Colorado DA Drops Felony Hit and Run Charges Because of “Serious Job Implications”

In what we wish were a headline straight from the Onion, Colorado District Attorney Mark Hurlbert strikes (against cyclists) again.

First, he charges and prosecutes felony criminal impersonations against the two ladies who swapped number plates at the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race.

Now, he’s dropped felony hit-and-run charges against Martin Joel Erzinger, a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney wealth manager who controls $1 billion in investments. Why? Because finance laws would require that Erzinger notify all of his clients that he was charged with a felony, which would carry “serious job implications.”

On July 3, Erzinger allegedly veered to the side of the road and hit Dr. Steven Milo, a liver transplant surgeon, knocking him to the pavement, then hit a culvert and continued driving. He later called Mercedes auto assistance service to report damage to his vehicle, but never mentioned hitting anyone or calling the police. Court documents show Erzinger says he was unaware he hit anyone. Milo suffered spinal cord injuries, bleeding from his brain and damage to his knee and scapula, according to court documents. Over the past six weeks he has suffered “disabling” spinal headaches and faces multiple surgeries for a herniated disc and plastic surgery to fix the scars he suffered in the accident.

Hurlbert has apparently argued that given Erzinger’s position, a felony charge may limit the defendant’s ability to pay restitution, and Erzinger has apparently said he’s willing to pay restitution and accept responsibility.

Milo, in response, said: “Mr. Erzinger struck me, fled and left me for dead on the highway,” Milo wrote. “Neither his financial prominence nor my financial situation should be factors in your prosecution of this case.”

Should the victim’s rights and wishes that a felony case proceed outweigh concerns over restitution? Would Hurlbert act differently if the victims in question were his own children riding along the street? Or one of the cycling friends pictured in his Facebook profile? It seems he has an interesting track record of prosecutions that don’t bode well for the victims.

Comments

Shkenblke - 11/10/10 - 2:20pm

Who are we freakin’ appointing as Judges these days? I hope it ends up in a higher court of appeals and gets overturned. Dark days ahead lads and lasses…

HS - 11/10/10 - 3:00pm

http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20101109/EDITS/101109849/1021&ParentProfile=1065

Looks like Vail Daily did a shit-poor job of reporting on the whole thing to begin with. I’d much rather the guy have a permanent criminal record and possibly go to jail, as opposed to pay the civil suit and be able to pretend like it never happened.

mike landig - 11/10/10 - 3:06pm

Outrage! To see more of our distorted values go see the excellent documentary ” Inside Job”.

garrett - 11/10/10 - 5:32pm

so since they are both adults and the guy who was driving the car makes a lot of money they can act like nothing happened.
I say No!
Unless it was dark out and he didn’t have lights and they had on dark clothes there is no reason you should hit someone riding a bike.
He hit him end of the story, if it was kid there would be no question who was at fault here. 3 feet is the law no matter how much you make a year.

Josh - 11/10/10 - 6:55pm

So, doesn’t all the press this story is getting kind of nullify the effect that the CO DA is concerned with. To whit: wonder how many of his clients have heard about this guys “recent unpleasantness” at this point.

phillycourier - 11/11/10 - 12:27am

what a tool!!! but hey, karma’s a bitch!

KGr - 11/11/10 - 9:41am

So did Vail Daily misreport about Dr. Milo and his attorney being taken by surprise by this plea deal (from the original link) or is the prosecutor lying or twisting the truth when he’s defending his actions as being done with Dr. Milo’s express consent (in your link) ?

ShopMechanic - 11/11/10 - 12:05pm

I don’t see how this could possibly be construed as justice! It is time to send a message to drivers who put cyclists and other road users at risk. Give this guy the felony charge he deserves.

Topmounter - 11/11/10 - 6:17pm

Heck, give me a list and I’ll call this joker’s clients and let them know what he did.

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