Urban Velo

Run Over Twice, Still Not A Crime In Mississippi

Posted on by in Advocacy with 23 Comments

Mississippi is known for the blues, and given what the Starkville District Attorney has said about the case of involving Jan Morgan being hit by a car and then run over after the driver stopped to check on her, seems that there is good reason. As per the Starkville Daily News, the March 22nd accident report reads:

“The cyclist was westbound on MS 50 near the Truelove Loop intersection. V1 (vehicle one) was westbound on MS 50 approaching the cyclist from the rear. The front of V1 collided with the rear of the bicycle. The impact threw the cyclist into the air before landing on the hood of V1 and onto the windshield. V1 continued for a few feet before coming to a stop. The cyclist was then thrown to the asphalt when V1 stopped. The driver of V1 exited the vehicle and observed the cyclist while talking on the phone. D1 (driver one) then reentered her vehicle and ran the cyclist over again before being forced from her vehicle by a witness. V1 came to a final rest facing west in the westbound lane on MS 50 just meters west of the Truelove Loop intersection. The cyclist came to a final rest near the right front tire of V1.”

According to the blog by Jan’s husband Dave (fwiw together they own Boardtown Bikes) the District Attorney has determined that no felony charges will be filed against the driver, as there is nothing on the Mississippi books specifically outlawing running down a cyclist, getting out of your car to see how they are doing, and then running them over again. Apparently while attempted murder is certainly illegal in Mississippi, along with a number of other things, running over a fellow human after you’ve already hit them in broad daylight while not legal isn’t that against the law. Given the circumstances it is almost hard to believe, but with every week bringing another tale of a cyclist being run down and the driver receiving nothing but a slap on the wrist it unfortunately isn’t terribly surprising. Perhaps the pressure will make the DA reconsider, or get activists fired up enough to actually get a law passed outlawing actively running over another person in Mississippi.

23 Comments

  1. GarrettJune 29, 2011 at 10:06 am

    This makes me sick and gives a terrible name to cycling in the South. Being from Shreveport, LA I can attest to having a population not yet adjusted to sharing the road with cyclists and pedestrians alike. However, this verdict is unbelievable. If the South is going to catch up with the rest of the modern world and quit being late adopters, it needs to be supported by the government, its legislators and judiciary verdicts. Thank you for re-posting this.

  2. J.MillerJune 29, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Hmmm the fattest unhealthiest state in the union having no love for cyclist,that is a shocker.

  3. B. GoJune 29, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Anyone know who to contact and be outraged with? Or how to get in touch? Best way to make a difference, etc.?

  4. BrianJune 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Unfortunately, this is not a southern problem. Nor is it just a problem in areas not seen as bike friendly. These crimes go unpunished daily in every city in the United States. Using your car as a weapon against cyclists has become the norm as anyone who has ever been viciously swerved at can attest.

  5. Run Over Twice, Still Not a Crime in Mississippi « Less Two CarsJune 29, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    [...] Read article: here [...]

  6. Bob BaxterJune 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Since there is no justice for these victims in the judicial system, one would hope that they seek it in civil actions. A few high dollar judgements might get someones attention. A Colorado DA refused to file felony charges against a driver who hit a cyclist and left the scene, because it might have a bad effect on his business. Lets face it, we’re not paranoid — they ARE out to get us. :-)

  7. JeffSJune 29, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    No surprise. If you want to kill someone, do it with a car. If you’re sober you won’t spend a day in jail.

    If you’re drunk you probably won’t see jail time either. Historically, leaving the scene has little to no effect in sentencing.

  8. zrzzzJune 29, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I lost someone I love very much in an auto/bike accident. You have my deepest sympathies. I’m just trying to understand what happened. You make it sound like the driver tried to go back and kill the bicyclist. Was the driver drunk? Why wouldn’t there be charges for that? Were they trying to get away? Were they trying to make room for the ambulance? How does a witness stop a moving car? I want to understand what happened. I don’t want to be emotionally manipulated into a knee-jerk, angry reaction. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and I don’t expect people to get jail time for accidentally hurting people. Even if I love them very much.

  9. KenJune 29, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    This is especially outrageous. Our car obsessed culture is the problem. One indication is the stop signs for bikes but NOT cars at 4 way intersections on bike paths where cars cross. Why not 4 way stops? Everyone knows the unspoken- first come first to go- rule at 4 way stops. But, no, cars get to speed through and bikes must stop. Accidents happen at these when bike riders can’t see around the untrimmed shrubs even if they do stop- then get hit by speeding cars. This is just an indication of the bias to cars.

    Run over twice- should be attempted murder- in any state!

