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MN state trooper fined $575 in motorcyclist's death

3698 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  nochedrn
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Sad situation. Too bad Shusta wasn't wearing a good full-face helmet. Mittelstat is fornuate to get a stayed sentence...Wonder if he keeps his job. Perhaps because it's not a felony he does.. How many times have we heard "I didn't seem him" defense... sick.. How can folks miss a 200 lb man and 400lb+ motorcycle with it's light on is beyond me..
This is seriously, seriously wrong. That cop should be in jail period. Involuntary Manslaughter - not a little fine. He should NEVER be allowed to serve in the force again either! I am so tired of hearing these stories in which it seems to be ok to say "I just didn't see him". These people are careless bastards and the judicial system has got to start making a stand...

Sorry to hear this story. My prayers are with Shusta's family.
Lets see...If I got caught doing 170 mph and no one has injured... I do about the same time with a stiffer fine... yeah, that sounds fair.
I'm always reminded every time I get on a motorcycle of what a good close friend of mine once told me:

He held up a cigarette at arms length to demonstrate; " This is enough to completely block a cager's view of a motorcycle at 100 yards".

A windshield wiper, the "A"-pillar, a *Bird Splat* (or bugsplat), - all these things are far wider than a lowly cigarette. This doesn't even take into account all the "background noise" that serves to mask us from those who aren't paying attention to us anyway. Or distractions coming from inside the cage (you ever been inside a Police Cruiser? - Distraction City).

At 60mph, you're traveling at what - 88ft per second? That's less than 4 seconds away. Given reaction time of a second to register the threat (-88ft), a second to react and get off the gas and on the brakes (-88again), how much time and distance do you have left?

If you're paying attention, have good tires, good traction, braking system in top shape, reflexes as good as I outlined above, and have actually PRACTICED Emergency Braking techniques and can bring one down as quick as guys like Sean, you *just barely* have enough time and space to save your life.


Remove any one of those things, and you have a tragedy in the making.

Mind, I'm not excusing the Trooper. I'm not commenting on the punishment one way or another, period. But maybe, just MAYBE, the Trooper wasn't 100% at fault here.

I'm also not saying the motorcyclist is even 1% at fault. But these things happen.

You're taking your life in your hands every time you walk out your front door, let alone getting in a car or straddling a motorcycle - so act like it.

The article is from the News Media - you think they're going to print how distraught and torn-up the guy is over killing someone? Not unless it's more sensational to make it look like the guy has false sorrow, just to "get out of trouble" or get a Judge to take pity on him.

Practice these things, your life just may depend on it. If not for yourself, think of the people who will be left grieving your absence.


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Probably one of the best replies I have read here in a long time, good job.

The only thing I would add is that society views collisions as "accidents" and chalk it up to poop happens. The perception is slowly being changed in some professions to call them "crashes" to try and curb societies flippant attitude toward them. They happen all day in cars and no big deal. They happen on motorcycles, usually with grim outcomes, and a good percentage of the public thinks that is what the rider gets for riding a "murder cycle" and only fine the car driver minimally.
Something I noticed about this case that's different than the "Janklow"- type cases: The Trooper pleaded Guilty to the charges against him. I know it was only a misdemeanor, but he could have fought it - and probably won. I believe the Trooper is genuinely sorry for causing the death of the motorcyclist.

He didn't plead "No Contest", he didn't plead "Not Guilty by reason of Superiority". He plead "Guilty". And he apologized to the Family for their loss.

I don't know how State Troopers are in Minnesota, but around here they're a different breed. They have to attend a real Academy, show proficiency in many areas of Law Enforcement, and pass a psychiatric evaluation to prove they're "fit" for the job.

The majority of our Trooper's time is spent working crashes, many of them fatal. It's not writing tickets, not chasing bad guys (although that happens). The absolute LAST thing in the world this man wanted was to be the cause of a crash - let alone a Fatal one.

So far as the rider goes - they don't give any details of the crash, but they DO mention he didn't have a helmet on. Would it have made a difference? Who's to say.

Wear a helmet, people. Even if it's one of them silly "brain buskets" (sic), and for God's sake - fasten the damn chinstrap! I have personally seen the results of wreck on The Dragon where the rider hit the back of a Semi-tractor-trailer from behind (at a low speed!), and *would* have rode away rather than riding in the back of an ambulance (bike virtually undamaged); if only the strap on his "busket" had been fastened.

It doesn't do you any good AT ALL when the helmet hits the back of the truck without your head in it........

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Both of your responses are excellent and thoughtful. I work in an Emergency Room and see the results of humans loosing concentration on what they are doing everyday. Whether it be at work, at play or in a vehicle - Human Beings make mistakes. This is not an excuse just a fact that we all need to remember when we get in our cars or on our bikes. When most humans make a mistake that involves an injury or a death of another they will beat themselves up much more than any "punishment" handed out by the judicial system. If they are Drunk Drivers it is another story, they should go directly to jail 1st offense if they hurt someone, this they chose to do it's not a mistake, or a disease. Can you tell I have no love for drunks? As a Nurse, and, a victim, I have seen to much devastation done by these butt holes to have any sympathy for them, they belong behind bars to protect society.
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