BMW K1200, K1300, and K1600 Forum banner

1 - 20 of 85 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
768 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Motorcyclist Convicted in FHP Trooper's Fatal Crash

POSTED: 3:14 pm EDT October 18, 2005
UPDATED: 11:14 pm EDT October 18, 2005

A motorcyclist, whose race with a sports car on Interstate 4 led to a Florida Highway Patrol trooper's fatal crash, was convicted of aggravated manslaughter by a jury on Tuesday.

Donald Williams was also convicted of vehicular homicide and fleeing and eluding a law-enforcement officer in causing the death of 49-year-old Trooper Darryl Haywood on Oct. 2, 2004.

Haywood was killed last October when his police Camaro patrol car crashed into the woods on I-4 in Volusia County, Fla. Haywood was attempting to stop an alleged high-speed race between a motorcycle and Porche when he crashed.

Attorneys for Donald Williams, who was driving the motorcycle during the incident, said Tuesday their client did not know he was being followed by Haywood when the officer crashed.

Williams was traveling at about 150 mph at the time of the crash, Local 6 reporter Tarik Minor said.

However, some in the courtroom found William's defense that he did not look behind him during the alleged race hard to believe, Minor said.

Witnesses said Haywood had his lights and siren on during the pursuit before he lost control of his car and crashed.

Prosecutors are holding Williams responsible for his role in the crash, saying it would never have happened if Williams' would have pulled over.

Prosecutors played a taped interrogation from Williams in which he said he noticed the trooper on the side of I-4 but never behind him.

Williams will be sentenced at a later date. He could face up to 60 years in prison.

http://www.local6.com/news/5118250/detail.html

And his sentence was 30 years.... more details.


Motorcyclist Convicted in FHP Trooper's Fatal Crash

POSTED: 3:14 pm EDT October 18, 2005
UPDATED: 11:14 pm EDT October 18, 2005


DAYTONA BEACH -- The motorcycle driver who sped on Interstate 4 at more than 100 miles per hour, causing a trooper's death, was sentenced to 30 years in prison this afternoon.

Donald Williams, 39, was convicted on charges of aggravated manslaughter and aggravated fleeing and alluding a law enforcement officer in the October 2004 death of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Darryl Haywood. Haywood was 49.


Williams faced up to 60 years in prison.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
310 Posts
Lets see.

1. Motorcycle runs from a LEO who crashes and dies: motorcyclist gets 30 years

2. Automobile speeds and runs a stop sign broadsiding a motorcyclist, resulting in his death of: auto driver gets 100 days.

Hmmm, sounds fair to me...NOT!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
486 Posts
Injustice

Three points -

1) Incident did not occur in South Dakota.
2) Convicted individual is driving a motorcycle and not driving a car.
3) Convicted individual is not a politician.

One question -

1) What was the driver of the Porsche convicted of?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Think Twice

So drag racing on a public highway is o.k.

So when some idiot fleeing from the cops slams into your wife, sister, kids, brothers, or friends and kills them when he's going 150MPH; that's o.k.

And when people drag race, the cops shouldn't try to stop them because they might crash and kill themselves. So more and more people try to outrun the cops, like they do here in L.A.

The cop couldn't drive? It was his fault that he died in a wreck? No, I say he was just doing his job to the best of his ability and died chasing someone who didn't give a damn what happened to anyone else on that road. Harsh sentence, but it was a harsher ending for the cop's family and friends.

Civilization requires the authorities to punish people who disregard the safety and welfare of others for their own "amusement."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
969 Posts
30 years sounds like half of what he should have received. I have no problem with jailing for life the idiots who are the "but for" of accidents. Now he can be a "butt for" in jail.
That doesn't make the Porshe driver innocent. That doesn't make the inattentive car driver who kills a biker by "accident" innocent either. Jail them too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
MadMax said:
<snip>
Civilization requires the authorities to punish people who disregard the safety and welfare of others for their own "amusement."
I couldn't agree more. They should throw the book at this rider for speeding, evading a police officer and anything he did during the chase.

Anything he did.

