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.