Probable Cause Hearing related to the death of Eddie James, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010, 9:00am

Probable Cause Hearing related to the death of Eddie James, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010, 9:00am

Lurleen
Lurleen

January 18th, 2010, 1:02 pm #1

Friends & Family,

This is a very difficult message to write but Im doing it because it is the right thing to do and I have no doubt Eddie would do it for me. The last six weeks have been more painful than I can find words to express. No one should ever have to go through the pain and loss of someone they love simply because that person was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But that is what happened to Eddie. A few seconds and a few inches (no exaggeration) would have meant the difference between life and death. It is impossible to accept, but it is my reality and there is nothing that can be done to change it.

The van that Eddie hit was driven by a 38 year old man from Rome, GA. There were two other men in the vehicle, one of whom was the owner of the van. All three men made the decision to leave the van parked in the northbound HOV lane of I-75, in a curve, just past the I-85 split, in order to change a flat rear tire. All three had exited the vehicle. The van was not broken down or undrivable. It just had a flat tire. There was about 6-7 feet to the left of the van where they could have pulled at least partially out of the flow of traffic. They could have continued to ride on the rim and either make their way to the right shoulder or go a few 100 yards farther to a very wide median on the left where the tire could have been safely changed.

The reports that we have been given, so far, indicate that Eddie had very little time to avoid the van and that he was pulling hard to the right. He was taking evasive action but ran out of space and time.

The driver of the van has been charged with Second Degree Vehicular Homicide. In Georgia, this is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1000 fine. The Atlanta Police investigator on this case has been extremely helpful, professional and compassionate. He has also been very careful to set realistic expectations. The maximum sentences are rarely given out in these cases. The best we can hope for is a guilty plea and a minimum sentence of a fine and perhaps community service.

Now comes the difficult point of my message:

We would like to ask anyone who is available and willing, to join us in Fulton Magistrate Court, Courtroom 1-A at 9:00am on Tuesday, January 26th for the first hearing in this case. The court is located at: 185 Central Avenue Southwest, Atlanta - (404) 730-5000. The case number is 093401482-00.

The courts expect the victims family to show up at these hearings. But when that number grows to include friends and others in the community who are concerned they tend to pay a lot more attention.

The point is simple we want the court to see that more than Jonathan and I (we are the only two people we know who are attending) experienced the loss of Eddie James. The truth is that any one of us could have hit that van that Sunday evening. Any one of our loved ones could have been killed or seriously injured. The fact is vehicular homicide sentences in Georgia are some of the most lacking in the country and that the vehicular homicide sentences in the entire country are seriously flawed.

In other words, people can do enormously stupid things, kill someone in the process and get by with very little punishment. Life goes on and the court system can move on to the next case. It is our hope that they will take the case more seriously and prosecute the case more fully than they would if they thought no one was paying attention. And whatever the outcome of the case, we want to know we had the prosecutions best efforts.

Eddie spent eight years working for The American Motorcyclist Association advocating motorcyclist rights. He was very outspoken regarding the minimum punishments given out to drivers who kill motorcyclists and other drivers. I cannot stress enough the irony of this death in this manner.

Eddie was not some kid going 100mph on a sport bike. He wore all the proper gear and was one of the most experienced motorcycle riders in the entire country. He was part of a group of mere hundreds who have well over 800,000 miles on motorcycles. And given the miles this man has ridden and the skill he had, the fact that he died minutes from our home on his way back from eating pizza simply because someone didnt think to move a working vehicle off the road to fix a flat is almost impossible to process.

Im angry. I want you to be angry too. And I want to send a message to the judge, prosecutor and defendant in this case. We (Jon & I) are not condoning loud protests, waving of signs or any type of hyperbole. We simply want to make a quiet statement.

A very special man who touched so many people in such a positive way was killed due to pure, simple negligence. And our justice system in a case like this is horribly inadequate. I am not seeking revenge, I am seeking justice. They are very different things.

I sincerely hope that this message is not misunderstood or misconstrued. Eddies death should not simply be a matter of wrong place, wrong time. It was much more than that. The unfortunate truth is that way too many people are killed in vehicular accidents due to the negligence of a vast number of drivers and little, if anything, is done to make it any better. If you can appear in court with us, we would love to have you. Please feel free to share this with anyone who may be interested.

Thank you for all the love and support you have shown me and all of us who loved Eddie. We cannot get Eddie back but we can make a strong statement.

Lisa

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Joined: September 30th, 2006, 4:34 am

January 18th, 2010, 5:31 pm #2

Some one over on LD Rider asked if it's possible to submit written testimonials? Anyone know?

Rick
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Lurleen
Lurleen

January 18th, 2010, 5:33 pm #3

I don't see why not. The court is closed today for the holiday. I plan to call tomorrow to get specific mailing information and perhaps the name of the judge who is handling the hearing.

I'll post what I find out tomorrow.

Lisa
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David E.B. Smith
David E.B. Smith

January 18th, 2010, 11:30 pm #4

Actually, at this point in the case the judge would not be able to consider any out-of-court statements not related to the facts of the incident. What would be good are letters to the prosecutor's office. I'm trying to get a little better information on that than what I have got so far.
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Joined: April 24th, 2002, 12:48 am

January 19th, 2010, 2:22 am #5

Lisa, Please drop me an email at Motopsycho@wat.midco.net
Lee Bruns

" "
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Lurleen
Lurleen

January 19th, 2010, 3:46 am #6

Actually, at this point in the case the judge would not be able to consider any out-of-court statements not related to the facts of the incident. What would be good are letters to the prosecutor's office. I'm trying to get a little better information on that than what I have got so far.
Thanks, David. Any info is welcome. Fulton County is typically non-helpful when calling with questions. You may be able to navigate that maze better than me.

