Man Kills Taunton Teen on Bicycle

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Dec

Man Kills Taunton Teen on Bicycle

The Boston Globe has a story of man who killed a teen when he lost control of his SUV while sending a text message on his cell phone.

The man accused of killing a 13-year-old boy in a hit-and-run in Taunton told police he was behind the wheel typing a text message on his cellphone when he lost control of the sport utility vehicle and hit what he thought was a mailbox, a prosecutor said today in court.

So take this man at his word, even if he had hit a mailbox, wouldn’t the right thing be to stop and at least leave a note of apology and offer to pay for a replacement? Forgive me, but I need to get up on my soapbox for just a minute here. I think this incident speaks to some greater moral degradation that’s happening in the good old USA. I happen to live across the street from a field where they hold little league and football practices. During the sporting seasons, it’s not unusual to have cars lined up across the street from my house. I’ve lost count of how many times our mailbox has been hit; it’s been completely taken out twice and I know of at least two back car windows that were broken. Only one person, in all of these incidents, has left us a note! I’m sure that the two people who broke their back car windows were fuming, but it’s not my fault they backed into our mailbox, and it took a tremendous amount of my time to clean up the shattered glass all over the road, our yard, etc. I for one would leave a note, but clearly I’m in the minority. I’m sure some people don’t even know they hit the mailbox, which is even scarier, when you consider it’s about the same height as the kids practicing on the field across the street. Okay, end of soapbox rant.

The boy, Earman Machado, was sleeping over at a friend’s house Thursday night. The teens had gone out at 12:30 a.m. to meet two girls, Strojny said today in Taunton District Court. Machado was riding a bicycle and his friend was walking on the soft shoulder of the road. Police said the friend, also 13, attempted to call 911, but was unable to get through on his cellphone.

What in the world were two 13 year olds doing out at 12:30am? Perhaps the kids snuck out and the parents didn’t know. If they did, I’m sure they are asking themselves this very same question. It’s unlikely the kid had proper lights on his bike, probably the best we can hope for are some reflectors.

Bigos hung his head in court today and was released on $5,000 bail. He was arraigned on charges that included motor vehicle homicide, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, and driving without a license. He is scheduled to return to court Jan. 23.

Well, I guess this takes away my standard verdict recommendation, suspend or take away the motorist’s license. You can’t really take one away, if he doesn’t have one. I wonder if he even had any type of auto insurance?

This is truly another sad day for cyclists.

6 thoughts on - Man Kills Taunton Teen on Bicycle

  • Dec 29, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    There was an follow-up article in today's Boston Globe. This article adds that

    The accident comes amid attempts by several state legislators to ban the use of hand-held cellphones by drivers in the Bay State.

    Numerous bills legislators filed this year to change the law have failed to gain traction on Beacon Hill, but Representative Joseph F. Wagner, a Chicopee Democrat and cochairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation, said yesterday that he plans a new push for legislation, currently in his committee, that would ban drivers' use of text messaging and hand-held cellphones.

    "The primary responsibility of people operating a motor vehicle is to drive," Wagner said. "That requires a lot of time and attention, and things like cellphones and other types of technology that allow for communication between people are obvious distractions."

    I really like his sentiments in this last statement. It does seem like people are trying to do so many things while driving these days.

  • Barry
    Dec 31, 2007 at 8:34 am

    Here in Rhode Island representative peter Kilmartin (Pawtucket) has put in similar bills to ban hand-held cell phones while driving. Perhaps the bike community (who?) should call him and ask about this, and consider supporting such legislation to help make it a bit safer for bicyclists (and pedestrians, and other motorists!) on our roads.

  • margherita p
    Jan 30, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    I can understand the desire to correct the situation, but passing another law banning something is not going to have any more effect than existing laws against reckless driving. If even those are not vigorously enforced, what in the world makes us think the police will care about drivers using cell phones?!

  • Jan 31, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Your absolutely right about the need to enforce current laws. To play devil's advocate for a minute though, something like a reckless driving law is hard to enforce. What constitutes reckless driving? I certainly see some drivers operating a car in what I would consider a reckless manner, but would you agree with me? Something like a cell phone ban, however, is cut and dry. It's easier for the police to enforce. Does this mean they will actually enforce it? Perhaps not. But it may give the police an easier time to press charges for reckless driving.

    Speaking of enforcement, why is it so hard to make tickets associated with red light cameras stick? If my car is caught running a red light by one of these cameras, I think it's perfectly reasonable to send the ticket to me. If I was behind the wheel, then I fess up and pay the ticket. If not, however, you better believe that I would find the person who was behind the wheel. I'd love to see automated speeding tickets go out as well, but we need a way to make them stick before such systems could become effective. There is all this technology at our disposal, it works properly and effectively, and could help automatically enforce traffic laws, yet we can't seem to make it stick from a legal perspective.

  • Feb 2, 2008 at 10:37 am

    A motorist texting on her cell phone in the UK, was recently convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. The driver faces potential jail time during the sentencing. It will be interesting to see how these two similar cases are dealt with in the relative judicial systems.

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