He did not kill the police officer. The police officer chose to pursue and had an accident that killed him. The standard applied in the US is that if you have an accident, then no one is really responsible. (A recent accident in the Chicago area involved a woman who was dragged 6 miles beneath a car. The driver was not cited because conditions were bad and they were not expected to be able to determine that they had run over a pedestrian. http://www.nbc5.com/news/5421557/detail.html?z=dp&dpswid=2265994&dppid=65193 )

In this case, the rider's actions contributed to the death of the officer. To what extent does that make him responsible? I guess that's the question posed here. I think there is some responsibility but I question whether there is 30 years worth.

Personally, I would like to see drivers in the US held responsible for their actions in an even and fair manner. It seems that the standard varies a *lot* depending on who the victim is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
310 Posts
It would be interesting to know what, if anything, happened to the Porsche driver.

What did the motorcyclist do? Speeding - OK. Reckless driving - no argument. Fleeing from a LEO - absolutely. Endangering those on a public road - yep. So punish him, punish him hard. Take away his driving privileges for life, fine him into poverty, even jail him for a few years. But I do not see how he is guilty of the death of the LEO. Had he run the LEO off the road - OK but he didn't. I agree that the LEO was doing his job but of all the LEOs I know (>100) all tell me that they are instructed to break off a dangerous chase in all but the most extreme cases. The officers family suffers, yes, but the job is a dangerous one, not unlike a soldiers and both know the risks.

I would like to hear what the LEOs (past & present) on this board have to say.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
351 Posts
Something is wrong with this picture...

"Motorcyclist Convicted in FHP Trooper's Fatal Crash
POSTED: 3:14 pm EDT October 18, 2005
UPDATED: 11:14 pm EDT October 18, 2005
DAYTONA BEACH -- The motorcycle driver who sped on Interstate 4 at more than 100 miles per hour, causing a trooper's death, was sentenced to 30 years in prison this afternoon.
Donald Williams, 39, was convicted on charges of aggravated manslaughter and aggravated fleeing and alluding a law enforcement officer in the October 2004 death of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Darryl Haywood. Haywood was 49.
Williams faced up to 60 years in prison."
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
First, the motorcycle driver did not cause the trooper's death. The trooper lost control of his own vehicle. Did the motorcycle force the trooper to drive that fast, loose control of the vehicle and slam into a tree? No. The trooper made a decision (poor one) and lost control. If the trooper lost control of his vehicle it is his or the vehicle's fault.

Now if the ass on the motorcycle shot the trooper, I think he could be charged with aggravated manslaughter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
878 Posts
Priciple?

Is the principle that if you are comitting a serious crime and someone dies, you are responsible?
 

·
Sooper Dooper Moderator
Joined
·
1,025 Posts
Aggravated manslaughter, but not murder?

The problem with people's perception of fair/equitable/just/even punishments across the USA is that each court has a different judge, different attorneys, and different juries. When we try to put two cases side-by-side, we are NEVER going to see them as punished on the same scale or by the same measure. We can despair over disparity, but it's never going to change.

I've heard a story about the OTHER side. Bad guy gets chased by cop and crashes. Bad guy sues (and wins!) because the cop "knew or should have known" better than to pursue in an unsafe situation and therefore "caused" the bad guy to crash.

I'm with the majority that I'd like to know what happened to the Porsche driver.

Cops have to do dangerous stuff and sometimes they have to make life and death decisions when they are so stoked on adrenaline they can't even talk. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, it's tough to make the right decision as to how much risk it's reasonable to take, and whatever the decision, it will be second-guessed and Monday-morning-quarterbacked for years afterwards. To say that the cop couldn't drive because he crashed in a 150mph pursuit is at best a little unkind in my view.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Gross negligence

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
First, the motorcycle driver did not cause the trooper's death. The trooper lost control of his own vehicle. Did the motorcycle force the trooper to drive that fast, loose control of the vehicle and slam into a tree? No. The trooper made a decision (poor one) and lost control. If the trooper lost control of his vehicle it is his or the vehicle's fault.

Now if the ass on the motorcycle shot the trooper, I think he could be charged with aggravated manslaughter.[/QUOTE]

__________________________________________________________________________
NOT.

So, in the article, it says the motorcyclist saw the cop sitting on the side of the road as he went by drag racing. I believe that the reasonable person would assume the cop is going to do his job and chase the drag racers. That's what he's paid to do, right?

