run accident that killed a 20-year-old woman early the morning of Oct. 16 as she was riding her bicycle on Tennessee Street.

Police said Friday that Joel Cedric Hernandez, 21, Lawrence, was driving a 2001 Pontiac Grand Am south on Tennessee Street that struck Rachel Leek, who was riding her bicycle in the east lane of the one-way street. Leek was taken by air ambulance to Stormont-Vail Regional Health Care Center in Topeka, where she later died.

The accident occurred about 2:20 a.m. just south of 10th Street, in an area police indicated was dark and had no street lights.

Police said they believe Hernandez, a sophomore student at Haskell Indian Nations University, was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, though a report indicates no impairment test was given when he was located.

“Hernandez made no apparent attempt to stop and render aid to Leek or report the accident to law enforcement,” Lawrence police officer James Welsh said in a report.

In a news release, police said no one has been arrested, but accident reports will be forwarded to the Douglas County district attorney’s office for review as soon as the investigation is completed.

“The DA will be in charge of deciding whether and if an arrest warrant is issued,” said Kim Murphree, police spokeswoman. The DA’s office spokeswoman said Friday that the office has received nothing on this case.

Police have not said what information they’re waiting on, in order to complete their investigation.

Investigating officers said the vehicle Hernandez was driving, which was located with a shattered windshield, belonged to one of two Lawrence women riding in the car at the time of the accident.

A police report said at least one violation by Leek also contributed to the accident. An officer said it appeared her bicycle didn’t have a rear or front reflector and that each pedal was also missing a reflector.

Officers are waiting on impairment test results to come back for Leek, but the police report said there was no evidence that she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Leek’s boyfriend, Kansas University student Sam Goodell, said Leek had been at a downtown club dancing and was on the way to a friend's Tennessee Street house when she was hit and killed.

A previous version of this story incorrectly said where Leek was riding too when she was hit.

Comments

lawrencegirl89 5 years, 1 month ago

pretty sad to know that you went to school with someone who would do this...pretty shocking

brujablanco 5 years, 1 month ago

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ssakcaj 5 years, 1 month ago

It's on like Pokemon. I'm waiting to finally hear some of the details instead of the speculation and guesses we have seen on the comment sections up until now.

lawrencegirl89 5 years, 1 month ago

how does he sleep at night? I am disgusted

lawrencegirl89 5 years, 1 month ago

if he really felt that bad about it he would have ran..

quisp 5 years, 1 month ago

Tony:

Obviously not bad enough to have turned himself in.

kulinebacker 5 years, 1 month ago

wow...i am shocked. sometimes you wish people would all do the right thing.

gsxr600 5 years, 1 month ago

Went to high school with him. From what I witnessed the 2 years I was around him, he's a very kind hearted guy. It's a shame he didn't stick around to call for help. I'm sure the "a-hole" comments will continue and so on but I thought I would just say that.

I do think it is wrong for LJW to state the name of this person without charges being filed, no one being arrested, and without a finished investigation. It's unacceptable and unfair.

quisp 5 years, 1 month ago

I only have a hard time understanding the psychology of the morally bankrupt. Regular people I understand completely.

Jonathan Kealing 5 years, 1 month ago

gsxr--

It's our policy to name the parties involved in an accident. We do that on any accident, from the head-on collisions on K10 to minor accidents in town.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

parrothead8 5 years, 1 month ago

gsxr...why is it not okay to state his name before the investigation is finished? Isn't each part of an investigation valid on it's own? If there are 25 parts that make up a whole, and you don't know 5 of them, does that make the 20 you DO know invalid? The police don't need to have every other detail before they know the detail of who was driving.

As Jimmy Buffett once said, "If you don't want it said about you, don't do it."

quisp 5 years, 1 month ago

Now you ARE defending him, Tony.

"how does “morality” figure into a human's intuitive response to a dangerous situation?"

Dangerous to whom? The driver or the person he ran over? Any person with a conscience would have stopped. The only "danger" this punk was in involved having to (GASP!) face the consequences of his actions. Being to spineless to do this, he now faces much greater consequences as a result. Pardon me for my lack of empathy.

parrothead8 5 years, 1 month ago

Marion and I agree on something...wonders never cease.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 1 month ago

"what does facing consequences have to do with remorse?"

EVERYTHING!

Tony: the "gut" reaction is to run and hide. I think we can mostly understand that. But once the adrenaline wears off, we start thinking like rational, moral beings. He's had days to consider the right thing to do.

I declare 10/23/09 "Buy a cop a beer day" for the good police work.

Amy Heeter 5 years, 1 month ago

Glad to see that one name was released. Yes I still feel charges need to be filed. All three who were in the car need to be charged. Failure to report an accidne is just as bad as being the driver. Why does the D.A. not have these reports. There is no excuse fopr leaving a person to die. Charles Branson charge these people

mom_of_one 5 years, 1 month ago

I hope with this event it will make him think twice before taking a drink, and further driving; if he even gets to keep his licence after all this, which i doubt.

quisp 5 years, 1 month ago

Actually, what I don't understand is someone's inability to do the right thing, regardless of danger, regardless of fear. Maybe it's because I'm not a coward.

Amy Heeter 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm with you on this seamus. I love how the " oh he was such a sweet guy" B.S. comes out. For those who did go to school with him, you now know who was in tha car with him and who's car he was driving. The glory days are over kids. Remember what they told you at graduation; "welcome to real life"

thomgreen 5 years, 1 month ago

Such a loss on so many fronts. More than one life was destroyed here. If it's the same guy on myspace, he seems like a nice guy from appearances.

mom_of_one 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 yes i understand that, what im saying him, this, hopefully will teach him that it does affect people when drinking and driving and hopefully he will never do it again. The ultimate lesson here. Word of mouth didn't work. Now, with charges, probably the suspension of his licence, he will seek treatment for alcohol abuse. That will never bring back Rachel, or stop the pain he has caused her family.

kulinebacker 5 years, 1 month ago

was he a raging lunatic for a better part of his life before killing an innocent girl?

just a thought(this has nothing to do with this particular thread)...i was wronged before and expressed my outrage that the total disregard for 2 kids might possibly make me 'flip out' ,so to speak. then ended the conversation with..."people would say about me, they were such a nice person how could they have done that?" just saying... I'm sure all will be charged after the investigation. it is just a sad time for all parents. you just hope to do a good job when raising them. both parents have experienced a loss.

mom_of_one 5 years, 1 month ago

In the face of something as horrific as this, people show you who they really are. Ive known Mr. Hernedez for nine years, and still im shocked at this. You think you know people, you trust in them, and when it comes down to it, the panic caused him to run. Wrong thing to do. She died as a result, and now he has to suffer the conquences of his actions, and forever live with the "guilt" he may feel.

Beelzebub 5 years, 1 month ago

Not much use for a driver's license in the state prison. This is a tragedy for everyone involved. So why don't all of the commenters turn their computers off and go do something useful? All this chatter is worse than a crowd of gawkers at the scene of an accident. Show some respect and go away. It's not our business. (Flame me all you want 'cause I'm done reading about this.)

kulinebacker 5 years, 1 month ago

I think people are just expressing a shock because of who this young man is...i don't see where anyone has yet to defend or condone his actions. it is just sinking in to people that know him.

mom_of_one 5 years, 1 month ago

Yes I too hope he wont be allowed to drive again. He has shown he has lost this privilege to drive. I wouldn't feel safe on the road knowning he was driving.

John Hamm 5 years, 1 month ago

Anybody have the offense report number? I can't find anything under the 16th showing this. Not accident but offense. I wanna see what the offenses are. TIA

Mike Wagner 5 years, 1 month ago

Charge him with manslaughter! How could it be anything less??? Charge the passengers that were in the car for anything and everything you can as well! This girl may still be alive if anyone of them would have done the right thing.

