A 68-year-old man will face misdemeanor charges in connection with a late July motorcycle accident that killed a man and injured another. It is not clear why authorities do not plan to pursue felony charges or what the misdemeanor charge will be.
According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, the victims were riding their motorcycles the evening of July 26. They reached an intersection and entered after recognizing that they had a green light.
At that point, an SUV driven by the suspect crashed into the motorcycles while attempting a left turn. The older rider, 35, died of his injuries. The other victim, 30, was taken the hospital after the motorcycle accident, where he was treated and released, according to his wife.
Following the accident, an officer with the Long Beach Police Department said the driver could be charged with vehicular manslaughter. However on Aug. 9, police “clarified” that prosecutors would likely present misdemeanor charges instead, LBReport.com reports. Outside of saying that they “misspoke” in an earlier press release, officers did not explain how the driver’s criminal liability in the fatal accident did not rise to felony level.
Motorcycle accidents that end in serious injury or death frequently trigger criminal charges against the driver responsible. It is important to remember that the criminal and civil courts are separate legal systems. While the evidence used in each case would naturally be very similar, the standard of proof is lower in civil court. So a case that might not result in a criminal condition may lead to civil damages for the victim.
Source: KCBS-TV, “Prominent Restaurant Owner Accused In Deadly Motorcycle Accident,” July 28, 2013