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Active Expert: Gale Bernhardt

2 Posts tagged with the hit-and-run tag

In yesterday’s blog I wrote about a hit-and-run driver getting a break on charges due to his job and presumably financial status.The story is getting national attention.


Today, the Vail Daily printed a column interviewing the District Attorney (Hulbert) and he stands by his decision to not press felony charges.


“At this point, the two misdemeanors are the best plea bargain given his lack of (criminal) history,” Hurlbert said.

A felony count — leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury ­— was on the table earlier, but it's not part of the plea agreement, Hurlbert said.


Additionally,  Hulbert says that once a plea bargain is put forth, the only one that can renege on a plea agreement is the judge.


You can read the full article here.

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Not only is the Vail cycling community unhappy, the incident made Colorado network news. The Vail Daily reported that prosecutors decided not to file felony charges against a financial manager for wealthy clients in an alleged hit-and-run incident.


The decision to not file felony charges are apparently not based on the alleged incident, rather on the financial status of the person, Martin Erzinger, driving the car. The District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said that Erzinger is willing to take responsibility and pay restitution. Because of his willingness to pay, felony charges weren’t pressed.


“Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger's profession, and that entered into it,” Hurlbert said. “When you're talking about restitution, you don't want to take away his ability to pay.”


A regular blog reader dropped me a note to point out that this is the same District Attorney that filed felony charges against the cyclists that sold a $250 race entry to another rider. The Denver Post reported on the filing and I wrote about the incident in the spring. The felony charges were eventually dropped.


I’m not understanding the logic behind felony charges against the two female racers; but none against the alleged hit-and-run driver. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.


Further, do you think legal charges should be based on the ability to pay restitution?

1,143 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: colorado, cyclist, vail, hit-and-run, felony_charges