Bike riders, please put proper lighting on your bike and/or person and ride on the sidewalk if there is one. Also try to avoid busy streets that dont have sidewalks or bike lanes.

Monica Miller 5 years, 1 month ago

I, TOO, HAVE KNOWN JOEL FOR YEARS. . .AND I COULDN'T HAVE BEEN MORE SHOCKED WHEN I READ HIS NAME IN THIS ARTICLE. AFTER THE INITIAL SHOCK WORE OFF THO, I REFELECTED ON THE TIMES WE'VE HAD TOGETHER AND THE NUMEROUS OCCASSIONS I HAVE PERSONALLY WITNESSED HIM DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE. THIS IS SUCH A SAD STORY. AND I DON'T KNOW THE MS. LEEK OR HER FAMILY, BUT MY HEART AND MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO THEM. JOEL. . .I DON'T EVEN HAVE WORDS FOR YOU

Monica Miller 5 years, 1 month ago

If he and his passengers were so scared, they could have gone to a payphone and at least called for help for her. . .The fact that that wasn't done, makes me question the amount of remorse any of them may have.

mom_of_one 5 years, 1 month ago

This is a collage town. The fact is people walk, ride bikes, scooter, drive all over this town. Drivers need to be more aware of pedestrians and pedestrains needs to make themselves seen when traveling at night as well with glow tape, lights; something. This is no accuse for Mr. Hernedez's actions. Drving while under the influence is a big NO NO!!

mom_of_one 5 years, 1 month ago

If anything he should have set an example in the first place. He was involved in several drugs programs in high school teaching our youth about saying no to drugs and drinking and driving. He was prom king. People looked up to him. He was well known. Not that it means anything now. Its a sad thing that his actions, his irresponsibility took a woman's life.

Emily Scholle 5 years, 1 month ago

As someone who also went to school with Joel, I can't begin to express how horrified I am at this whole situation. This is something that could have been so easily avoided and my heart goes out to the Leek family.

nobody1793 5 years, 1 month ago

Before you all hang the guy, let's find out what happened. Isn't it possible that the car "nearly missed" the cyclist, but nonetheless caused her to crash into a parked car? In which case they driver may not have even known there was an accident. I'm not saying I know if the guy is guilty or innocent of anything, but you don't either.

ferrislives 5 years, 1 month ago

I don't understand why hit and run's don't have bigger penalties in Kansas, including a lot more jail time. What motivation does someone have to either not run away or to turn themselves in later if they know that they won't get much more time if they are ever caught?

You can't stop drunkards from running away some of the time, but it could also be a deterrent some of the time as well.

They should add some aggravated charge or something for hit-and-runs, because some of the time the person could be saved if that driver didn't run away like a coward.

gsxr600 5 years, 1 month ago

When I say someone is "kind hearted" I'm stating from my own experience. I haven't seen him in years and people change, but I'm just trying to bring light to the fact that everyone is human and makes mistakes. Regardless of the outcome of this, this event will follow him for the rest of his life and I can almost guarantee he will think of her everyday. Everyone's making him out to be a cold-blooded person. He made a poor choice. He will have to pay for that choice.

It sounds like poor choices were made on the deceased behalf as well.

Also, Joel and Rachel's boyfriend Sam went to high school together and played in the same section in band. Small world.

Amy Heeter 5 years, 1 month ago

As I commented on one of the other stories it is sad, There is always some part of a person we don't really know. As another poster said he was involved in drug prevention programs at school but that was all a farce. The LHS prevention specialist was notifed of his drinking/drug use but did not even confront him on this. There were others too. It is pretty difficult to sent a message about the dangers of drug when the leaders are slaves to drugs. Since High school he has lost friends as a result of his drinking/drugging. I am glad his name is out there but still charges need to be filed.

woodenfleaeater 5 years, 1 month ago

Where's Marion with all his "I told you so" jargon? Seems like he solved the case quicker than LPD. He's an everyday Sherlock Holmes.

Danimal 5 years, 1 month ago

Okay, what Mr. Hernandez did was despicable, but no one has mentioned that the victim's bike didn't have any lights or reflectors, wasn't wearing a helmet, and may have been intoxicated herself. That doesn't in any way lessen the tragedy of what happened, but the deceased took no measures to safeguard her own life. So for those of you wanting blood, I think there has already been enough, and remember that both parties were at fault in this accident.

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years, 1 month ago

Just a series of horrible decisions made by this group. Even if they would have called it in and ran, it may have helped the cyclist live.

Cyclists need to obey the rules of the road too, though. I see cyclists run red lights and stop signs on a daily basis in Lawrence.

Many cyclists make it out like people driving cars are doing all the wrong and that all the cyclists are perfect little angels.

Obviously, I don't know whether Ms. Leek was obeying traffic laws or not and definitely not defending Mr. Hernandez. His disregard for others in this situation is disgusting.

thomgreen 5 years, 1 month ago

Seamus seems to be purposely arguing with people even when there is no argument and trying to position him/herself as the ultimate source of knowledge on all subjects. You can infer anything you want from that statement.

hail2oldku 5 years, 1 month ago

Danimal - I take it you've read the accident report. Did you note the checked boxes for the victim showing no evidence of impairment? Yes tox reports are pending, but more likely than not she wasn't intoxicated or it would have been noted otherwise.

nobody1793 - I would encourage you to read the accident report, look at the areas marked for damage on the vehicle and then come back and realize just how ridiculous your question is.

grimpeur 5 years, 1 month ago

"Cyclists need to obey the rules of the road too, though. I see cyclists run red lights and stop signs on a daily basis in Lawrence. Many cyclists make it out like people driving cars are doing all the wrong and that all the cyclists are perfect little angels."

Hey, Ricky, take it somewhere else until a motorist, or anyone else, is killed by a cyclist. To compare the two in this thread is stupid and symptomatic of an ignorant and borderline criminal motoring public trying to divert attention from its own lawlessness and avoid its own responsibility for the deaths on our roads, 99.999999% of which are the result of motorists' bad driving.

Hey, that guy that was struck by the meteorite should have checked with an astronomer before going outside! Or at least he should have worn a helmet.

poppygirl 5 years, 1 month ago

a shattered windshield would be your first clue you hit something !

mom_of_one 5 years, 1 month ago

How he even drove home after how that windsheild was busted up, while intoxicated even, is beyound me.

hail2oldku 5 years, 1 month ago

twosides "I also believe it is premature to condemn anybody in this accident."

Are you serious? I've been big about cyclists blowing through stop signs and using sidewalks instead of streets when possible, but this is just an asinine statement twosides. Ms. Leeks was hit in the middle of the block, not blowing through some stop sign. The accident report indicates that there was damage on the left front fender, hood, windshield and roof of the vehicle. Does that leave you to question whether Mr. Hernandez knew whether or not he hit something?

kulinebacker 5 years, 1 month ago

seamus...

I fail to find the comments where people are siding with the driver and condoning his actions because he was wonderful...

bad_dog 5 years, 1 month ago

Did donald_gilchrist get disapeardedededed? I believe he/she had the first comment on this thread and now there's no record of donald to be found-only references to that name in other posters' archived comments...

run2009trey 5 years, 1 month ago

After looking at the accident report, you can see that the accident occurred at 2:18. The neighbor that heard the accident and ran outside called it in at 2:20. The cops arrived 3 minutes later. I'm not giving any type of excuse and I'm not defending the driver. The driver fled and that is inexcusable, but if he would have stopped, I'm not sure it would have changed the outcome.

