One of the things I love about living in Colorado, specifically our town in Colorado, is that it is so bike friendly. Anytime I am driving anywhere I see many cyclists- some obviously training, others using their bikes as transportation. Bobby bikes to work 80% of the time, and as you've seen on this blog we go on longer rides on the weekends together. I bike to the gym, and to the grocery store when I'm not doubling up on car errands. The point is, we're those nerds that eagerly keep up with cities installing bike lanes, or the newest green bamboo bikes that are coming out, or how some cities are created pedestrian only zones. It's a part of our lifestyle, and we appreciate living in a city that caters to it.
So. Imagine how pissed I was when I hopped on Facebook, and read a news article linked by a friend of ours- the same friend that went with us on our Tour de Flats 2010 bike ride. A wealthy financial manager, Martin Joel Erzinger, struck a cyclist- Dr. Steven Milo- on the highway in a town near where we live. Erzinger did not stop to see if the human being he struck had been killed. Instead, he drove to a local Pizza Hut where he called a tow truck and his insurance company to take care of his 2010 Mercedes. He didn't even place an anonymous call to 911 to send an ambulance out to his victim- no, his only concern was his car. Instead, another motorist came to Milo's rescue, and luckily Milo's life did not end on the side of a highway that day.
Now, I know you're thinking "that's terrible, but unfortunately people are crappy and hit and runs happen all the time". Yes, that's true. But it gets worse my friends. Much worse.
The DA, Mark Hurlbert, decided that Erzinger would not be charged with a felony- which is the standard charge. I mean, if you leave a human to die in a ditch on the side of the road, I kind of think a felony is getting off easy. But not Hurlbert. Oh, no. You see, he is on the record stating that Erzinger will not be charged with a felony because...
oh wait for it...
IT WILL AFFECT ERZINGER'S PROFESSION, AND HE MIGHT LOSE HIS JOB.
Yeah, read it again. A man is not being charged as he should because he "manages more than $1 billion in assets. He would have to publicly disclose any felony charge within 30 days, according to North American Securities Dealers regulations."
Oh, wow, I'm sorry. How terrible to have to suffer the consequences of your actions! I mean, I kind of thought the point of LAWS and the CONSEQUENCES OF BREAKING THEM is exactly what keeps people from doing so. If you didn't want to lose your job because of a felony, here's an idea- how 'bout you not COMMIT A FELONY??
So, here's the lesson kittens- if you make enough money, you are above the law. And people won't even try to hide that- they'll admit it to local papers and not even think twice about whether or not it's a good practice to remove negative consequences from one's actions, as long as one is wealthy. My friend Matt said he e-mailed DA Hurlbert and asked him "if he had a handy chart of net-worth to crimes you could get away with" committing. Because it's that blatant.
For the record, Milo- you know, the one who was LEFT TO DIE IN A DITCH- has stated he doesn't care about receiving monetary damages. Milo is a doctor, and presumably he is ok financially. Rather, he would understandably like Erzinger to be punished according to the law, not according to how much money Erzinger handles and makes.
If you, like me, are appalled that any DA would admit to not charging a criminal appropriately because it would affect the criminal's ability to enjoy his salary and keep his job, please sign the following petition-
Here is the original story-
And here is the DA's information if you are so inclined to mail a letter, call, or fax regarding his decision:
...Eagle Count Justice Center Annex Building
955 Chambers Avenue
Eagle, CO 81631
Click here for a printable map.
Eagle County District Attorney's Office
P.O. Box 295
Eagle, CO 81631