Seven women and five men took slightly more than an hour deliberating the evidence in a fatal bicycle accident case. The jury heard several days of testimony regarding the Oct. 23, 2009 car and bike accident that claimed the life of a Morgan Hill man. The jury heard from witnesses and accident reconstruction experts during the course of the trial.
The case was before the jury on a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter. The jury found the driver of the car guilty of the charge. Criminal charges differ somewhat from civil personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. The burden of proof is upon the prosecutors, and the interests involved serve public safety. However, a criminal charge does not prevent an accident victim from bringing a civil suit to cover medical costs and recover other damages for a driver's negligence in causing an accident.
The Morgan Hill bicycle accident case tried before a jury reportedly showed evidence that the jury believed showed the driver of a Cadillac SRX drove negligently in causing the accident. The 22-year-old man died from head injuries he sustained in the accident. He reportedly was struck while riding through a crosswalk in Morgan Hill just east of the Centennial Recreation Center.
A witness says he saw the bike rider stop in the concrete median when the witness approached in his Prius. The driver stopped at the crosswalk to allow the bicyclist to proceed through the intersection. That's when the 67-year-old woman charged in the bike accident case approached in her Cadillac. The man in the Prius saw the Cadillac strike the bicyclist.
The trial reportedly included testimony that the biker should have dismounted and walked his bike across the intersection. Other evidence was presented that the bicyclist was not wearing a helmet. In the end, one juror reportedly told The Morgan Hill Times that it was "not super difficult" to find the automobile driver negligent in the bike accident. The juror said the evidence in the bike accident case was "fairly clear." The juror repeated the prosecutor's words that ""The failure of one driver to adhere to a crosswalk while other drivers had, was a big indicator" that the Cadillac driver was negligent in the accident.
Source: Morgan Hill Times, "Arlia found guilty," Michael Moore, Oct. 22, 2011