It did indicate that alcohol was a factor so maybe the suspect told on himself. No testing was done though.

The report also states that Ms. Leek did not have a helmet or reflective devices on her bike. Maybe that was the contributing factor that Ms. Leek had in the accident (that's on the report which also includes 2 contributing factors from the driver).

Again...I'm not making excuses just shedding some light on what the facts are in the report.

geekin_topekan 5 years, 1 month ago

Boy,I sure put my foot in MY mouth!!

Oh well, not the first and certainly not the last time. (Tappitytappitytappity...)

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years, 1 month ago

@ grimpeur:

You must be one of the cyclists that thinks the rules are just for the cars (since I obviously hit a nerve).

I'm just saying...don't complain about road safety if you're not obeying the rules yourself.

hail2oldku 5 years, 1 month ago

LarryNative - I agree with you on the fight or flight, I just don't understand not coming forward on your own earlier. I also don't understand the people that seem to indicate that Rachel somehow "deserved" it since she didn't have on a helmet or reflectors on her bike.

Kris_H 5 years, 1 month ago

The key to solving drunk driving is to keep your drunk butt out of the driver's seat. Or maybe you should drink at home if you want to get that wasted.

Eileen Jones 5 years, 1 month ago

My heart goes out to everyone involved. It is a tragedy, pure and simple. Even those who lived, their lives will never be the same. Nothing good can possibly come of any of this. But at least people should take away the obvious lessons.

Do not ever drive or ride under the influence. Do not let anyone else drive or ride under the influence. If you hurt someone do not run. Equip your bike for maximum safety and wear your helmet. If you are driving, watch for cyclists and pedestrians. Never use your cell phone while driving or riding.

This is not to pass judgment on anybody, or jump to conclusions about what happened. It is merely what we should take away from these mistakes and their terrible consequences.

It is time to scrap all the frivolous ideas for development that the city commission considers and look at putting in a few bike lanes. It is past time. Other college towns have them. We have nearly 30,000 students here and this is supposedly a progressive town. There is no good way for a cyclist to get between east and west Lawrence or around the east part of town.

Kyle Chandler 5 years, 1 month ago

I want to defend and support DANIMALs comment.

Never did he say she 'had it coming'? But to say that she was downtown dancing all night and NOT drinking....yeah right! Do you know how many drunken silly people i see on bikes around the student ghetto?? And again, Im not saying she was 'one of those', but the possibilty is there. No one deserves to Die, but lets do the obvious math....

College Town+Drinking+Cars+Bicyclist with no reflectors during the wettest Fall in years riding around at 2am= Recipe for Accident (no matter how 'in control' anyone thinks they are)

Being an avid bike rider in this town ive seen the stupidity of other bike riders just as ive seen it with other motorists. Ive watched a biker run a red light and totally cause a car to hit another parked car @ 14th and Kentucky...and just ride away. (actually laughing too!) NOW, if someone would have been sitting in that parked car waiting on a friend and had been smashed and killed then what? So to say one is more dangerous than the other is half nonsense. Sure if a car collides with a bike head on, the car will win. But, most people AVOID trying to hit pedestrians and bikers with their vehicles. Really, they do.

If she hit the windshield as hard as they say, then the odds are not in favor of survival...THAT in no way means he was right to NOT stop and help! He was obviously shocked and made a snap decision. The WRONG decision, but when you are slapped in the face with the fact that you might have killed someone in less than second...there is no wrong or right...theres just shock and disbelief. Even if he would have stopped, you jerks would still be out for blood, unless it was one of your own sons or daughters. Then you too would be spouting the 'hes a good guy' thing. And he probably is, i seriously doubt it was his intention to go out and get smashed and kill someone. But sh$^ happens ...and this is the sh##iest.

Both of these young peoples ( i actually knew Leek from wheatfields) lives intersected under the worst possible conditions.....My heart goes out to the Leek family as well as what Mr. Hernandez is going to have to live with. He probably already wishes he was dead.

Its all Bad....so lets just move on...All the so called 'laws' we need are in place....the last thing we need is more political BS

....and lighting torches and tying up rope at this point isnt going to help the Leek family with their loss.

Monica Miller 5 years, 1 month ago

I, as am sure most of us have, have done some stupid stuff when under the influence. Granted, I've never hit and killed someone, but we all do things we feel stupid about the next day. But, as I would assume most normal people, the thought process the day afterwards is much different. If we acted stupid or hurt someone, we may call and apologize. Anyway, I can't, for the life of me, understand what his thought process was. Okay, so let's say he was drunk. . .scared.. . fight or flight. . .call it what you want. But the next day. ..he conciously made choices to "hide" the car. . . to get on faceboook and post as normal. ..to read the paper. . . and still make no efforts to hold himself accountable for his own actions. Still, it indicates in the accident report and in this article, he didn't turn himself in. He was "caught". How is he not arrested?!?!? I don't get it. Hit and run. . DUI. . .Vehicular manslaughter (whether voluntary or non). . .I just can't wrap my mind around the whole situation.

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "yeah, kris, that is the personnal key, but the public solution or policy solution is a viable alternative to driving."

It is not the car culture to blame, but the immorality of a Joel Cedric Hernandez, the booze culture and those that defend them.

Cheers! Drink up!

mr_right_wing 5 years, 1 month ago

That is the real travesty of drunk driving; 99% of the time it's the innocent victim that dies, vary rarely is it the impaired driver (unfortunately).

Remember driving is a privilege; this man should NEVER be granted a drivers license again!

grimpeur 5 years, 1 month ago

"Ive watched a biker run a red light and totally cause a car to hit another parked car @ 14th and Kentucky"

And when was that? Date, please. Yes, we'll look it up. Thank you.

"So to say one is more dangerous than the other is half nonsense."

Wow! Cognitive dissonance much?

Why don't you tell us how many fatalities have occurred as a result of cyclists' bad riding?

We're waiting.

Bad driving begins in the brain.

ihatehaters 5 years, 1 month ago

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Eride 5 years, 1 month ago

Omg, it doesn't matter what the cyclist did to contribute to this. This selfish prick hit her and didn't even slow down much less stop and render aid. That makes it 100% his fault period. If he was somehow innocent in any part of it he should have stopped as you are legally and morally required to do anyways. Making excuses for him not stopping is asinine.

I am sick and tired of drunk drivers striking and killing pedestrians and fleeing. I am even more disgusted by the fools who come on here and defend the drivers in anyway for doing so. They struck another human being and ran, its despicable... period.

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "why are 80% of the people on here so uncivil? reminds me of why i quit trying to actually converse with people on this site. one person blames it on the car-centric paradigm and claims that i am a supporter of said paradigm. another person says the car-centric paradigm has nothing to do with this, and cites my post regarding public transportation as a mitigater of drunk driving to contrast with his point."

We don't need to "mitigate" criminal drunk drivers who kill, we need to convict and sentence them. We don't need rationalize leaving the scene of an of accident with a 20 year old lying dying in the street as "fight or flight", we need to brand them as what they are, criminally liable and morally bankrupt. Sorry if you find my comments uncivil, but I am personally offended by your continued attempt to rationalize driving drunk and your denial of the reality of the personal responsibility of Joel Cedric Hernandez. This isn't some sophomoric philosophical jerk off session in dorm room, this is a real person he killed, whose friends and families lives will forever be diminished because of their loss. Honestly, I am surprised you are being treated so civilly.