A reasonable person would believe that, yes, in fact the motorcyclist forced the cop to drive FASTER than the drag racer to CATCH the drag racer. Dangerously fast. The decision was not a poor one, almost any cop would give pursuit of drag racers. There is double the chance that some innocent person could be hit by the out of control Porsche or motorcycle, during the race. And the initial offense was not just an infraction, but a misdeamenor. When the bike and/or car began to flee from the cop, it could have turned into a felony.

IF the motorcyclist deliberately shot the cop, that would be a charge of Capital Murder, not just aggrevated assualt or manslaughter.

Think in terms of the law. You're drag racing and hit an innocent driver, you're guilty. You're drag racing and swerve toward another driver, causing them to swerve and lose control, you're guilty. You're drag racing and the other guy loses control of his vehicle and dies, you're guilty.
You're drag racing and cause the cops to come after you, and they wreck, you're guilty.

I agree, the penalty is harsh and the laws are inequitable from state to state, but if you do something as stupid as this, you take your chances.

Folks like me are paid to risk our lives. But, if I die due to the criminal actions of another, I'd hope that folks like you were NOT sitting on the jury. I'd hope for a more reasonable person, who could see that a person committing such an offense should be punished for the effect of his actions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
No disrespect intended. The officer exceeded the capabilities of his vehicle and/or his level of skill in attempting to overtake the pair. His decision to give chase rather than apprehend via call ahead for road block ... his responsibility. Lawyers skills vary greatly, jury deliberations are whimsical. Not manslaughter, street racing and speeding yes, but maybe there's some key evidence the press didn't bother to tell us.

When I speed (fast or Fast) am I responsible for someone in the opposite lane spilling coffee in their lap and driving off the road just because of my presence? Why not ... maybe 30 years for deviant criminal behavior at the taxpayers expense.

This 'reckless' drivel bugs me. That brief flash to 120 mph on an empty road with 50 posted. Maybe I'm up to it, the bike certainly is, nobodies endangered. Automatic 'reckless'. Maybe the definition of reckless and socially non-obedient is the same and those that partake must be severely routed out. I'll try not to get caught.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
I believe that the reasonable person would assume the cop is going to do his job and chase the drag racers.
Self assessment indicates I'm reasonable. I would assume that every effort would be taken to terminate the activity and apprehend those involved. A chase is one possible facet but not a certainty. Subtle difference. Personally, I would worry more about what may lie ahead than follow behind.

But, if I die due to the criminal actions of another,
or come to harm. Yes. However, if, due to the actions of another, you choose a particular course do you not bear some, if not all, responsibility for the outcome?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
310 Posts
Larry said:
Is the principle that if you are comitting a serious crime and someone dies, you are responsible?
Apparently it can be. From a LEO friend in AZ:

"In my state there is a felony murder rule, if you and a buddy are committing a bank robbery and I kill your buddy while doing my job, guess who gets charged with murder, you."

Now is there a similar law in FL? Probably. Will ask a friend in my home town of Melbourne.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
486 Posts
This is an over simplification.
The bank robbery senerio and the traffic chase/fatal accident in this case are not where near close.
The divers of both vehicles are clearly violating the law. I doubt drag racing is a felony. However, had one of them crashed into another car killing another person, both would be criminally liable.

However, the police office chasing them had a choice to chase or to back off. The reckeless drivers of the motorcycle and Porsche are not responsible for officers decison to chase or not to chase.

Both should be punished equally. But 30 years for the motorcycle driver is too harsh.

This is just my opinion and I'm a retired LEO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Shaun said:
Self assessment indicates I'm reasonable. I would assume that every effort would be taken to terminate the activity and apprehend those involved. A chase is one possible facet but not a certainty. Subtle difference. Personally, I would worry more about what may lie ahead than follow behind.

or come to harm. Yes. However, if, due to the actions of another, you choose a particular course do you not bear some, if not all, responsibility for the outcome?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Self-assessment has nothing to do with the legal "reasonable person" standard. It is an objective test, that looks at what an average person would do in a particular set of circumstances. Obviously your "I'll try not to get caught" comment puts you outside the reasonable person standard.

