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
blames cyclists for getting hit by intoxicated driver, fails to
investigate properly (Tomball,
My father, Conrad F. Anderson,
was struck and killed May 7, 2000 on FM 2920 in Tomball, TX at
about 8:15 a.m. Sunday morning by a drunk driver. He was riding
his bike on the shoulder and was hit by a 16 year old driving an
83 Cad. My father's girlfriend was hit first sustaining two breaks
in her leg and a severe head wound. She was life-flighted. My
father on the other hand was killed on impact. He was not wearing
a helmet and although he should have worn one we were told it
would not have mattered. His neck was broken and his body had
either been launched or dragged 26ft. from original impact. His
body was in such bad shape he was not suitable to view in an open
casket funeral -- not just because of his head but due to the fact
the funeral home could not patch all the leaks in his body.
We were told by DPS that my
father should not have been riding on the shoulder. Just a
little way from where he was riding is a posted sign for a bicycle
lane. We are outraged that this thought could even be uttered
considering the blood of the criminal in question contained
cocaine, pot, and a 0.04 alcohol level. This person not only ran
down two cyclists but he completely ran down a ditch and into a
residential fence. In other words, due to the blood content, the
driver completely lost control of his vehicle. Also, what good
is a bike lane if you're not supposed to be using
At this point we do not have an
accident report, but it is rumored that this individual ran down
these two cyclists doing about 80 mph on a 55 mph road. [The
criminal] case is being handled by the 314th district court in
Houston by DA Barbara Twig.
We are doing a civil lawsuit
[ourselves]. I would be very interested in what I can do
to change this attitude that cyclists are at fault when they are
hit by a drunk driver in a bicycle lane or shoulder. If you have
any further questions or if you are interested in the case, feel
free to e-mail me.
sorry to hear of your loss. The attitude expressed by the DPS
officer is, unfortunately, not surprising. But as for what you can
do to change society's attitude that cyclists are always at fault
when motorists hit them, you might as well be asking how to
eliminate any other kind of societal prejudice, like racism.
There's no easy answer to either question. In fact, if there were
easy answers, then I wouldn't need to spend my time documenting
all the cases in which cyclists DIDN'T get
your frustration, and I feel it myself -- that's why I started the
"No Justice" web page to inform the public about what's going on.
(In fact, I'm not even sure anybody else is doing similar work.)
But changing people's minds -- that's a tough one. The struggle
I read with sadness your post
that Michael has passed along to the rest of our cycling
community. It looks like another of the tragic instances that are
all too frequent on our streets and roadways. There seems to be no
easy way to keep people from operating their vehicles while under
the influence of alcohol and drugs. What happened to your father
and his girlfriend happens regularly to pedestrians, cyclists and
other motorists when someone drives under the
However, from your description
of what has happened IN RESPONSE to this tragic crash is an
inequity that seems to be visited mostly on cyclists.
I recommend that you try to
round up support and a courtroom presence for the criminal trial
by taking your story to the press and to the bicycle community of
HABA (Houston Area Bicycle
Alliance) is an advocacy group in your area that may be of help.
Also, there are groups like the Houston Bicycle Club, Inc. Send
your story to Charlie
newsletter editor and see if he will print it in their monthly
You need to do what you can to
raise support and put cyclists in that courtroom. Send a message
to the court that cyclists are watching how the criminal case
As for the civil case. find a
good attorney. If that attorney does not ride a bike, suggest that
a consultant on bicyclist behavior be enlisted to analyze the
circumstances. It probably wouldn't hurt to have an expert witness
in that regard.
Find someone with credentials
the court will recognize. In Houston there are several experienced
cyclists who hold credentials in proper bicyclist behavior. I
know, I trained them. They are instructors in the League of
American Bicyclists' Effective Cycling Program which is the only
nationally recognized bicycle skills and safety education program.
I am the regional trainer for that program and for the Texas
SuperCyclist children's education program. I have trained at least
six instructors in Houston area and can think of two who would be
good choices and much closer to you geographically than I am. I do
not know that they have ever served as expert witnesses, but they
are qualified in my opinion.
Seriously consider these
options. I have served as a consultant or expert witness in
several cases and know that even the court is often ignorant of
the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists.
Please do pursue a civil action
as it is the only way to effect change and inform the public.
Also, at this stage (I lost my first wife in an automobile
accident in which I eventually resorted to a civil suit to correct
a defect in the automoile manufacturer's design.), it will be the
only compensation you or anyone else will ever receive for your
Take care, and I'd like to know
how it goes if you would keep me apprised.
P.O. Box 100, Manchaca, TX
Amanda sent this update
Quite honestly the public was
allowed to know more than I was by simply watching the news the
day this happened. It was quite irritating to call the police and
other officials to try and get information but no one would give
We attended the first release
hearing but were unable to attend the second because on that day
we were sprinkling my father's body in Oregon, but my father's
girlfriend and my uncle stayed and went to the hearing. It was at
that point they learned cocaine and pot were also found in the
driver's system. However, this info is not found on the accident
report although the police officer did arrest this guy for
intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault.
I questioned the DA but
[she didn't seem to be convinced that the case was strong
without the driver being over the legal limit for blood
alcohol.] This worries me and I'm not quite sure I understand.
I'm hoping she was just tired. Every time I try to call her she is
either in court or gone for the day because she had been up all
night the day before.
My sister-in-law is a police
officer. I showed her the accident report, which is marked as
"complete", and asked her if she felt it was complete. She looked
it over and said "no". This report does not show how fast the guy
was going although it does say he had been speeding. The accident
report does not show where my father's body was tossed or where
the vehicle finally rested. I had been told by witnesses that this
guy went down the ditch and into a fence, but this is not shown on
the report. The only thing the report shows is who was hit and at
what point, and where on the road they were hit. The report also
shows no measurements though it should. (The report does clearly
show my father was not on the road outside the shoulder stripe.)
My lawyer will request this additional information (he also agrees
there should be more) and if there is not we will take action
concerning this as well.
According to the report my
father's girlfriend had been hit first and thrown over the car
into the road. My father was the second to be hit and was thrown
into the windshield and then over the car. The death report states
that my father died due to trauma to his head and upper body. The
only thing that bothers me about this is if they will use the fact
he was not wearing a helmet to lesson any charges filed against
this guy. I called the medical examiner's office to discuss this
with him. I did view my father's body and talked to the funeral
home regarding the condition of his body and was told helmet or
not, he would have died. After viewing his bod I know this is true
because his neck was clearly broken. I will hopefully have a clear
answer on this by either Monday or Tuesday.
This Monday my family will
again attend another release hearing. We are hoping this guy will
again be detained. We have been told that this should be the last
release hearing and that the next court case should deal with
wither or not this guy will be charged as an adult. This is very
frustrating because we had originally been told we'd know if he
was to be charged as an adult almost a month ago. Because this guy
is a minor he might only be charged as a minor and be released
with only 10 years probation and nothing more.
Amanda sent these further
7-22-00: Good news for
today! Juan has been certified as an adult. We will be attending
Juan's arraignment Monday at the 177th court in Houston (adult
court). Starts at 9:00 a.m.
12-3-00: On November
28th Conrad F. Anderson's killer plead guilty to intoxication
manslaughter and intoxication assault. He was sentenced to five
years prison time.
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.