4chewnut 5 years, 1 month ago

Off topic: Does the LJW still publish lists of fire/ambulance calls?

monkey_c 5 years, 1 month ago

I am very sad for Rachel's family. The whole story is so sad.
Drunk driving must be taken seriously. Of course this fool knew he hit someone and he was more concerned for himself than his victim. I hope if I ever hit someone I would be a big enough person to stop. I like to think I would. But I guess you don't know what you are capable of until you are faced with a situation. I do know I can never drive drunk, that would have prevented this tragedy.
Encourage bike riders we know to be as safe as they can in honor of Ms. Leeks. R.I.P. and my prayers are with the family.

jumpin_catfish 5 years, 1 month ago

I will not put a thief in my mouth to steal my brain.

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "how does “morality” figure into a human's intuitive response to a dangerous situation?"

Moral human beings overcome their prehistoric animal instincts and do the right thing even at cost to themselves.

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "what's he supposed to do? stay awake for a week? you think he doesn't feel bad about it?"

No, do you think he feels bad? Based upon what evidence?

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "no one has said she deserved it. this is a discussion of the circumstances. if everyone keeps getting bent out of shape, it will go nowhere."

Who got bent out of shape, except the victim and permanently.

tony88 (Anonymous) says…"oh, and the key to solving drunk driving is strong public transportation."

Do you imagine no drunk drivers in larger towns with public transportation?

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "yeah, kris, that is the personnal key, but the public solution or policy solution is a viable alternative to driving."

Not on Lawrence at 2AM. And my favorite bit of psycho-babble:

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "of course the danger he had was facing consequences… that is all that danger is. as you can see, i covered facing consequences in the first comment regarding the relationship between facing consequences and the nature of remorse. which was further reinforced by the second response to you: the relationship between morality and the human animal's natural desire for self-preservation in a dangerous situation. if this interest you, watch “crimes and midemeanors”. if you are here for the rush of being in a lynch mob, ignore me."

Forget lynching the drunk driver, you have bigger issues to deal with.

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "that is a horrible grotesque “joke” you put in there about the cyclist. you should be ashamed. similar to your joy over the deaths of the drivers in the K-10 incident. you did not seem to show sympathy for their familys."

If drunk drivers only killed other drunk drivers, I wouldn't have a problem with it. It wasn't a joke, it was the truth.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 1 month ago

In any situation, no matter how terrible, there has to be a germ of good come out of it, or it is a complete waste.

It is very possible that because of this accident, ONE life will be saved by adding lights and reflectors to bicycles.

It won't make up for the tragedy, but let's at least pull a straw from the burning haystack.

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 (Anonymous) says…"and you didn't find it disrespectful to the families when you indicated that you were pleased that they were killed?"

I was pleased they didn't kill some innocent girl on her bike. I assume they also were pleased by that as well.

Jcjayhawk1 5 years, 1 month ago

"Drunk driving must be taken seriously."

There is no evidence of the driver having been intoxicated.

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

Jcjayhawk1 (Anonymous) says… "There is no evidence of the driver having been intoxicated."

The police believe differently than you do, we will see ....

"Police said they believe Hernandez, a sophomore student at Haskell Indian Nations University, was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, though a report indicates no impairment test was given when he was located."

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 (Anonymous) says… 'Moral human beings overcome their prehistoric animal instincts and do the right thing even at cost to themselves."

that is a nice ideal situation, but is not the case.

People live up to that ideal all the time, maybe not you and your friends, but lots of others do and all the time.

fromlarryville 5 years, 1 month ago

This is in no way defending the driver, but I feel this was drug out too long, if at all possible made him look worse. He turned himself in on Friday after the accident. And I'll bet money his punishment will be worse than the "KU" student that hit the pedestrian on KY street, which was a hit and run....he got 90 days.....vehicular manslaughter.

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years, 1 month ago

Sigmund's obviously got something stuck in his posterior that's irritating him.

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years, 1 month ago

I appreciate your attempt at a civil discussion, tony88.

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "that's why i didn't say “eliminate”, but rather “mitigate”."

Gee, I thought you said the "key to solving"

tony88 (Anonymous) says…”oh, and the key to solving drunk driving is strong public transportation.”

The key to solving drunk driving is catching, convicting and sentencing drunk driving. Not psycho-babble excuses, rationalizations, bike lanes, pedal reflectors, public transportation, or understanding "the relationship between morality and the human animal's natural desire for self-preservation in a dangerous situation" which is just a load of crap.

kulinebacker 5 years, 1 month ago

a stick in his butt perhaps...

there was an article in the kansas city star about a helicopter wreckage where the pilot killed himself and an innocent passenger and young native american girl of 20. this sick guy had numerous dui offenses and had already killed another person in a dui accident a few years ago. he came from an affluent family with small town connections. like the deckert kid who killed the man on 6th street, had he lived,he prolly would have done little to no time. as fair and deserving as it is,this kid will get a fair or harsher punishment due to the lack of a great lawyer or affluent family. I feel sorry for all involved even you self righteous people commenting. it wouldn't have made it any better had he been killed as well in this accident. it only would have made you feel justified that another dead kid means nothing. most humans don't lack empathy but its evident that a select few here do.

Eride 5 years, 1 month ago

"twosides (Anonymous) says…

Eride- OMG. It does matter what each party did, if anything, if it contributed to the accident. In some cases you are responsible for your lack of action as well as your actions. There is an issue regarding lack of action not stopping to render help and also lack of action in maintaining a vehicle to meet current safety standards"


No it doesn't. I am sorry but that is just an irrational argument not only legally but morally as well. A drunk driver strikes a person, kills them, and doesn't stop. It doesn't matter what the other person did, that drunk driver is completely 100% in the wrong. I can't believe people are pointing at the bike not having reflectors on it. So what? The biker could have looked over at the car and thrown her body in front of the car on purpose and the driver would still be at fault legally and morally under these facts.

Simple facts.

This dbag was drunk,

He drove,

He hit someone,

He did not stop,

She died as a result.

Nothing else is important so as far as the drivers culpability. To point at the biker and blame her in any way for a drunk driver striking her and running away is laughable. What an ass hat you are.

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "none of this refutes my point that a strong public transportation system would reduce drunk driving dramatically."

You have done nothing to support your assertion but make it. Not one source except yourself saying it, which arguably is the only thing someone as self adsorbed as you appear to be are capable of. Besides, it is completely irrelevant to Joel Cedric Hernandez or Rachel Leek or anyone else driving at 2AM in the morning in and around Lawrence for the next decade or so.

ralphralph 5 years, 1 month ago

They may not be able to prove impairment because the driver fled ... they can, though, prove that he fled, and that is the real despicable act here: hitting someone with a care, the impact smashing the windshield such that you would certainly know the likelihood of serious injury, and you just drive away and hide, taking no action to see to the well-being of the person you just hit. In some ways, it would almost be worse if he did this sober, than if his judgment was impaired by alcohol ... either way, though, it is simply depraved.

greentea 5 years, 1 month ago

I find the degree of righteousness expressed in comments disgusting. Why are you all assuming it is his fault? As I read it, there is no evidence of his drunkenness and she was missing reflectors. Fleeing the accident was not the proper response, it is a very understandable one.

It has nothing to do with morality or empathy and everything to do with an overwhelming sense of self preservation and fear that is inherent in all of us. I don't know what the legal charge for failing to render life saving aid is, but I don't think it's manslaughter and I don't think it has anything to do with morality.

mytwocents 5 years, 1 month ago

"in an area police indicated was dark and had no street lights."

Why isn't anyone commenting on this aspect of the story? Lighting throughout the Oread neighborhood is horrible!

We need to demand bike lanes, safe sidewalks, and good lighting throughout the Oread. Maybe if the sidewalks were level and lit, Rachel could have ridden home on the sidewalk. As it is now, you'd be crazy to ride your bike on the sidewalks of Tennessee Street after dark. Alleys are a little better lit, but then you have to watch for people backing out of parking spaces, not to mention the drunk a-holes partying in the alley who harass you if you don't look like the kind of girl they'd want to screw.

