Last week I wrote about a wealthy money manager, Martin Joel Erzinger, hitting a cyclist and seriously injuring him in Avon, CO. He left him laying in the road and drove a few miles before he called Mercedes roadside assistance because he had a broken mirror and damaged bumper. He claims he didn’t know he hit anyone.
If Erzinger knew he hit Milo, it’s clear Erzinger should be locked up. If he didn’t know (which I don’t believe), then he shouldn’t be driving and his license should be revoked for life and his Mercedes taken from him.
The District Attorney, Mark Hurlbert, decided to not charge him with a felony even though Colorado law is clear that it’s a class 5 felony. Hurlbert said that “felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession, and that entered into his decision”. The news quickly spread from the cycling community to mainstream media. Last I checked over 13 thousand people signed online petition asking Hurlbert to not drop the felony charge.
Hurlbert explained in a letter posted by the Vail Daily that it was too late to change since the plea bargain had been offered. Not that he would have considered it anyway because he argues that he made the best choice.
Because Erzinger had no previous criminal record, he would have likely been given a deferred sentence on the felony charge. If he met the conditions of the deferred sentence, in 2 to 4 years the felony would be removed from his record and he’d be able to say he hadn’t had a felony. In the meantime he could have lost his securities license and if not he’d have to notify all of his clients that he’s a convicted felon.
Erzinger has plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and careless driving causing serious bodily injury. These misdemeanors will stay on his record. He will lose his driver’s license, face potential jail time as determined by the judge and still have to pay restitution.
Milo’s attorney has filed a motion asking the court to review the District Attorney’s decision. The judge could still throw out the plea bargain deal. Then Erzinger could face all 3 charges.
VeloNews has an article that explains the legal issues in the case in more depth.
In other car versus cyclist craziness, Cyclelcious posted about a drunk driver that killed a 7th grade boy riding his bike. The driver is now in jail and is suing the boy’s parents for “contributory negligence” because he wasn’t wearing a bike helmet.