Location: Lawrence

Reactions to ‘No Justice in Douglas County’

In response to last Friday’s decision by Douglas County District Attorney to not file criminal charges against the distracted driver who killed David Dillon in June, there were a number of thoughtful comments here, as well as some reactions from elsewhere:

  • In Two fatal accidents, two different results, Roger Kramer contrasts the lack of charges in Douglas County to the punishment doled out to Rebecca Allen’s killer, who pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and will likely receive prison time. The major difference? Allen’s killer was drunk. Roger also draws parallels to a case in Illinois, in which Matt Wilhelm was run down by a woman playing with her cell phone while driving. She also wound up only being charged with a traffic offense, and the case has prompted calls in the state for stronger laws.

  • In Grappling with the aftermath of cyclist’s death, Andrew Hartsock of the Lawrence Journal-World found himself identifying with the driver: “This weekend, as I mourned the death of a man I’d never met, I couldn’t suppress a little sympathy for the man who killed him.” (Warning: Brutal discussion in the comments.) Incidentally, Andrew was recently hit by a vehicle himself; thankfully, he’s OK.

  • Bob Mionske of VeloNews weighed in with Can’t we do better? “What is the rationale for not filing any criminal charges against a driver who is admittedly distracted to the point of not seeing a cyclist until the moment of impact? It’s not as if Kansas doesn’t have adequate laws on the books, after all. Both vehicular homicide and reckless driving are available charges, and applicable in the David Dillon case.”

  • From the Missouri Bicycle Federation: Fatal rear-end collision with bicyclist results in traffic tickets only

  • From the Kansas City Star: Tickets, not criminal charges, recommended after officer killed on bicycle – Good discussion in the comments.

  • In Los Angeles, A motorist who was allegedly sending text messages on his cellphone and under the influence of prescription medication when he struck and killed a 14-year-old boy on a bicycle last year has been indicted by a grand jury on felony charges.

  • Members of the The Internet Bicycle Touring List discussed the case under the heading “Cyclist’s Death Minimized“: “What will it take to make Americans take driving seriously? Apparently killing someone by not watching where you drive isn’t considered a criminal offense anymore. What is our society coming to?

Thanks for all who’ve taken the time to express your opinions.

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

One response to “Reactions to ‘No Justice in Douglas County’”

  1. Randy says:

    David Dillon, killed by distracted driver while riding bike last year near Eudora, honored with memorial bench at the Douglas County Correctional Facility.