Yes, the drunk driving aspect of this accident is horrible, but beyond that we need to talk about solutions. We need decent lighting and safe sidewalks throughout the Oread neighborhood. There are more than enough incidents (how many sexual assaults and armed robberies happen in the Oread every year?) to show that this is something the city seriously needs to consider.

Not to mention that I think better lighting would be a deterrent to drunk driving. For example, I know many women who drive short distances to the bars because they are worried about how they are going to get home safely. While driving drunk increases your potential to get involved in an accident, similarly, being a woman in this town walking alone at night, also seems to increase your chances of being the target of violence.

Just mytwocents....

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "of course, i haven't been discussing the particulars of this case for sometime now."

You are discussing some imaginary town where there is public transportation at 2AM where some fictitious drunk drivers make good decision not to drive and don't hit a 20 year old girl on her bike? Oh I am talking about Lawrence Kansas where a drunk driver didn't call a cab, jumped behind the wheel of a car and hit and killed a real girl named Rachel on her bike and then left her to die on the street just blocks from her boy friend.

Obviously, that is the source of our disagreement.

Sulla 5 years, 1 month ago

Most people would had done exactly what Hernandez did in his situation1) drunk2) young. Imo, the naked truth. Not condoning it at all, yet it is easy to say "what a scumbag" here.

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

mytwocents (Anonymous) says… "Yes, the drunk driving aspect of this accident is horrible, but beyond that we need to talk about solutions. We need decent lighting and safe sidewalks throughout the Oread neighborhood."

Why so drunk drivers can drive on well lit streets? Well lit 6th Street has been the scene of more than one death at the hands of drunk drivers and it has great sidewalks. Honestly, I appreciate nice sidewalks as much as the next bike rider, but I have been hit by cars crossing streets from sidewalk to sidewalk in the middle of the day.

The problem is drunk drivers and the solution is catching, convicting, and sentencing drunk drivers.The morality of leaving Rachel, who you just hit with your car, on the street to die isn't even worth discussing.

kulinebacker 5 years, 1 month ago

wow sigmund picks an unsolicted argument with anyone who doesn't share his exact same view. reminds me of the phelps and thank God for free speech. there are other "dbags" than the drunk driver on this thread.

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

Sulla (Anonymous) says… "Most people would had done exactly what Hernandez did in his situation1) drunk2) young. Imo, the naked truth. Not condoning it at all, yet it is easy to say “what a scumbag” here."

Obviously if you are the kind of person willing to break the law and drive drunk, your not the kind of person who who stop and help someone you just hit and killed with your car. Just their bad luck, better her than you, right?

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

kulinebacker (Anonymous) says… "wow sigmund picks an unsolicted argument"

I'll acknowledge my part in that, but if you look back I think you'll find there was plenty of solicitation by others.

Sulla 5 years, 1 month ago

Missed the entire point Sigmund. No surprise. Go have a drink.

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

Sulla (Anonymous) says… "Missed the entire point Sigmund. No surprise."

I don't think so. I think I got your point perfectly. People who drink and drive are not the kind of people that would stop and help someone they just killed, and you like most people would do the same thing. I think I got your point but the comment said more than you intended.

Cheers!

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 (Anonymous) says…"i provided sources as requested, then you completely disregard them. i think you haven't even looked at them, and i'm pretty sure you won't because public transportation doesn't fit with your worldview. public transportation is possible in lawrence, ks. you actually probably just recently voted against it, tacitly supporting the driving while intoxicated culture."

There if this drunk driver didn't use better judgment and call a cab, what makes you think they would wait for the next bus, or that the bus would be going anywhere near their destination. I think your world view is that all immoral or illegal acts by are societies fault and individuals should bear no consequences for their bad acts as a way of justifying your own illegal behavior and moral failings. So let just agree to disagree, mkay?

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, corrected ....

If this drunk driver didn't use better judgment and call a cab, what makes you think they would wait for the next bus, or that the bus would be going anywhere near their destination? I think your world view is that all immoral or illegal acts by individuals are societies fault and that individuals should bear no consequences for their bad acts as a way of justifying your own illegal behavior and moral failings. So let just agree to disagree, mkay?

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "if you want to “agree to disagree”, i assume you are conceding."

I am conceding only that we disagree and nothing more. Well that and you are not discussing the specfic reality in Lawrence Kansas.

I will note that empTy are barely used in the daytime and that there is no evidence that the cost of running our current buses at night would have any increase in ridership of drunks, nor decrease in drunk drivers, who you will cencede are not known for making good decision. I will further note that most public transportation discourages the intoxicated from riding on public transportation and I assume that Lawrence Kansas would have a similar policy.

We could have another vote, more taxes, and spend another $2.6 million in corporate welfare for MV Transportation or we could simply step up enforcement our current laws. Which do you think is a more practical solution recognizing that neither solution is perfect?

lawdog 5 years, 1 month ago

My son went to school with him and said that he always did like to party. Mr. Hernandez was featured in ljworld a few times for his accomplishments and was even crowned LHS Homecoming King. His erratic behavior didnt just happen one time. I think it was inevitable that something tragic was going to happen.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Leek Family!

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "all public transportation i have patrionized, in cities in both the united states and abroad, has not discourage the intoxicated from riding."

All public transportation I have taken, especially in Europe, discourages the intoxicated from riding. Mostly because so many drunks are belligerent and hassle those who are sober. "London’s subway system was engulfed by thousands of revelers Saturday night, marking the introduction of an alcohol ban on the mass transit network. Eyewitnesses have described how some drunken partygoers, often dressed in fancy dress, fought, damaged subway trains and vomited." http://inplacenews.wordpress.com/2008/06/01/1000s-of-people-get-drunk-on-subways-in-london-in-protest/

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "the reason the T fails at this point is because it runs so few routes and not late enough. also, whatever happened to the streetcars that used to be here?"

Whatever happened to horses and carriages? People stop using them because they didn't meet their needs. Can you imagine a street car system in Lawrence covering all parts of town so that people use it? The point is the empTy is a failed system despite the millions we spend each and every year for the very same reason.

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "you are arguing against improving this, even though you have read the sources regarding the reduction of drunk driving with increased and later running public transportation."

I am arguing against this because it is convoluted, expensive, highly speculative future pie in the sky solutions that even if implemented would take years or generations to have any impact. We have people dying on regular basis from the impact of being hit by cars driven by drunk drivers today and the current morality is to leave them to die.

I want solutions we can implement tomorrow, even though not perfect, as opposed to perfect solutions we can't implement for decades and the drunks might not choose to use, or might be illegal for them to use. We don't need some bogus "Rachel's Law," we already have laws in place. Let's step up the enforcement tonight and slow the carnage on our streets tomorrow.

Eride 5 years, 1 month ago

"twosides (Anonymous) says…

Eride- takes two to tango, I am not sticking up for either party. If one party is driving a vehicle that is not road worthy and should not be on the road because of that, they have some fault. If another party is driving impaired and should not be on the road, that party is also at fault. I do not have to stoop to name calling to prove my point. Character assisination is used by those with weak arguments."


Except in this case you are trying to blame the biker who at this moment (from what the report states), at the worst, didn't have proper reflectors instead of looking at the real culprit here who even if he wasn't under the influence of alcohol... cough... has already met the elements of KS Statute 8-1602 which is a level 9 person felony. Its an absolute liability statute, his act of fleeing the scene of an accident that resulted in a fatality is a FELONY.

