A crumpled bike lies at the roadside along with a couple of other pieces of trash blowing by in the wind. The large dent in the front of the van and the broken windshield shows how hard the cyclist was struck.
The driver of this AT&T work van that struck and killed a cyclist on the Charleston James Island Connector Road in early July paid a $113 traffic ticket yesterday. In doing so he did not admit guilt and he does not even have to appear in court; the case is over. What kind of bullshit justice is that?
What has happened to our local Charleston Police Department’s pledge to serve and protect? There is very little serving or protecting going on as far as I can see.
This is not the first injustice; just last year two motorcyclists were stopped at a red light when an SUV rear ended them, killing them both. The two were from the same family, a man and his father-in-law. No charges were filed in that case; local motorcyclists were puzzled and outraged at the time, with good reason.
Both these are clear cases of distracted driving. Gregory Rupley the AT&T driver was charged with improper lane usage; police stated this was the closest applicable charge under state law involving a cyclist verses car accident.
The cyclist Mitchell Hollon, a much loved local anesthesiologist, was riding his bike on a wide and ample shoulder when he was struck from behind and was knocked over the side of a bridge to land in a marsh some 50 feet below.
Deemed an “Accident,” this happened on a straight stretch of highway so how could the driver fail to see the cyclist ahead of him? He was obviously distracted and not looking where he was going.
There were independent witnesses; where was the problem with bringing forth more serious charges and making them stick? Police it seems cannot be bothered.
There will likely be a civil case and the family of the deceased will no doubt receive a large settlement; however, this will not come out of driver Rupley’s pocket, but his employer AT&T and their insurance company.
Distracted driving is a huge problem and back when this incident happened I asked that people be held accountable for their actions. Treating the death of someone along the same lines as a parking ticket will not bring about accountability.
Mitchell Hollen, a fine outstanding citizen and member of our community is dead. His death was easily avoidable; if only the AT&T driver had paid better attention to his driving.