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#1 2013-02-14 21:54:21

badgnome
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Registered: 2012-01-26
Posts: 50

Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

I think there are many positive things that could come out of this awful, sad situation.

This could be a good place to start: In the words of the victim's father, "A person can not be incentivized for leaving the scene of an accident and leaving someone to die," he said.

"It's as simple as that. The law, 'failure to render aid,' has got to be changed. And we intend, our family intends, to do something about that," Griffin said.

The Griffin family hopes to bring the law to the Texas Legislature, and work with lawmakers to get harsher penalties added.

I for one would like to see organizations, like LAB and biketexas, support such efforts.

[Note: I do realize the victim was not a cyclist, but feel that this is applicable to the cycling community since the law shouldn't discriminate.]

Last edited by badgnome (2013-02-14 21:57:56)

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#2 2013-02-14 22:05:58

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,207
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Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

Hi, would you post a link to this case since not everyone's familiar with it?

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#3 2013-02-14 23:26:00

AusTexMurf
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From: South Austin
Registered: 2008-11-21
Posts: 439

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

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#4 2013-02-19 10:39:00

badgnome
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Registered: 2012-01-26
Posts: 50

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

Does anyone know if it is legal in Austin for pedestrians to use the bike lanes? If she was hit while in the bike lane does that relieve the driver of negligence?

I looked at 1600 exposition on google maps and it has a sidewalk on one side and a bike lane and no sidewalk on the other.

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#5 2013-02-19 10:46:13

Donald Lewis
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Registered: 2009-07-11
Posts: 182

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

By law you are supposed to use a sidewalk if available.  That does not excuse drunk hit and run or driving in the bike lane.

Don in Austin

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#6 2013-02-20 12:29:18

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
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Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

In the comments section of the following article, many readers are blaming the victim for walking in the bike lane when getting hit by a hit-and-run drunk driver.

I also note that Statesman writers and editors don't know the difference between _who's_ and _whose_.  Sorry excuse for a real newspaper.

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/crim … -he/nWSSK/

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#7 2013-02-20 19:14:12

AusTexMurf
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From: South Austin
Registered: 2008-11-21
Posts: 439

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

Insanity.

I cannot understand the rationale behind many of these comments. It is also hard for me to believe that several, perhaps many in our community share the opinion that the victim was at fault.

Yes. Some people walk in the roadway and/or bike lanes. You still can't run over them with your car. Hello. And driving drunk when running over the woman ? And fleeing the scene. Wow.

You would think that people would agree that you just can't mow people over with your car because they happen to be in the space on the road that you would like to travel through when going home from a hard day at the bar........

Last edited by AusTexMurf (2013-02-20 19:21:45)

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#8 2013-02-20 20:12:15

dougmc
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Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 553

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

MichaelBluejay wrote:

In the comments section of the following article, many readers are blaming the victim for walking in the bike lane when getting hit by a hit-and-run drunk driver.

This happened in the 1600 block of Exposition.

There, one side of Exposition has a sidewalk and the other does not.  If she was walking on the side with a sidewalk but was in the bike lane, then she would indeed have been breaking the law -- of course, Nestande would also be breaking the law, by driving in the bike lane, by driving drunk, by leaving the scene.

If she was walking on the other side, the side without a sidewalk, then she'd be obeying the law.

Neither situation excuses what happened to her, but it *is* possible that Griffin was breaking the law.  Which wouldn't excuse what Nestande did, but might have an impact on the outcome.

Actually, the story says that Nestande was going South -- well, Southbound is the direction where there's no sidewalk, so unless Nestande crossed the middle of the road and hit Griffin in the opposing bike lane, Griffin was where she legally belonged.

And you know as well as anybody that reading the comments section in any news article regarding bicycling isn't good for your blood pressure ...

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#9 2013-02-22 12:20:15

AusTexMurf
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From: South Austin
Registered: 2008-11-21
Posts: 439

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

Nestande Found Guilty of Criminally Negligent Homicide
Jurors expected to begin sentencing deliberations Friday.