Of course I am insulting you. You are trying to blame the person who was run over and left to die instead of blaming the drunk driver who committed the act by comparing the bicyclist not having reflectors (which is a traffic violation..!) to someone who from the police report has already met the elements of a felony! Who might possibly meet the elements of involuntary manslaughter once the police finish their investigation...! Good show!

Sigmund 5 years, 1 month ago

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "so you're myopic is what you are saying."

You also seem very myopic to increased enforcement of current law, why?

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "and obviously you have not looked at my sources."

I have looked at the one study and noted that the behavior of drunks in Washington, DC, a city where Public Transportation is already widely used, bares almost no relation to drunks in a much less densely populated area like Lawrence Kansas. If the empTy is not used widely by the sober and during the day (unlike Washington DC), why should we expect their behavior to change when they are drunk at 2:30 in the morning?

I particularly enjoyed the caution the researchers used about drawing conclusion from the study. Particularly the moral hazard of providing a safe-ride home. "This social benefit (providing a safe ride home) should be weighed cautiously against the corresponding increase in risky alcohol consumption."

tony88 (Anonymous) says… "unfortunately, the case in your link is not that the subway has banned the intoxicated from riding,"

Fair enough. When you have the time also look at the liability of City who allow drunks to ride their systems and are injured. While you are doing that I'll myopically encourage the vigorous enforcement of current laws against current offenders who are currently killing people and leaving them to die on the side of the road.

KEITHMILES05 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm shocked my comments were removed. What I wrote was nothing but the absolute truth and no malice whatsoever.

Eride 5 years, 1 month ago

"twosides (Anonymous) says…

Eride- I am not trying to blame only the biker but you appear to have the mentality bikers can do no wrong. Quote all the statutes you care to. You have already admitted some fault by stating it was a traffic violation. I have not said the biker was totally at fault. I will say that maybe both parties have fault to share, even though it is not equal fault. Thank God you are not a lawyer or you would have already jeopordized a settlement in behalf of the bikers estate."


Yes, how dare I use silly things such as facts to bolster my argument. I should sit there and just make asinine statements like you have in the process of placing blame on the victim instead of the perpetrator. Why cite actual facts? I should use your strategy and just make things up... then my argument would be much more effective!

I can't help it if you don't possess the knowledge of basic legal concepts (difference between criminal and tortious acts, criminal culpability requirements, comparative negligence, etc), the ability to recognize legal terms (absolute liability, felony, traffic violation, etc), the want to inform yourself (actually reading anything about what you're talking about, the ability to comprehend what you read (you clearly haven't comprehended most of the posts you have responded to) or the ability to process things rationally (drunk driver hits and kills biker -> Flees the scene -> Absolute liability for felony =/= biker has no reflectors -> traffic violation).

I'll let you sit there in your stupor unabated.

Kyle Chandler 5 years, 1 month ago

alot of Bush people in the room

for sure

grimpeur 5 years, 1 month ago

I've been driving for 30+ years in big cities, in the sticks, and in Lawrence, and I've never, ever, been endangered by a cyclist, and I've only had to avoid a cyclist once. I had to stop short a couple feet sooner than I would have--a guy turned left and cut the intersection coming down the hill at 17th and Indiana. Hardly an emergency. I have 1000x problem with motorists doing this, and pulling two car lengths into the intersection, and swinging wide into my lane before turning, and turning into the wrong lane, and creeping out into my path as I'm trying to turn left.

And running stop signs and lights and blocking the crosswalk and daring me to continue across it. And lots more very dangerous things that cyclists don't do. You want to focus on bikes--but not cars--running stop signs, pretending that cyclists' lawlessness is even close to that of motorists? You want to come in here and pretend it's dangerous to be a motorist because of bad bikers, but not the other way around? Then you're just not serious about road safety.

If you find yourself having lots of near-accidents, slamming on the brakes all the time, losing track of or exaggerating the number of times you've had to take evasive action to avoid cyclists or pedestrians, or complaining about having to slow down around other traffic, you're probably most of the problem.

It's not just a bike safety issue. It's a bad driver issue, no matter whether it's other motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists who are endangered. Anybody, no matter who they are or how they're traveling, when in the vicinity of a bad driver--whether that driver is a drunk, a cell phone junkie or other self-centered showoff, a compulsive lane-changer, a tailgater, someone in a vehicle too big for their experience, skill or judgement, or any just plain idiot who thinks they're in a race and that the rules exist to make sure they don't have to brake--is in danger. It solves nothing to make it a cyclist issue (except that cyclists are the ones who also generally occupy space on the road) without addressing the criminal and sociopathic behavior of motorists, who routinely threaten, endanger, and kill other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists with shamefully little consequence to their privilege to hold a driver's license.

Talk to a cop, prosecutor, city traffic attorney or judge, and ask them how multi-DUIs get back on the road. Or how crappy drivers avoid points against their license by just paying a fine, instead of letting the record demonstrate a history of bad driving. Or how infrequently criminal assault with a car goes to trial: you think a jury composed of impatient, aggressive or habitually lawless motorists is going to set a precedent by convicting one of their own? As another poster mentioned, that's most of those jurors on trial.

Motorists are doing BY FAR most of the lawbreaking and ALL the killing on our roads. And they're getting away with it.

lawdog 5 years, 1 month ago

Read: (Investigating officers said the vehicle Hernandez was driving, which was located with a shattered windshield, belonged to one of two Lawrence women riding in the car at the time of the accident.)

Soooo I could be wrong but reading all the comments and what Lawrence Police has given us.......This whole matter makes me wonder if maybe Mr. Hernandez is covering for 1 of the 2 girls that were in the car? Why would he be driving a car that is not even his??? Anybody else wonder about this theory?

Also, were the names of the 2 female occupants released to the public?

chrysanthemum 5 years, 1 month ago

He was such a sweet person when I knew him, but his facebook statuses from that night/next day are somewhat distrubing whether it was intentional or not at the time when they were posted. Everything about the situation is so sad.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 1 month ago

Grimpeur: good comment! you forgot: right turn on red, pedestrians at risk; texting while driving; doing makeup while driving; simply blowing through a red light.


alot of Bush people in the room


public transit and bike lanes wouldn't help this situation and make death-by-drunk-driver less frequent.

it is to easy for some guy with even three or four DUI's to still be driving.

heck, Joel's not arrested! is he on the road, driving right now?

demonstrates the larger problem.


lawdog, another explanation, he was driving because he was the male; he was the least hammered of the three?

condition of the car makes it incredibly obvious that he and the others in the car knew they'd hit somebody. no excuse.

this will continue until the price of driving drunk goes way up!

misslawrence 5 years, 1 month ago

chrysanthemum,.,.,.,.I noticed that too,.,,.where at 12:40 am where he updates from his cell phone and states'Bi*@#,move out the way!'...I raised my eyebrow at that too,,,.hmmmmmmmmmmm,,.,.and the previous status's as well,.,.,.,.,.,.,..,,.wonder if that'll be 'evidence',.,.,.,.,,.Prayers out to the Leek Family,,.,.

local_support 5 years, 1 month ago

"when i find some time, i will be looking for data on what the rate of drunken driving has done since the change you point out above in london. i will also be looking for some information regarding the policies of various ATAs toward ridership by the intoxicated..."

Or get a job. If you already have one then ask for more hours. This will allow you to save money to go to law school, where you can become a superb DUI defense lawyer.

