Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cyclists demand justice for DUI Victims and Safe Streets


Here's a broken record: Cyclist gets hit by motorist. Police investigate. Police blame the cyclist. Media reports blame the cyclist. DA declines to prosecute. Motorist evades prosecution. Cyclist is denied justice. End of story.

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The Los Angeles Bike Community was out in force this morning to preempt this story from repeating.


Standing before a pack of reporters and news crews, they set the record straight on the true cause of a recent horrific collision, and called out for improved safety for all residents of L.A.


Here's the scoop:

In the early hours of June 16th, 27 year old Christine Dahab drover her car into a group of people. The police were called. The ambulances arrived. 11 people were rushed to the hospital. She was arrested and booked with misdemeanor drunk driving. Less than 9 hours later, she was released. In those same 9 hours the victims were being treated for numerous injuries. One victim was on hand for the press conference.


Another victim had both her legs broken. Another was in critical condition with a head injury.


LAPD officers began an investigation, but the crash actually occurred in Culver City. This is where things get murky. Even though they responded to the 911 call, LAPD didn't have jurisdiction to perform an investigation. They should have called Culver City PD to get them out there to begin an investigation. The case is now in the the hands of Culver City Police, but that preliminary investigation by LAPD is now with Culver City PD. That investigation has not officially been released. BUT, during a meeting with senior LAPD officials, members of the cycling community were told the initial cause of the crash was attributed to cyclists in the roadway.


This is troubling for so many reasons. I'll just mention a few, but Bikeside and Streetsblog are so much more accurate about the minutae. Click here to read about it. All I'll say is:

- Multiple witnesses observed Christine Dahab driving erratically moments before she plowed into the cyclists.

- Dahab blew a .08 at the scene and .07 at the station, just below the legal limit. That does not mean she wasn't impaired.

- Witnesses observed Dahab exit her car holding a cell phone immediately after the crash. Was she tweeting?

- With 100 riders pulled over with blinking safety lights, it's inconceivable that any responsible driver would not see them.

- News reports mention condoms and beer bottles found nearby. WTF?


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More than anything, today taught me that as diverse as the cycling community in L.A. is, we all come together when any rider is in need. We'll continue to press for justice for the victims, for the police and media to not blame them for their injuries, and for improving the safety of all residents of L.A., in and out of the saddle. I was really impressed by the amazing response to this terrible and senseless crime. As I listened to the speakers make the case for justice, I had a moment of déjà vu.

Justice League

If you witnessed the crash, or have any knowledge relevant to this crime, the Culver City PD wants your help. Please call Officer Newman at (310) 253-6254.

A fundraiser has been planned for the victims this Friday. Click HERE for more info.

Another fundraiser is also scheduled for July 8th. Click HERE for more info!


Heather Taylor said...

love that you were there! keep us updated, boo!

Ross Hirsch said...

Excellent pictures and write-up that really captured the event. Great job, Alex.

Sunday Taylor said...

This is a great post. I feel like I understand the issues much better after reading what you wrote. Thanks for clarifying the situation. I hope that the cyclists get the justice they are asking for.