Police in Houston arrested a 35-year-old woman on Feb. 5 in connection with a hit-and-run death of a cyclist in December 2013. While she has been charged with intentionally leaving the scene of the accident, prosecutors are not saying that she broke the law when she struck the 24-year-old cyclist. Some members of the cycling community have said the charges brought against the woman do not go far enough.
Police say that the woman had been out drinking on the night that she hit a female cyclist who was riding home after work. The cyclist was found seriously injured under a bicycle lane sign at about 10:20 p.m. She was transported to a local hospital, but she died a few days later. The accident angered the cycling community and attracted a great deal of media attention. This ultimately led to Crime Stoppers received a number of anonymous tips.
These tips led investigators to a woman who had been drinking with the alleged hit-and-run driver at a city bar. Investigators then meticulously compiled their case. They spoke to neighbors who said that they noticed damage on the woman’s vehicle, and they also collected and analyzed DNA evidence from the car. Officers also recorded a phone call that the woman made while in custody on an unrelated matter. During this call, she allegedly mentioned being in a crash and hitting a bicycle. The woman faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years if convicted.
This case shows that some authorities will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of a hit-and-run driver involved in a fatal accident. While it is understandable that a motorist may panic in such a situation, cooperating with authorities may be the wiser options. A local DUI defense lawyer is bound by attorney-client privilege and could secure concessions from a prosecutor while negotiating a client’s surrender.