Misdemeanor charges for wealthy driver accused of hit and run
According to the Vail Daily and the Huffington Post, Martin Joel Erzinger will be spared felony hit and run charges after running over Dr. Steven Milo while he was out for a bike ride. If you dig into this case, you’ll find that the DA, Mark Hurlbert, declined to file felony charges to preserve Mr. Erzinger’s employment as a money manager at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. In theory, this was done to preserve his ability to pay restitution to the victim. But Dr. Milo, a liver transplant surgeon, never supported reduced charges and was “livid” when he found out:
“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.”
But apparently DA Mark Hurlbert felt differently:
“The money has never been a priority for them. It is for us,” Hurlbert said. “Justice in this case includes restitution and the ability to pay it.”
(Note: Both quotes above from the Vail Daily story)
The collision apparently occurred on US 6, somewhere east of Miller Ranch Road. After the collision, Mr. Erzinger allegedly drove through Avon, several roundabouts, under I-70, and finally pulled over at a Pizza Hut, approximately 3 miles from the crash site, and called roadside assistance because of a broken mirror. This is where Mr. Erzinger was arrested.
After digging around a bit I found many interesting things about the DA in this case, Mark Hurlbert. One particularly interesting item: Apparently, he filed felony impersonation charges against two cyclists who switched bib numbers at the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. Hmmm… Run over a cyclist and leave him for dead then we’ll charge you with a misdemeanor so you can keep earning money. Cheat in a cycling competition? Well, that’s serious and we have to crack down on that sort of thing, so it’s a felony for you.
So, after all this outrage, what can you do? There is a petition on change.org that you can “sign” asking the DA to file felony charges. You can also write to Colorado Attorney General, asking him to look at the case to see if justice has been served.
Another black eye for bikes in Colorado – Bikeportland.org
John Carney at CNBC thinks the driver wouldn’t have been arrested if he wasn’t rich. Interesting, if disturbing, theory.