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/crim … omi/nWWtW/

Last edited by AusTexMurf (2013-02-22 12:23:11)

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#10 2013-02-22 15:37:15

owlman
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Registered: 2011-12-16
Posts: 142

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

I find it interesting that they found her guilty of criminally negligent homicide, but not intoxication manslaughter.  Does that mean the jury thought that checking one's phone while driving (as Nestande claimed she did) is criminally negligent?  Or does the jury think that having multiple drinks (but not proven to be intoxicated) and driving is criminally negligent?

I also wonder if they would have convicted for intoxication manslaughter if the DA didn't include criminally negligent homicide as an option.

Last edited by owlman (2013-02-22 15:37:49)

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#11 2013-02-22 15:54:45

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
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Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

They convicted her of the lightest possible charge.  She knowingly drove drunk and killed someone, but wasn't convicted of intoxication manslaughter.  She left the victim for dead, but wasn't charged with failure to stop and render aid.  Someone try to tell me that there's no bias against walkers and cyclists in our culture, even in Austin.

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#12 2013-02-22 16:07:20

dougmc
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Posts: 553

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

MichaelBluejay wrote:

They convicted her of the lightest possible charge.

Wouldn't "failure to stop and render aid" be an even lesser charge?

She got convicted of a felony.  That's way more than most get in similar situations (probably drunk, kill pedestrian/cyclist, sober up, lawyer up, then contact police with story about hitting a deer.)  We should consider this to be at least a partial victory rather than a defeat.

Of course, I guess we really should wait until we find out what sentence she gets.  It won't be enough, but it could be *way* too little too.

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#13 2013-02-22 16:16:54

dougmc
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Posts: 553

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

"Ten year suspended sentence" ... probation.  OK, way too little, time to call it a defeat.

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#14 2013-02-22 16:50:27

Donald Lewis
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Registered: 2009-07-11
Posts: 182

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

I am close to physically ill.   I only hope the prosecutors are as determined the next time this happens -- which it surely will soon given the message sent.

Don in Austin

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#15 2013-02-22 18:20:14

MichaelBluejay
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From: Austin, TX
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Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

So...I guess it was easier for the jurors to identify with the drunk driver who left the scene, than with someone walking along the road?

I would so like to leave this planet.

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#16 2013-02-22 18:49:20

Donald Lewis
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Registered: 2009-07-11
Posts: 182

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

MichaelBluejay wrote:

So...I guess it was easier for the jurors to identify with the drunk driver who left the scene, than with someone walking along the road?

I would so like to leave this planet.

I would like to think not ALL the jurors.  They almost had a mistrial because of a strong difference of opinion.  We don't know which side eventually gave in.

Given how nobody really wants a mistrial, and the judge sure didn't, it would take just one juror who drives a little drunk to seriously compromise justice.

Don

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#17 2013-02-22 18:59:39

AusTexMurf
Member
From: South Austin
Registered: 2008-11-21
Posts: 439

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

Why ???
Yuck.
Disgusted.
Again.
Austin's official standard mode of operation is to drink, drive, run over pedestrians on the road, flee the scene, leave them to die, maybe get probation. Now we have really endorsed fleeing the scene as a community, publicly and on the record. Our prosecutors dropped the ball and the jurors (we the people) identified with a drunk privileged driver instead of a woman walking down the road after helping a friend home. The jurors should be disgusted with themselves. You failed us all.
Don't know where to start or stop.
Yes I do, at least the start. The problem is our automobile and oil industry dominated culture. How to stop, I have no idea. Neither my disgust nor our car culture. Leaving out how money trumps justice in our city, in our nation. That isn't how this problem started. Just how it ended.
Makes me ill.

Last edited by AusTexMurf (2013-02-22 21:19:28)

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#18 2013-02-22 20:10:00

Donald Lewis
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Registered: 2009-07-11
Posts: 182

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

Why do you say the prosecutors dropped the ball?  I think the fact that they lost reflects more on certain members of the jury.  From all I read, the prosecutors were handling the case aggressively.

They were doing the best they could for a DWI conviction without blood or breath alcohol readings or even a field sobriety test.
A win would have been precedent setting -- and thoroughly justified, of course.   I am sure they are bitterly disappointed.
   
