This excellent animation from TrueMajority shows in
graphic detail (using Oreo cookies) how ridiculously, large
the military budget is, and how we could solve many domestic
problems with a modest 12% cut. A must-see. (watch
Which battery is best? We cover
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Collision: Friday, 12-17-99, night time
APD Case No. 99-3511578, DA Cause
Jay Williams was struck and
severely injured by a hit-and-run driver. Even though witnesses
got the license plate number of the vehicle, the police would not
investigate or take any action until a City Councilmember asked
the police chief for an explanation.
letter to a city councilmember.
Dear Mr. Daryl
In the past you
have shown a special interest in public safety and have also
advocated for bicycle riders on many occasions. Because of this, I
am writing to you to request help on a problem I have. Although
the problem directly concerns me, I believe it would also be of
interest to the public in general and definitely to other bicycle
On the night of
December 17, while riding my bicycle, I was run over by a
hit-and-run car driver. I sustained two broken legs, a light
concussion and numerous cuts and bruises. When admitted to
Brackenridge Hospital, it was serious enough to be classified as a
level two trauma incident. I am recovering (still not back to work
yet) but this is not the problem.
The problem is
that as of this date, the Austin Police Department has not taken
any action on this incident-even though witnesses provided APD
with a description of the driver, a description of the car and a
license plate number. Even if the APD wasn't sure who the driver
was, I'd think they could have impounded the vehicle. This isn't
the case though. My brother, a lawyer in Houston, called APD
shortly after the incident and inquired about it. He discovered
that the case (#99-3511578) was assigned to someone on vacation.
After a little pressure, my brother got APD to assign it to
someone who wasn't on vacation (Det. Patrick South). My father
also called several times and only recently received a return
call. At that time, the officer would only state that my case was
moving up the list.
I admit that
this happened at a busy time for APD. I also realize that they
have a lot of active cases to keep them busy. However, to me it
seems like this might be an easy case. One in which if they
couldn't get who actually did it, at least get his vehicle. As my
friends tell me, by now the hit-and-run driver probably fixed the
car, sold it to someone who took it to Mexico and the has moved to
some other state. This doesn't seem fair.
So I was hoping
you might be able to at least make an inquiry to APD for me.
Perhaps if a city council member were to show an interest, the APD
would too. Again, I admit that this problem largely concerns me.
However, as a hit-and-run driver is still out on the streets
somewhere, at least it also has some public interest.
your time and wish you continued success on the city
have no memory of much of the accident. My last true memory was
riding south on the road just west of Hancock Golf course. I was hit
on 38 1/2 street, although I don't remember turning onto it. The
exact location is Liberty and 38 1/2, or one block east of Duval and
38 1/2. According to witnesses, I was on the right side of the road
when the driver of the car hit me. I went up onto the car and hit the
window. He got out, yelled something and then drove off. I don't know
what he yelled, but I doubt it was an apology. My father went to the
site the next day to take photos and estimates I may have been thrown
up to 50 feet (I have some doubts). Parts of my bike definitely made
it that distance. However, the only thing I remember is looking up
and seeing four people looking down at me. I did have two lights on.
Both were blinking red lights. One was attached to the back of my
bike, the other I wore on my left arm so people can see it in front,
back and left side. According to witnesses, the lights were working
even after the accident. No headlight though. No helmet either. I
admit, I was extremely lucky. I was also lucky as the witnesses were
right behind the guy who hit me and I believe they called EMS and APD
as those people seemed to show up pretty quickly. Although time
didn't mean much to me. In fact, I don't even remember being loaded
in the Ambulance or the ride to Brack. The more grisly details: I had
four breaks in my right fibula, two breaks in the right tibia, one
break in the left tibia, lots of bruises, including a few to the
head, and a light concussion. I was in the hospital and live-in rehab
for 12 days and still haven't returned to work (at UT), although I
hope to hobble in next week. I'll try to keep you up to date on the
police progress--nope, nothing yet, even though witnesses gave
description of guy, car and license plate. Sheesh.
1-23-00: Based on the license plate number provided by Jay,
we were able to identify the vehicle and the driver (name, address,
etc.). However, it's not yet clear whether the license plate number
was seen by just one witness or multiple witnesses, so it's not
certain whether we have the right car and driver. Also, Jay's
attorney has advised him to have no contact with the alleged driver
while the police "investigation" is pending, though as of today when
we called Jay, he had still heard nothing from the police (or from
1-24-00: Slusher's office informs us that Mr. Slusher is very
concerned about Jay's case, and has forwarded Jay's letter to police
chief Stan Knee, asking him to respond to both Jay and to Slusher's
Jay wrote to add
the following on 2-3-00: A few days ago, I
received a phone call from a woman from APD. Although she didn't
identify what department she was with, I assume she was either an
assistant to the chief or worked for him in some capacity as she
referred to him. Basically she said that she had gathered the info
she needed (it's almost like they don't read their own reports) and
was passing my complaint about inaction on to a field commander. The
next day I got a call from a Lt. Calvin Smith (he left a message), so
I called him back today. He's not the guy investigating the case,
he's apparently just following up on my complaint about the lack of
action. He stated that they had made an initial contact with the guy
who owns the car and were in the process of getting his picture so
the APD can make a photo line-up to present to the witnesses. If they
can identify the guy, then we have something and they will prosecute.
So at least there is finally some progress. If it means anything, Lt.
Smith said he thought APD should have done more sooner.... He also
said the investigating officer would get in contact with me soon.
What "soon" means in APD language is beyond me. So that's the latest
word. Thanks again for your interest. I think your inquiry to Daryl
Slusher's office helped get this thing going a little bit, so thanks
for that too. Got my 2nd copy of your E-newsletter and really enjoyed
it. You do a good job of getting the biking word out. Keep it
2-17-00: Jay wrote to tell us that the police arrested the
driver on Feb. 8th and charged him with Failure to Stop and Render
Jay wrote to add the following on 3-7-01: Here's the latest
scoop: The suspect, Reyna, skipped bail one time, was rearrested, and
made bail again. Interesting how the system works. For the most part,
he had been pleading innocent, but at least one of the witnesses was
able to make a positive ID. He eventually decided to plead no contest
and so the case was headed toward a plea hearing. Then somebody
discovered that he had previous DWI's and so the county decided to
pass it along to the District Attorney and bump it up to a Felony....
Unfortunately, nothing more has happened since then (January). Those
old, cranky wheels of justice are turning, but in their own sluggish
way. I'm told that by being a felony now, this guy could get some
serious prison time, instead of just a county lock up. However,
judging from the other cases on your web site, I sort of have my
doubts he'll do more than some community service. But who knows, one
of these days we may be biking along a road and see him picking up
trash on the shoulder.
4-2-01: The District Attorney's office tells us that the case
is pending (i.e., no court date has been set.). This is over a year
after he was arrested and charged.
I've tried without success to get local groups to add their events to this calendar (Bike Texas, the Yellow Bike Project, City's Bicycle Program, Bike Austin, etc.)
If you'd like to help edit the calendar, or at least add your group's events to it, then please let me know!
Another site by Michael Bluejay...
Saving Electricity. Find out how much juice your stuff uses, and how to save money and energy. As seen in Newsweek.