Amy Heeter 5 years, 1 month ago

Threre is not excuse for leaving a person to die. Charles Branson charge these people.

kansasmutt 5 years, 1 month ago

OK, A very dark street, A bike with no lights, no reflectors , a car driving down this terrible rough street, potholes out the a#& , a car driver who may be tired , a bike rider who was known to be in a club before riding her bike. You have to ask this . Did the driver of the car know he bumped a bike ? Face it , people run over dogs and never know they hit anything. As for the broken windshield ? Could it have been a tree limb , a piece of lumber ? A piece of funiture tossed out by the curb ? I am saying this. It is a bad deal, but it is possible the car driver did not know he hit a person at the time. Then you ask, who`s fault and why not stop to help ? Leaves you to wonder.

misslawrence 5 years, 1 month ago

Maxcrabb,.,.his postings all evening were stating how he from 4pm up to about 10pm,.,how he needed rum&coke.,,.and other updated comments on the morning of the 17th all day long how he wrote'' I DON'T FEEL SOOO GOOD',.,,or I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO,.,.and how he couldn't go to class but went.,,.,.they're still on there,.,and Ms.Leek's....,,I don't know. But that was gut wrenching when he stated that.,.,and the comment was from his cell phone...,.,

ballet_dancer_mom 5 years, 1 month ago

how sad...i feel for the Leek family and am sorry for their loss.

 "it is fact that strong public transportation systems and adequate bike lanes reduce death by drunk driving."

funny but lawrence does have a strong public transportation sytem funded by the taxpayers of this city and 99.9% of the time it is not utilized, and if someone is drunk and swirving all over the road a bike lane is not going to help. i think the speculation is running rampant here until the full report is released to the public by lpd.

Sunny Parker 5 years, 1 month ago

The two women who were in the vehicle with him at the time should also be charged! They did not report the accident.

On another note, most of the college students in this city seem to have no common sense.

They walk in dark alleys at all hours of the day and night, they don't lock their doors. Their parents didn't teach them much about safety, or they just didn't listen!

brujablanco 5 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jafs 5 years, 1 month ago

I am amazed, as always, at how many people must drink and drive on a regular basis, given their comments on this forum.

The simple and obvious solution to the many tragic fatalities like this one is for people to STOP drinking and driving.

And, it's obvious that the driver bears the lion's share of blame for this accident and, all of the blame for running away.

However, Eride, why wouldn't the biker's failure to have reflective lights be "contributory negligence", even if the contribution would be small?

jafs 5 years, 1 month ago

Oh, and if you can run over a dog and not even know it, then you're not paying enough attention, whether you're drunk or not.

sundancewierdo 5 years, 1 month ago

Depraved indifference... "To constitute depraved indifference, the defendant's conduct must be 'so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created by the defendant’s conduct, not the injuries actually resulting. "

the three individuals in the car are guilty. we don't need any more evidence. it's quite obvious that not one person in the car bothered to call 911. my only assumption in this matter is that at least one of the three had a cell phone at the time of the accident.

Monica Miller 5 years, 1 month ago

Someone's comment. . .don't remember who. .. stated he turned himself in Friday after it happened. . .where is that info from?

Amy Heeter 5 years, 1 month ago

Don't know but he did not turn himself in.

Monica Miller 5 years, 1 month ago

I didn't think so either. . .

"fromlarryville" says:

"This is in no way defending the driver, but I feel this was drug out too long, if at all possible made him look worse. He turned himself in on Friday after the accident."

I noticed, and mentioned, the facebook status updates earlier on for him. . .I think that speaks volumes as to the amount of remorse he is/was/will experience(ing).

justsomedude 5 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Hudson Luce 5 years, 1 month ago

Back when I was growing up, in my teenage years, whenever I needed to go someplace at night on my bike, I'd ride in the alleys. I had a good light so I could see where to ride, and there was no traffic, so it was safe.

pissedinlawrence 5 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

onetime97 5 years, 1 month ago

wow 212 post now...

just wanted to be apart of nonsense posts with my own here...

lawdog 5 years, 1 month ago

pissedinlawrence (Anonymous) - Oh Wow! That's HORRID! They need to be accountable for their actions and rightfully so!

I am glad that I don't know any of them, just know 'of them'! Thing is, all these years..............all these dang parents thought I was too strict with my 2 kids. Now look, my son goes to KU and my daughter goes to Haskell. Both are non-drinkers and know that 'drinking' is NOT an option!

Watching my kids attend LHS these past years was rewarding. LHS is a wonderful school and I wanted them to be around the diversity Lawrence has to offer. By no means does this tragedy reflect on how I view Lawrence community as a whole.

People need to be vigilant in keeping an eye out for each other. Take their keys away if they're that drunk. It's hard for me to understand "WHY" friends, parents, siblings did NOTHING in encouraging these 3 in doing whats right and turning themselves into custody! You should all be hauled into jail in my opinion! "You all knew"!

-lawdog-

Amy Heeter 5 years, 1 month ago

THat's how i see it pissedinlawrence. I heard she did get her car back though such as it is. The only victim i see in this situation is Rachel Leek.

Charles Branson charge these people.

Kash_Encarri 5 years, 1 month ago

tumbleweed, you do realize that Tennessee is a one way street and it would be perfectly legal for Miss Leek to be riding on the left hand side don't you?

lawdog + kansasmutt = a$$hats

lawdog 5 years, 1 month ago

I am still waiting for authorities to release the names of the 2 girls involved in this hit-n-run!

misslawrence 5 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

justsomedude 5 years, 1 month ago

miss lawrence.... thats them alright they should be ashamed of them selves

soaplvr 5 years, 1 month ago

well you all are wrong. They did not go to a party after that. She does have remorse. She spent several days crying over it. I think you should stop listening to gossip and mind your own business. You people have no idea what you are talking about.

misslawrence 5 years, 1 month ago

I was on the phone with a friend,,and I asked!,..,,. feelings exact!

lawdog 5 years, 1 month ago

Well enough said, and I hope this entire incident will bring 'awareness' to the students here at Lawrence that as a community 'we do care about our students'.

......in life, you learn to be much stronger than any of lifes pain.

justsomedude 5 years, 1 month ago

well i know one of them girls too and she dont seem to remorseful to me

grimpeur 5 years, 1 month ago

What's clear is that nobody--not one person--in the killer's car should ever be allowed to possess a driver's license again. When people so clearly demonstrate so little regard for human life, let alone public safety or the responsibility that is supposed to come with the license, then they have also clearly demonstrated that they are completely unfit to ever drive a car. That privilege is (allegedly) reserved for those who have the sense, judgement and respect required to operate a motor vehicle on public roads.

It doesn't matter that the passengers weren't driving the car--they're mentally, morally, pathetically unqualified to drive.

Accidents happen. But, like the death of Deputy Dillon and the Naismith tree basher, as well as crashes caused by cell-phone junkies and other halfwits and showoffs, this was no accident. So don't treat it like one.

Time to start hammering this message home, lawpeople. Please don't fail us again. You have a duty to public safety, and if these would-be drivers and repeat offenders are not removed from the road and given zero chance of diversion, reinstatement, or paying their way out of it, then you're failing in your duty.

What will it take, and who must die next before action is taken?

Close the loopholes now. If you want to make an example of these people, that's fine, of course. Just make sure it's an example of how it's going to be from now on, every time: drive drunk, cause an accident by talking on the phone or refusing to brake or otherwise screw up big time, on purpose, like these people did, and you're off the road. Maybe not in jail (but you should be), maybe not beaten with a mace (but you should be), but definitely off the road. For a long, long time. Maybe forever.

But I'd consider giving them a hearing on the revocation after ten years. I'm reasonable.

sarahsmilehawk 5 years, 1 month ago

I've never known Joel to be anything but friendly and good-hearted. Like a lot of people who know Joel, I'm shocked to hear that he was involved in this. It's very sad that he made such a bad choice. Sometimes good people do terrible things, and that's a very confusing and upsetting part of life.

Kris_H 5 years, 1 month ago

Even friendly and good-hearted people do incredibly stupid and tragic things when they are under the influence. No excuses, though. None.

