Tuesday, March 18 2008 @ 12:16 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
[I hear too many times that the fact that a speeding motorist is not found at fault in a crash with a cyclists, if the cyclists speed is important in this case then motorists speeds should be important in all cyclists crash cases. Our deepest sympathies to the Clarke's and their loss.]
A trial date is set for early July to determine whether a 17-year-old Incline juvenile was at fault in a vehicle vs. bicyclist fatality last year at the intersection of Country Club Drive and Village Boulevard.
The youth, whose name is not being published because he is a juvenile, faces two charges, one of which is vehicular manslaughter, stemming from the Sept. 20, 2007 collision that killed 43-year-old Lloyd Clarke, a Hagerston, Md. native.
'An unfortunate tragedy'
According to initial Washoe County Sheriff's Office reports, Clarke was riding a bicycle southbound in the early evening of Sept. 20 on Country Club Drive when a northbound truck driven by the juvenile turned left into the intersection of Country Club Drive and Village Boulevard. Clarke was unable to stop, and hit the side of the truck. He was pronounced dead shortly after deputies arrived on the scene at 6:55 p.m.
Shortly after the incident, sheriff's officials said preliminary investigation pointed to the juvenile not being at fault, due to the possible speed of the cyclist since Country Club Drive is steep at that point in the road.
After a three-month investigation, however, evidence and witness testimony suggests the initial reports were inaccurate, thus bringing the charges against the juvenile, said WCSO Lt. John Spencer, who took part in the investigation.
"Our job is to let the evidence prove or disprove, and the evidence brought to us concludes that these charges should be brought against (the juvenile)," he said. "In my heart I don't feel there was ever any intent by (the juvenile). He simply made an improper left turn. This is just an unfortunate tragedy that has cast an unfortunate shadow over two great families."
Sherol Clarke, Lloyd Clarke's widow, spoke with the Bonanza in a phone interview Wednesday evening.
She said the past six months have been very hard for her and her 11-year-old daughter, Elta Clarke.
"It's unfortunate that the statements released prior to the investigation were not retracted; had they been, things would be a lot different today," Sherol Clarke said. "It's been very difficult for us to understand. I'm having a hard time trying to explain it all to my daughter. This event has changed so many lives."
As part of the investigation, detailed scene photographs the day of and the day after the incident were taken, detailed scene measurements using computer survey systems were taken, a witness and the juvenile were interviewed, toxicology tests were take from the juvenile and Clarke, a mechanical examination was made of the juvenile's truck and Clarke's bicycle, and speed reenactments were conducted.
The speed reenactments were a key part in the investigation, Spencer said, because it helped determine whether Clarke was exceeding the road's 35-mile per hour speed limit.
"We brought in a sheriff's officer who rides a bicycle and had him come down the road, and it disproved that," Spencer said. "There's no way the bike could have been going that fast."
The toxicology results also were important to the investigation, he said.
"Nowhere does it imply that either party was either impaired or were reckless leading up to the accident," Spencer said.