Driver Kills Cyclist On Open Road In Iowa. $500 Is The Only Fine

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In broad daylight, on an open county road last June, Gerald Williams, age 58, of Lenox, Iowa, was killed when a car struck him riding his bike.

The driver, a 33-year-old woman, claims she thought she “struck a deer.” After looking for the animal, she drove away and did not report the incident.

In the tall grass the biker, Williams, lay dead.

Eventually things were sorted out. Williams was missing, and then his body was found. The police determined who hit him.

The driver went to court. There was an investigation and legal proceedings. In the end, announced this week in regional newspapers and a press release from the Lenox Police, a fine for the woman, Jessica May Brown, was assigned at only $500.

There’s been an uproar in the community. “That’s all she gets for taking a man’s life and then leaving the scene and telling people she thought she hit a deer?” said a commenter on the Lenox Iowa Police Department Facebook page. “That’s pathetic and they should make her pay the price for the crime.”

Other members of the community said, “How about manslaughter?” And: “Her negligence caused a man’s death and the justice system slaps her with a minimal fine? Absolutely appalling!”

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Screen grab of comments from Lenox Iowa Police Department Facebook page

There are dozens of comments on social media and articles this week on the incident in area newspapers.

Williams was an avid cyclist. He was riding on a popular bicycle route when hit.

Brown was charged with the offense of “Failure to Stop at an Assured Clear Distance.”

It’s a sad situation, and seemingly an outrageous “punishment” for a driver who, aware and consciously or not, ended a life.

—Stephen Regenold

Posted by Bruce Warren - 01/14/2014 12:00 PM

If the bike and body were thrown into tall grass, her story sounds plausible. I have hit two deer that limped away. How about thinking about the Flip Side. Maybe Gerald was at fault… heart attack? looking at GPS? stopped on shoulder changing tire? looking down to get the drink bottle? tire blowout? bird whacked into his face? stopped in the middle of the lane? Every bicycle rider needs to remember that ALL our roads were built for high speed motorized vehicles, not bicycles. I take big risks skydiving and didn’t try to blame the ground when I broke my leg. I take big risks skiing and didn’t try to blame the tree I smashed into.

Posted by Paul - 01/15/2014 11:07 AM

Bruce Warren you are wrong. Roads were built for people like Doug said. Matter of fact the ONLY reason roads are paved is because of cyclists at the turn of the century, before cars were even a ‘big thing’ Crazy right? You ought to change your way of thinking because it gets people killed.

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