Urban Velo

Colorado Hit-And-Run Driver Avoids Jail

In a follow-up to this story, Channel 7 News reports: A judge sentenced a hit-and-run driver who plowed into a cyclist in Vail to probation, community service and making charitable donations Thursday night.

Eagle County District Judge Frederick Gannett sentenced the driver, Martin Erzinger, to 90 days in jail, but suspended the jail time.

Instead, Erzinger, 52, will lose his driver’s license for a year and have to take a leave of absence from his Denver hedge-fund manager job and complete 45 straight days of community service. He’s also ordered to make charitable donations, instead of paying court fines.

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  1. NYC_cyclistDecember 17, 2010 at 10:04 am

    “Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession”

    It is like goode olde dayes, when only property-owning white men were considered citizens proper. Big moneys is bending the laws of our country and … nothing! The rich guy is getting away, where the regular Joe would get locked up for years. This is surreal. (Or maybe it is naive me, who needs a pair of reality crutches…)

  2. Boston cyclistDecember 17, 2010 at 11:18 am

    This story is revolting, but I offer a pleasing solution.

    Gather all Denver cyclists for a Critical Mass ride and have Erzinger be the guest of honor. What’s his present? To lay down in the middle of the street and have (hopefully) hundreds of people run him over with their bikes.

    This is a perfect example of exactly how imperfect our justice system is, especially in regards to the haves and have nots.

  3. JeffSDecember 17, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    We have a pretty long-standing trend of letting hit-and-run drivers walk with a hand slap.

    In my mind, this is one of the most serious crimes there is. I am at a loss to explain how a H/R driver can receive a weaker sentence than a DUI.

    If this guy were a poor nobody he’d be in prison right now though.

  4. DigitalwalkerDecember 17, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    After reading the entire article, I am appalled at the outcome. The DA stated that “Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession”. Isn’t that true for any profession?
    Also, wouldn’t insurance cover the costs? So not having a job is a moot point.
    I would love to voice my dissatisfaction to the Distract 5 Court and to the Supreme Court of Colorado that appointed this Judge. I would also like to send my 2 cents worth to the DA and his boss, but I can not find emails or addresses for any of those offices.
    Maybe a flood of letters to the Gov of Colorado from cyclists would make a difference.

  5. BrianDecember 17, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    it’s bullshit to argue that his ability to pay possible restitution depends on him being able to keep his high-paying job. Has anyone here ever received restitution payments? I’ve been getting them for the past 10 years from someone in prison who stole thousands of dollars from me, and let me tell you, those payments amount to virtually NOTHING.

  6. stripedpantsDecember 17, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    I echo all the sentiments about the preferential treatment. What’s worse is that it’s all unfortunately consistent with many of the other articles we’ve read about incidents like this. What really strikes me, though, is the insensitivity of the Judge’s language. To the victim he said “There is nothing I can do in this courtroom to make your life better. You can be stuck or continue on a path of healing.” Seriously? Stuck? It’s like he’s admonishing the cyclist for disagreeing with the verdict…for being a victim, even. I imagine that seeing justice be appropriately served would actually be quite therapeutic for this victim, based on his statements in the article. So sad.

  7. Joe PeraltaDecember 17, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Boycott that ignorant place. If you want to barrage ‘em with letters, send ‘em to the chambers of commerce – the only thing businessmen and politicians listen to is money. Obviously.

  8. Urban JeffDecember 17, 2010 at 5:45 pmAuthor

    I almost included this image in the post, but thought it was a little overboard.

  9. jamesmallonDecember 17, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    ‘Ancien Regime’ America?

  10. scottDecember 18, 2010 at 12:23 am

    This is sickening. I really, really, REALLY hope there is organized action against this (open and clandestine), both against Erzinger and the judge.

  11. sumadisDecember 18, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Has anyone investigated whom this douchebag manages wealth for? Is the DA or someone close to the DA on his client list? And do bear in mind that the good doctor still has a civil case to mount, so it would behoove the cycling community to not engage in any ‘u-lock mob’ vigilante acts – even through digital means, as it could color the case that the victim will certainly need to build.

  12. JGTDecember 18, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    and he gets his license back ? i thought he “suffer” from sleep aptena (sp?)

  13. SquibDecember 21, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Honesty who didn’t see that one coming? I mean Teddy Kennedy killed a woman and still became senator.

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