Don

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#19 2013-02-22 20:11:21

badgnome
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Registered: 2012-01-26
Posts: 50

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

This is a travesty.

“My heart goes out to the Griffin family who have been sentenced to a lifetime without their loving daughter, with woefully minor consequences for the individual responsible for this senseless and completely avoidable tragedy,” Acevedo said in the statement.

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#20 2013-02-22 20:20:31

AusTexMurf
Member
From: South Austin
Registered: 2008-11-21
Posts: 439

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

Cold, hard evidence of DWI, lacking for Texas legal purposes, probably. She was drunk as Cooter Brown after another exhausting day pounding drinks at the bar. Whatever, so......
Possible doubt as to intoxication manslaughter charge.
What about manslaughter, failure to stop and render aid, recklessness, etc....
Everyone knows that she hit Griffin and then ran away without rendering aid...yet she was not convicted for failure to stop and render aid.
A combo of these charges ?
Added to criminally negligent homicide ?
Why did the DA give them the option of cnh at all ? Was it just to avoid a hung jury ?
They could have retried it then, correct ?
At least it would have cost Nestande and her family that much more money.
Think what it cost Griffin and her family......
None of it matters now, anyway.
Deal is done.

Edit:
"None of this matters anyway."
Sorry about that. Of course it does.
Mattered a lot to Courtney Griffin.
Still does to her family.
And to me.
And to many in our community.
What changes can we create in the existing societal system that created and then allowed to proceed the process and final outcome of the entire chain of events ?

Last edited by AusTexMurf (2013-02-22 21:28:22)

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#21 2013-02-22 21:04:49

AusTexMurf
Member
From: South Austin
Registered: 2008-11-21
Posts: 439

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

Posted by bobr0482 at 11:55 a.m. Feb. 22, 2013

Like Father like daughter, Bruce Nestande DUI, hit and run in 2007... now the family can add getting away with murder to their family heir

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
Ex-O.C. supervisor sentenced to jail time

April 25, 2007 | David Haldane, Times Staff Writer

Former Orange County Supervisor and Assemblyman Bruce Nestande was sentenced Tuesday to six months in jail and three years' probation in connection with a drunk-driving accident last year. Nestande, 69, had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence and hit-and-run, as well as filing a fraudulent insurance claim, a felony. Under a plea agreement, the felony charge will be dropped if he completes his confinement and probation, his lawyer said.

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#22 2013-02-22 21:44:41

dougmc
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Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 553

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

Donald Lewis wrote:

I would like to think not ALL the jurors.  They almost had a mistrial because of a strong difference of opinion.  We don't know which side eventually gave in.

Well, the verdict and sentence suggests some sort of compromise -- but it seems pretty clear to me which side gave up the most.

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#23 2013-02-23 16:59:51

bizikletari
Member
Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

I wish I could say I am surprised. But I am not; it does not surprise me at all that a random selection of Austinites would feel themselves closer to Nestande than Griffin. Since chances are that if on the streets at 1am most Austinites will be on a  car rather than walking, even if coming from a bar or party; naturally, their gut feelings will be those of a driver not those of a pedestrian.

More bad news: In the other case currently in my radar, that of bike commuter Brian Lindquist, it has been reported that the judge has not even suspended the licence to the driver who hit Brian, dragged him for four blocks and left him for dead without rendering help.

This is the world we are in.

Last edited by bizikletari (2013-02-23 17:01:34)

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#24 2013-02-24 02:07:30

savanni
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From: Austin
Registered: 2011-04-30
Posts: 82
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Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

She gets to keep her driver's license, too, doesn't she?

Is there any way we can make a loud enough protest about this?  Is there any kind of media attention we can shine on this?  Or will it just be more screaming into a hurricane?

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#25 2013-02-24 02:40:29

dougmc
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Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 553

Re: Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011

savanni wrote:

Is there any way we can make a loud enough protest about this?

To what end?

She's been found guilty and sentenced by a jury of her peers.  Public outrage, no matter how much of it there is, should not be able to add to that.

That said, the news8austin reporter that was covering the case said that the judge can add to the penalty, and said it again here, so maybe there's still some room.

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