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It Happened to My Buddy...

Christmas Eve, 1999. My friend and fellow cab driver, Julius Long. You were mistaken- it wasn't 8 years, it was NINE MONTHS!!! That'll learn 'em!

Here's the Story from the San Francisco Chronicle:

'Road Rage' Driver Jailed

His truck killed motorcyclist

Matthew B. Stannard, Chronicle Staff Writer Saturday, February 17, 2001


Declaring that "road rage is out of control in our society," a San Mateo County Superior Court judge yesterday sentenced a man to nine months in jail for running over and killing a motorcyclist he had argued with minutes earlier.

Gerald Neal Bowen, 53, who had pleaded no contest in November to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, tearfully apologized yesterday to the family of Oakland motorcyclist Julius Long, 49, who died on Skyline Drive near Westridge Avenue in Daly City on Christmas Eve, 1999.

"There is no possible way I could convey the sorrow I know this caused to your family," Bowen said to Long's family and friends, who sat on one side of Judge Robert Foiles's Redwood City courtroom, while more than 30 of Bowen's friends and family packed the other side.

"There's not a day that goes by that I do not feel immense sorrow and immense responsibility," Bowen said sobbing. "I am sorry, Mrs. Long."

According to court records, Bowen was following his daughters' car the day of the accident when he saw the two young women exchanging vulgar hand signs with two motorcyclists. Bowen caught up to the bikers at a stop light, where he exchanged words with Long. Some witnesses also reported that Long kicked Bowen's truck.

Witnesses gave somewhat conflicting reports about what happened next, with some accusing Bowen of driving aggressively, even trying to strike Long. Other witnesses said Long was the aggressor, and continued to kick Bowen's truck as they sped down the road, although some said it looked like Long was just trying to keep the truck at a distance.

Long was passing Bowen on the left when the two vehicles collided, and Long's bike slid under Bowen's truck. The full-size, extended cab pickup ran over the bike, then ran over Long, who died at the scene.

The accident was commemorated a week later by a memorial run of 300 bikers, who donned orange arm bands and retraced Long's last ride. Long's family filed a civil action against Bowen, which his insurance company settled for $500,000,

according to his attorney, Jeffry Glenn.

Yesterday, Glenn asked Foiles to sentence his client to community service, citing Bowen's complete lack of a criminal record, his long career with Pacific Bell -- where he was demoted as a result of his arrest and the subsequent suspension of his driver's license -- and his decorated voluntary military service in Vietnam.

"This is a good man who was involved in a terrible, terrible tragedy which was a terrible, terrible accident," Glenn said. Bowen has always denied hitting Long intentionally.

But prosecutors and Kenneth Collins of San Francisco, who said he was riding with Long the day he died, called for a more severe sentence, both to balance Long's death and to send a message to the driving public.

"People who don't ride have to realize that an auto or a truck is a deadly weapon out there," Collins said. "If you swerve your car at someone, it's like taking out a gun and taking a shot."

Foiles agreed, sentencing Bowen to nine months in county jail and three years of supervised probation.

"There can only be one loser when a full-size pickup plays chicken with a motorcycle, and I think that was foreseeable," he said.
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