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22/12/2010 // INFO 3 Comments

The fairy tale of Vail

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Today brings an update to a blog entry that we featured in early November featuring one Martin Erzinger, a motorist who left a cyclist for dead after a hit and run incident in the US.

First a quick recap for those new to this bizzare tale. Mr Erzinger, a private wealth management director for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Denver, hit cyclist Dr Steven Milo with his Mercedes Benz car on a road just outside Vail, Colorado, but carried on driving. He eventually stopped three miles away from the incident to make a call to a Mercedes Benz dealer to come out and repair his damaged car.

Mr Erzinger had a felony charge for the incident dropped by the Colorado District Attorney Mark Hurlbert after Mr Hurlbert recommended that possible imprisonment under the charge would affect the accused’s ability to work in the future. Mr Erzinger accepted two separate misdemeanour charges offered by Mr Hurlbert for him to plead guilty.

At that time, the decision to drop the felony charge received widespread outrage in the US for what appeared to be a clear cut case of reckless driving on the part of Mr Erzinger.

The incredulity of the legal decisions in this case has now taken another turn after the district judge, presiding over the final legal proceedings in the town of Vail, only gave Mr Erzinger a suspended jail sentence (90 days) for the offence while putting him on probation and up for community service. Mr Erzinger was also banned from driving for a year.

Prior to the hearing starting, the judge rejected calls by the lawyer of Dr Milo for a felony charge for the case to be heard saying Mr Hurlbert’s plea bargain with Mr Erzinger was within a “realm of reasonableness”.

During the legal proceedings, it also emerged that Mr Erzinger’s defence team blamed a sleep disorder caused by a leather smell in the accused’s car as a cause for Mr Erzinger not noticing that he had hit Dr Milo. The extensive injuries that Dr Milo received as a result of the collision suggest this was no minor brush with his bike.

This sleep disorder of course allowed him to wake up without realising he had hit someone, continue driving, and then call for vehicle assistance to repair the damage to his car.

3 comments [leave one]
Oz December 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm

How would he know there was damage to the car without getting out and going to look if he slept through the whole incident. Should this ‘sleep disorder’ not meant that his driving licence be revoke for fear that he might hit a pedestrian or yet another cyclist ‘in the way’. A prison sentence may ruin his ability to continue working in his chosen career but he should have thought of that before colliding with a cyclist.

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