Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bike Pittsburgh tells story of death to a cyclist in East End of Pgh

Police on the look out for a white car with front-end damage
Another hit-and-run took place in Pittsburgh, this time on Penn Ave in Point Breeze.

We have very little information at this point, but we are saddened to report that at 5am, 46-year old Homewood resident, James Price, was struck from behind and killed by a hit-and-run driver on Penn Ave at Penfield Ct in Point Breeze.

Witnesses say that the driver was in a white car, which sped off toward East Liberty at about 60 mph and now has front end damage. So far, a description of the driver has not been released.

As reported by WPXI, a witness said that "on the side of the road was a bicycler. He had his headlight on and everything. Then two cars ahead of us, going 50 or 60 mph just blew him off his bike." Further reports detail that the victim was wearing a helmet and had a rear light and reflector as well.

According to the Post-Gazette, Mr. Price was the father of an 11-year-old daughter, and that he had gotten in shape over the last two years by riding several times a day, helping to alleviate his diabetes.

"He was going on a positive path," said his niece, Briana Jackson, whom he was encouraging to ride.

Mr. Price was the first person killed within Pittsburgh city limits while riding a bike since June 2010, when 6-year old Tyrique Snowden Hill was killed in the Knoxville neighborhood. Previous to that, Timothy Kish struck and killed Rui Hui Lin in Oakland in 2009. That crash was also a hit-and-run, but Kish turned himself in after several days. We can only hope the driver of today's crash does the same.

Please be alert: If you see a white car with front end damage or have information on the suspect, please call Pittsburgh homicide detectives at 412-323-7800.

Putting an End to Hit and Runs
Earlier this month, Governor Corbett signed "Sean's Law," closing the loophole for fatal hit-and-runs. Spearheaded by Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana), the law Sean's Law is named after the Indiana County cyclist, Sean Pearce, who was killed by a hit and run driver in Burrell Township.

The bill closed a loophole, that unintentionally gave a hit-and-run driver an incentive to flee especially if the driver is intoxicated. It increased the penalty for a fatal hit-and-run accident from a third-degree to a second-degree felony.

A fatal hit-and-run carries a mandatory prison term of at least one year, with a maximum sentence of seven years. By comparison, a fatal crash that involves a drunk driver is a second-degree felony with a much stiffer penalty range of three to 10 years.

Because of this difference, drunk drivers involved in a deadly crash would face less punishment if they leave the scene and turn themselves in later (when they are sober).

The bill signed by the Governor on July 5, unfortunately won't be in effect until September.

We'll keep our readers updated as details of this tragedy unfold.

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