Actually, most cops don't have a huge amount of choices in a situation such as the one we are debating. Roadblocks are Hollywood only. Unless, they have a helicopter cop like me in the area, the cop in the car either goes after the racers, or he turns a blind eye to it.

Maybe you wouldn't take such a flippant view of street racing if you met the victims of racers that crash their cars into other drivers, or kill their passengers. I hope you don't cause a wreck while you are street racing, but if you do, the excuse of being socially disobedient probably won't fly; even in Canada.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
MadMax said:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Roadblocks are Hollywood only. Unless, they have a helicopter cop like me in the area, the cop in the car either goes after the racers, or he turns a blind eye to it.

Maybe you wouldn't take such a flippant view of street racing if you met the victims of racers that crash their cars into other drivers, or kill their passengers. I hope you don't cause a wreck while you are street racing, but if you do, the excuse of being socially disobedient probably won't fly; even in Canada.
I made the, apparently inaccurate, assumption that highway enforcement was uniform and stand corrected. Here the RCMP have the option to pursue or transfer (to a national level if need be), in concert with communication to dispatch. This decision is based on knowledgably assessing risk to themselves and the general public arising from a high speed chase, and the potential for the danger to escalate due to the pursuit. In other words, apprehension at minimum risk. My reference to roadblocks was a caffeine induced generic expression.

I don't condone or participate in Street Racing. I have been acquainted to a varying degree with vehicular casualties and have no need, or desire, to review the tragic consequences of operator misjudgment. However, I do believe that a variant of your suggestion should be a mandatory, and major, component of the licencing process. IMHO people are being coddled into a false sense of indestructability through movies/TV/computer games with little appreciation for the seriousness of their actions ... hmmm, different topic.

Flippant? A rather curious term for a subject I take very, very seriously.
'Speed Kills' ... that's flippant.

I sincerely hope I don't 'cause' a wreck, or any other unfortunate incident, due to my riding. IMHO 'cause' is the key word in question in this discussion and the word for which I'm considering personal implications. Did the motocyclist place the officer in the position where he had absolutely no other alternative but to pursue at maximum speed, with its inevitable outcome? Am I, simply by nature of perceived intimidating prescence, accountable for each and every reaction of others on the road?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Assuming that we know all of the pertinent details, I don't think the punishment fit the crime either. I too would like to know what the Porsche did and what he/she received as punishment.

I must agree with Shaun that the officer made a CHOICE. In many localities there is a maximum pursuit speed (usually 100 mph) allowed UNLESS there are extenuating circumstances such as chasing a known murderer, kidnapper, etc. Speeding, drag racing, auto theft or even armed robbery suspects (nobody hurt) are NOT reasons for pursuit above that maximum limit.

Why not pursue? For reasons like EXACTLY what happened....pursuit almost always encourages more dangerous driving (higher speeds, taking more chances with lane changes or traffic signals, etc.) and longer periods of those dangerous actions. BOTH of these actions put the public in even more danger, so, it is usually better for all involved to let them go for now.

In this case in Florida, it seems that the officer made a serious judgment error and was going "150 mph" in an attempt to catch the motorcycle which was "exceeding 100 mph". There is a HUGE difference in driving 100 or even 110 mph as compared to 150 mph and a HUGE difference doing this in a Camaro vs. on a bike. The officer apparently let adrenalin or his ego or both cloud his judgment. Get a description, radio it in, interview witnesses....if they are habitual violators they will eventually be caught or die.

I didn't read every link to know what the road or traffic conditions were like so I can't comment about putting others in danger, however, there were witnesses so it wasn't a lonely stretch without anyone else around. I only mention this as it probably wasn't a premeditated drag race; it was most likely a roll-on ego trip that got out-of-hand. This has happened to almost every driver at some point in time, but, most of us don't push it that far or run from the law, both of wich were bad judgement by the biker.

So, should a police officer lose his life due to bad judgment? No, this was unfortunate!

Should the biker lose 30 years of his life (assuming he was otherwise a "normal" person) due to bad judgment? No, this was over-reaction!

Should a pre-meditated murderer lose 30 years of his life or be put to death for his CRIME? Absolutely!

Just my $.02

Randy
 
1 - 20 of 85 Posts
Top