Let me know if you find out anything,
Lisa
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richard buber
richard buber

January 19th, 2010, 2:16 pm #7

Friends & Family,

This is a very difficult message to write but Im doing it because it is the right thing to do and I have no doubt Eddie would do it for me. The last six weeks have been more painful than I can find words to express. No one should ever have to go through the pain and loss of someone they love simply because that person was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But that is what happened to Eddie. A few seconds and a few inches (no exaggeration) would have meant the difference between life and death. It is impossible to accept, but it is my reality and there is nothing that can be done to change it.

The van that Eddie hit was driven by a 38 year old man from Rome, GA. There were two other men in the vehicle, one of whom was the owner of the van. All three men made the decision to leave the van parked in the northbound HOV lane of I-75, in a curve, just past the I-85 split, in order to change a flat rear tire. All three had exited the vehicle. The van was not broken down or undrivable. It just had a flat tire. There was about 6-7 feet to the left of the van where they could have pulled at least partially out of the flow of traffic. They could have continued to ride on the rim and either make their way to the right shoulder or go a few 100 yards farther to a very wide median on the left where the tire could have been safely changed.

The reports that we have been given, so far, indicate that Eddie had very little time to avoid the van and that he was pulling hard to the right. He was taking evasive action but ran out of space and time.

The driver of the van has been charged with Second Degree Vehicular Homicide. In Georgia, this is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1000 fine. The Atlanta Police investigator on this case has been extremely helpful, professional and compassionate. He has also been very careful to set realistic expectations. The maximum sentences are rarely given out in these cases. The best we can hope for is a guilty plea and a minimum sentence of a fine and perhaps community service.

Now comes the difficult point of my message:

We would like to ask anyone who is available and willing, to join us in Fulton Magistrate Court, Courtroom 1-A at 9:00am on Tuesday, January 26th for the first hearing in this case. The court is located at: 185 Central Avenue Southwest, Atlanta - (404) 730-5000. The case number is 093401482-00.

The courts expect the victims family to show up at these hearings. But when that number grows to include friends and others in the community who are concerned they tend to pay a lot more attention.

The point is simple we want the court to see that more than Jonathan and I (we are the only two people we know who are attending) experienced the loss of Eddie James. The truth is that any one of us could have hit that van that Sunday evening. Any one of our loved ones could have been killed or seriously injured. The fact is vehicular homicide sentences in Georgia are some of the most lacking in the country and that the vehicular homicide sentences in the entire country are seriously flawed.

In other words, people can do enormously stupid things, kill someone in the process and get by with very little punishment. Life goes on and the court system can move on to the next case. It is our hope that they will take the case more seriously and prosecute the case more fully than they would if they thought no one was paying attention. And whatever the outcome of the case, we want to know we had the prosecutions best efforts.

Eddie spent eight years working for The American Motorcyclist Association advocating motorcyclist rights. He was very outspoken regarding the minimum punishments given out to drivers who kill motorcyclists and other drivers. I cannot stress enough the irony of this death in this manner.

Eddie was not some kid going 100mph on a sport bike. He wore all the proper gear and was one of the most experienced motorcycle riders in the entire country. He was part of a group of mere hundreds who have well over 800,000 miles on motorcycles. And given the miles this man has ridden and the skill he had, the fact that he died minutes from our home on his way back from eating pizza simply because someone didnt think to move a working vehicle off the road to fix a flat is almost impossible to process.

Im angry. I want you to be angry too. And I want to send a message to the judge, prosecutor and defendant in this case. We (Jon & I) are not condoning loud protests, waving of signs or any type of hyperbole. We simply want to make a quiet statement.

A very special man who touched so many people in such a positive way was killed due to pure, simple negligence. And our justice system in a case like this is horribly inadequate. I am not seeking revenge, I am seeking justice. They are very different things.

I sincerely hope that this message is not misunderstood or misconstrued. Eddies death should not simply be a matter of wrong place, wrong time. It was much more than that. The unfortunate truth is that way too many people are killed in vehicular accidents due to the negligence of a vast number of drivers and little, if anything, is done to make it any better. If you can appear in court with us, we would love to have you. Please feel free to share this with anyone who may be interested.

Thank you for all the love and support you have shown me and all of us who loved Eddie. We cannot get Eddie back but we can make a strong statement.

Lisa
Lisa:--I will ride up mon. nite be there tues.
Richard (oldwing) Buber
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Lurleen
Lurleen

January 19th, 2010, 3:07 pm #8

Thanks so much Richard! You are more than welcome to crash on my couch.

Lisa
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Lurleen
Lurleen

January 19th, 2010, 3:59 pm #9

We've had many people ask if they can send letters to the court on behalf of Eddie and to voice concerns over the case against the driver of the van.

These can be sent to:

Solicitor General, Fulton County
Attn: Carmen D. Smith, Solicitor General, Fulton County
160 Pryor St., SW
Suite J-301
Atlanta, GA 30303

Be sure to include the case number: 093401482-00

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