Hit & Run–> A Tale of Two Cities – A Tale of Two Judges [Bike Lawyer]

On May 21, 2010, Jeff Stevenson was riding his bicycle in Columbus, Ohio late at night. He was hit by a car and left for dead on the side of the road.  A family leaving early in the morning to help move one of their members move out of state found Jeff’s body several hours later.  Parts of the car were found near the scene, and police began searching for the hit/run driver.
August 23, 2011, Anousone Phanthavong was driving his car near Minneapolis, MN when he ran out of gas. As he walked on the side of an exit ramp from the freeway he was struck and killed… and left for dead.  Parts of a Mercedes were found at the scene and police appealed to the public for help finding the hit/run driver.
This Tale of Two Cities show two very different judicial approaches to sentencing Hit/Run Criminals- One got The Hammer and one got The Wristslap… One sent a serious “Don’t Hit And Run” message – the other sent a message too but it was more like “RUN, Baby, RUN” – read on to see how two courts treat two similar felons very differently…

Police had few leads in Jeff Stevenson’s case and his friends begged the killer to come out of hiding.  Jeff’s death ignited discussions of all types regarding cycling in Columbus.
In May, 2011, there were indications that a suspect may have been located.  Finally, in July 2011, more than a YEAR after she killed Jeff Stevenson, Amber Fernandez was indicted on felony charges which including leaving the scene of the crash and tampering with evidence.  You can read the docket of State of Ohio v. Amber Fernandez, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Case Number 11CR–2902 on theclerk’s website.  She was not charged with vehicular homicide, presumably because the evidence as to exactly what had happened had been destroyed in the hours after she left Jeff to die and before his body was found.
Meanwhile, in Minnesota, within 24 hours of the August 23, 2011 crash in Minnesota, Amy Senser’s attorney, Eric Nelson, called police and told them they could get the vehicle at the Senser home.  However, the Sensers did not talk to police, fueling speculation as to who was driving and why they were waiting.

[Continue reading at Steve Magas Bike Lawyer]