What needs to happen? People, young and old, need to stop thinking the only way to have fun is to get hammered. And of course what I've said already, NO amount of drinking/smoking/popping/whatever of any kind of mind-altering substance is safe to do and get behind the wheel. Period If you feel you have to drink or whatever, you need help. Get some.

IMO, texting while driving is every bit as dangerous, and I'm alarmed that so many people think they can do that successfully. Talking on the phone is bad enough. If it's that damned important, pull over.

I also agree with the remarks about bicycle safety especially at night. Folks, look out for yourselves. You're the only ones who really will.

peacegirl22 5 years, 1 month ago

Coming from my own personal experience of having my own family member killed by a drunk driver i think that this whole situation is very sad... For the young lady that was killed and for the driver(whom i personally know). I am sure he and the other(s) in the car feel horrible, But it doesnt show how big of a person you are by trying to make them feel even worse. No one has any idea what they are going through and I send my condolences out to the family...

Amy Heeter 5 years, 1 month ago

I feel so much better about this all now that someone says they are sure the driver and passengers feel horrible, NOT.

There is no excuse for leaving a person to die.

Charles Branson charge these people.

kmat 5 years, 1 month ago

kansasmutt (Anonymous) says…

Did the driver of the car know he bumped a bike ? Face it , people run over dogs and never know they hit anything.


You must have some serious problems and shouldn't be allowed to drive if you can run over a dog and not know it. I ran over a desert mouse in UT last month and felt it. What a crock of sh*t you're trying to spread. Nice job trying to support this murderer. That's what you are if you hit someone (whether you meant to or not), then leave the scene and do nothing to try to help the person. Even if you hit a dog, you should have enough compassion to stop and try to assist. What a cold hearted A-hole you are.

kmat 5 years, 1 month ago

soaplvr (Anonymous) says…

well you all are wrong. They did not go to a party after that. She does have remorse. She spent several days crying over it. I think you should stop listening to gossip and mind your own business. You people have no idea what you are talking about.


Ah, she spent several days crying, huh? You think Rachel's friends and family spent just a few days crying? You are an idiot.

My sister was hit by a drunk driver in 1985. Almost lost her - she was in a coma for a month after her face was smashed in during the wreck. She suffered her entire life from the scars and brain damage that was done.

You think Rachel's family won't suffer for the rest of their lives? I hope the driver and the two girls with him can't get a good night's sleep for the rest of their lives. They don't deserve to after what they did. If those girls really had remorse, they'd be doing everything in their power to make ammends with the family and to make sure the community was made safer after this horrific crime. But no, as you said one of them cried for a few days. That's not remorse.

applejuice 5 years, 1 month ago

One of the girls that was in the car with Joel that night (also the owner of the car) posted on her facebook at 2:34 am " OMG OMG OMG@!!!!!!!!!!!" So obviously they knew they hit something/someone. This girl also had a lot of posts about cant quit crying and havent been able to sleep lately. There was also one other really disturbing post made on Saturday 10/24/09 at 3:31pm stating "went to wash my car to get everything off of it. Can't fine touch up paint for the color of my car." Someone please tell me that these girls will be charged with something as well, they are just as much at fault for letting him drive off and not reporting either.

applejuice 5 years, 1 month ago

Also, has anyone looked at one of Joel Hernandez's favorite quotes on his facebook page??? here it is... Me: "Brandy watch out for those people!" Brandy: "Shut up I gotta go Pee!" Me: "OMG Brandy get out of the middle of the road!" Brandy: "Joel, I'm going to beat your ass! I gotta go pee!" Me: "Brandy where are you right now?!" Brandy: "In the middle of the road." (She was drunk leaving the club.)

This was one of the girls in the car with him and this proves that it was not the first time they have driven drunk and almost took people out!

Amy Heeter 5 years, 1 month ago

That is what I have been saying all along.

There is no excuse for leaving a person to die.

Charles Branson charge these people!

hail2oldku 5 years, 1 month ago

You'll need to go to the accident report on the city's website to find that out motomom. There names have been posted on here before and those posts have been removed.

applejuice 5 years, 1 month ago

if you look at the accident report it states the 2 girls' names.

p>www.lawrencepolice.org click on accident reports then put in the date 10/16/09. I think its the first one on there.

ralphralph 5 years, 1 month ago

The damage described in the report would make it absolutely clear that someone had been hit and that they were likely to be badly injured. The decision to flee at that point ought to be one that results in a prison sentence.

Eride 5 years, 1 month ago

Hopefully the cops see what these three people had posted on their facebook pages, what I have seen was fairly incriminating.

Amy Heeter 5 years, 1 month ago

I don't think the owner of the car will have to worry so much in the future. Her insurance may be cancelled. I's geussing that Joel Hernandez is not listed on her car insurance policy.

There is no excuse for leaving a person to die.

Charles Branson charge these people!

in123 5 years, 1 month ago

Why aren't there any charges yet? The wheels of justice seem to have a flat tire!

The car has been identified. The suspect had been identified. Why is the DA waiting?

middlemgmt 5 years, 1 month ago

In123 - i want to know the same thing. I don't understand what could take so long. Charles Branson charge these people!

Amy Heeter 5 years, 1 month ago

My Guess is he is waiting for some test results to come back. Since Joel Hernandez isn't confessing they have to have proof he was driving the car. Even with the testimony of the passengers( they were drunk at the time) I think they may need more to drive the convictions home.

There is no excuse for leaving a person to die.

Charles Branson charge these people!

Tamaralaug 5 years, 1 month ago

Artichoke Heart - we all know how you feel so quit saying "Charles Branson charge these people!" - we get it!

Amy Heeter 5 years, 1 month ago

There is no excuse for leaving a person to die.

Charles Branson charge these people.

Yes I said it.

Charles Branson charge these people.

peacegirl22 5 years, 1 month ago

Marion writes:

The driver didn't feel “horrible” enough to stop and render assistance or even use the cell phone he was holding to call 911.

Peacegirl22: I didnt say that any of this is ok! He should have stopped and should have called someone but he didnt. No one can change that... My whole family is still greatly affected by our situation.I would never wish the pain and hurt that i have felt on anyone. Every single day i think about it and and will NEVER get over it. It is a horrible thing to deal with. I feel horrible for the family and send them my prayers..

frisbeenation 5 years, 1 month ago

It seems to me that if the people in that car that night had any sense of remorse they would be more than forthcoming about the facts that happened that night. My only thinking that this arrest has been so delayed is because the perps are trying to dupe investigators with a shaky story and not providing much of any sort of cooperation. For these reasons I sincerely hope their punishments will be all the more severe.

soaplvr 5 years, 1 month ago

frisbeenation you are so far off. I love how you guys speculate on here and make up nonsense stories

frisbeenation 5 years, 1 month ago

I'd like to think I'm close to the situation.

Amy Heeter 5 years, 1 month ago

There is no nonsense about this whole story. Three drunks with no regard for anyone else chose to drive intoxicated and risk public safety. The car struck and killed a innocent person. Three drunks then fled leaving the woman to die. The driver continued to drink after the hit and run. The passengers chose to blog about it instead of calling the police. The passengers claim they couldn't make the driver stop but the driver dropped them off minutes after the accident. Oh and lets not forget that the poor owner of the car just can't find the right color of touchup paint to hide her shame. No there is no nonsense about this story at all. The whole situation is criminal and those involved should be sent to prison fo a very long time. There is no excuse for leaving a person to die. Charles Branson charge these people.

Tamaralaug 5 years, 1 month ago

Artichokeheart - you saying it (over and over and over) isnt going to make it happen any sooner!

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