  10. J.MillerJune 29, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    If you have not heard yet.Check link below.Yes i do have to correct my previous statement there is little love for cyclist on the road,in this country.

    http://gothamist.com/2011/06/28/cyclist_critically_injured_by_pot-p.php

  11. Jim GoldsberryJune 29, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Well, in Delaware if you run someone over on a moped it’s a crime. Unsure about bikes. (And she’s a “beauty”)
    http://m.delawareonline.com/localupdates/article?a=2011110629015&f=1187

  12. Dan SundermeierJune 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I was run over in a hit and run on my bike last year. I was hurt very badly and the driver just received a sentence of 5 years for felony leaving the scene of an injury accident. Mine happened in Omaha, NE.

    My prayers go out to Jan.

  13. christianJune 30, 2011 at 11:11 am

    J.Miller…you are right about Mississippi being the fattest unhealthy state…but Wisconsin is a close second, with a cool cycling culture…

  14. GeorgeJuly 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I simply cannot believe such a a thing as attempting murder somebody else has to do with the way of doing…it’s just stupid that person will not get in jail for trying to literally kill another person…and besides that what was the motivation..i mean you have to hate somebody to do that or definetely have already planify to kill that person..i general its just stupid for good sake!! If i were the husband i would ran over that F????? and put
    him/her by a bike at the road side and claim the same thing just to see how the f????? driver that did that feels about…sorry its just that i cant stand to know something like that has to be literally writen to be punished…sorry but i would not even drive thru mississipi..Only good knows what other things you can end up being screwed up there..

  15. Crimes Against Cyclists | body mind and stomachJuly 3, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    [...] friend recently posted a link to a disturbing blog post on Urban Velo. Cyclists, friends and family of cyclists, and decent human beings will find it [...]

  16. Totes McGoatsJuly 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Kill. Everyone.

  17. chadJuly 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Hello. I actually know the victim’s son. The problem is MS has almost no “attempted” anything laws. Almost every year they try to pass them and they get voted down. So the existing laws we do have make it hard to prosecute a lot of does happen. It’s not so much anti-bike as it is “if it’s not murder we don’t want to bother with it”.

  18. Someone Who KnowsJuly 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    The Police report is misleading. The driver of V1 was panicked after hitting Mrs. Morgan. She got back in her car and attempted to pull the car out of the road. While doing so she accidentally hit Mrs. Morgan again. 8-( You can’t tell me that you wouldn’t be freaking out completely if you just hit a bicyclist or a pedestrian. The witness at the scene was a fellow bicyclist. Who you can imagine was red with rage after witnessing her friend being hit. This story has been running around all of the place, and it always makes the driver out to be some evil person, when she’s not. She was a distracted driver who was not drunk and was actually going BELOW the speed limit. The DA is charging the driver with failure to follow the 3ft law in MS(which states that a vehicle must not come within 3ft of a bicyclist). He can’t charge her with assault or battery because there was no intent. If she had of died then he could charge her further, but Mrs. Morgan is actually doing much better. She has a long way to go before she’s fully recovered, but she will recover. She’s actually not mad at the driver for running her over, she’s mad at the driver for putting Mr. Morgan through all of the heart ache and torment that he’s gone through. So please, continue to have complete and total outrage at the “backwards Mississippians”. Remember, there are always 3 sides to every story, yours, mine and the truth.

  19. chadJuly 15, 2011 at 7:59 am

    @somoen who knows – There were other witnesses to the accident who were not fellow bicyclist or even a friend of the victim.

  20. Her SonJuly 15, 2011 at 10:53 am

    @someone who knows – I don’t know who you are, but I’m her son, and I would appreciate it if you did not try to “speak” for my mother.
    The story is not making Ms. Norton out to be evil, but the simple fact is she exited her vehicle, observed my mother on the ground in front of her car, then re-entered the vehicle and in doing so ran over my mother for a second time, this time on her head.
    I fully believe it could have been a panicked (and foolish) response to the situation, but in most states it would amount to, at a minimum, criminal negligence. Luckily for Ms. Norton Mississippi law does not protect such vulnerable people, so Ms. Norton will get off with the proverbial slap on the wrist while my mother endures months of physical and neurological rehabilitation. I think most people would say that is not justice being served, but you can thank public officials such as DA Allgood for that, who has shown little to no interest in pursuing this matter to any sort of meaningful and appropriate end.

  21. Kevin StaufferJuly 17, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Being raised in MS and living in LA for the last 30 years, this incident is typical of our “proud” Southern culture. The laws apply only to those the politicians deem them to. It seems that, (generally speaking and directed at no one in particular), the attitude is to accept ignorance and be proud of that ignorance; your pride varying inversely with the degree of stupidity.
    Art, I’m so sorry your family is having to deal with this. My prayer are with you.

  22. JonathanFebruary 23, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I just thought I would add this. These are the laws that are officially supposed to be followed if anyone is interested. I have to bike 2 miles one way to and from school 5 days a week down a busy road because my car is broken, and I know how rude people in cars can be to someone on a bike. The majority of them are nice, and I’ve even had people yield for me when I was waiting at a stop sign, although it is rare.

    http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2010/pdf/SB/3000-3099/SB3014SG.pdf
    ^^The official law^^

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