Eugene Bicyclist

ON BIKE CULTURE IN EUGENE | Fine blogging since 2010 (with periodic long breaks)

Gleich sentenced to 6 months; driving privileges revoked forever

From The Register-Guard’s Karen McCowan, we have this report of the sentencing yesterday of James Robert Gleich, the motorist who hit and killed Mingo Pelkey as she was riding her bike on River Road about a year ago. I recommend that you read it.

Gleich was the man who had been in two other automobile wrecks during the three months prior to hitting Pelkey.

McCowan reports that Gleich agreed to a deal with prosecutors that dropped a manslaughter charge and had him plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide, which is:

Oregon Revised Statutes 163.145: Criminally negligent homicide
(1) A person commits the crime of criminally negligent homicide when, with criminal negligence, the person causes the death of another person.
(2) Criminally negligent homicide is a Class B felony. [1971 c.743 §91; 2003 c.815 §2]

Way back a year ago, the occasional commenter Skinner City Cyclist (haven’t heard from him for a while; you out there Skinner?) predicted there would be “something less than a six-month sentence.” He wasn’t far off.

Here is what McCowan reports on the plea deal:

Prosecutor Dave Hopkins said the state agreed to the plea deal because it was not confident that it could prove Gleich was engaged in criminal behavior when he hit Pelkey. Witnesses said Gleich had engaged in “a short period of very bad driving” just before the crash, including jockeying around other vehicles at a light and accelerating in the right lane to get around a driver in the left lane, Hopkins said.

The witnesses saw no evasive action by Gleich and no brake lights indicating that he had tried to stop his Volkswagen Passat before striking Pelkey, but his estimated speed at the time of impact was not sufficient to support criminal charges, the prosecutor said.

I don’t quite understand the “criminal behavior” part. I guess they mean whatever standard of proof is required for manslaughter.

But the part about the “estimated speed” not being “sufficient” is interesting, if a little depressing. I mean, his speed was sufficient to kill someone.

Thoughts on the sentence?

* * *

For a list of all posts about the Mingo Pelkey case, go here.

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16 comments on “Gleich sentenced to 6 months; driving privileges revoked forever

  1. Seager
    October 6, 2012

    It’s bullshit bullshit bullshit. 6 months is a slap on the wrist. Who thinks he really won’t drive again after getting out? Not me.

    If it’s better than 30 days like some other sentences, but it’s still bullshit. Don’t like someone? Run them over with a car. You’ll be out of jail in less than a year.

    http://www.webikeeugene.org/2010/06/15/editorial-30-days-in-prison-is-not-enough-for-killing-a-cyclist-by-driving-recklessly/

  2. Pam
    October 6, 2012

    Actually he spent 2 weeks in jail the end of Feb. and the first part of Mar. Then he was out on bail and on house arrest for 6 months. That was his jail time. Now he is just on probation for 5 years with no drivers license for the rest of his life

    • Eugene Bicyclist
      October 7, 2012

      Hi Pam,
      Oh, so they counted “time already served,” including the time on house arrest? The R-G story doesn’t mention that — but I suppose that’s not unusual in how they sentence people.

      My best to you.

    • Andrew Jackson
      December 12, 2012

      Hi Aunt Pam. My mom — Well, actually Mary — just told me last month that Mingo had been killed. I truly am sorry. As an avid cyclist, and because of being mangled and nearly being killed by a car myself all those years ago, I feel sick inside when I read about all of this. Wish I could give you a hug.

      I live in Olympia, Wa. Mingo was my cousin. To read the stories, and to hear from witnesses that she was fully stopped and obeying traffic laws when her body was thrown 150 ft, is difficult at best.

      I went out to the accident site Sunday night. There’s no sight of anything. No paint marks. No ghost bike. Nothing. I realize I came late to this discussion, but I do wonder about setting up a ghost bike.

      Wish I knew what to say. I’ve never met Gleich, so I don’t know what kind of person he is, but the deep animus I feel whenever I read stories like this about cyclists isn’t going to do much good.

      That said, 14 days is obscene.

      • Pam
        December 12, 2012

        I am not quite sure who you are. Pam

        • Andrew Jackson
          December 13, 2012

          Hello again Pam,

          There are two problems with my comment that you replied to. The first is that Mingo’s mother is named Pam. I thought that you were that Pam. My bad, and my apologies for being so presumptuous.

          The second problem with my comment is that Pam is actually my cousin, and not my aunt. At the time of my post I was still reeling from all the information I’d been reading and my ability of enumerating family members failed me at that moment. Again, my apologies.

          Our family has never been terribly close, particularly on my dad’s side, of which Mingo and her mom are members. But Mingo was, and her mom still is, family. Hearing about a cyclist being killed sucks. The fact that it was family super-sucks.

        • Pam
          December 13, 2012

          Hi Andy,

          You do have the right family. The “aunt” did throw me off, but I woke up thinking about it and figured it out. I am sorry for seeming rude to you. I would like to talk with you but don’t want to put my contact information for the whole world to read. Thank you for writing and showing you concern. I will try to look you up somehow.
          your “cousin” and Mingo’s mom, Pam

  3. Eugene Bicyclist
    October 7, 2012

    OK, I’ll respond to my own post.

    Not that anyone should think our system of justice is logical, but how come we have Patrick Compton, the driver who hit and killed Craig MacFie, getting 3 years in prison and then we have James Gleich getting six months of house arrest?

    I know Patrick Compton, the driver who hit Macfie, was drunk. We’ve decided as a society we should be tough on drunk drivers. But if you’re just a really bad driver even when you are sober, that’s somehow not as bad?

    And then there’s the case Seager linked to above — in which a woman got 30 days in jail. (He raises this same question in the post he links to there.)

    I understand that cases are all different and that’s a judge’s job — to judge.

    But I don’t get it. I just wonder if the advocacy that has advanced the crackdown on drunk driving missed the point — that it’s not just being drunk that is the problem. The problem is people who don’t take seriously the potential harm that can be done by an automobile. That includes people who drive drunk, people who are reckless, people who put their need to arrive wherever they are going 2 minutes sooner above the safety of someone else who is walking or biking down the street.

  4. Pingback: On the bike license proposal and sharing the road « Eugene Bicyclist

  5. Aub
    October 8, 2012

    I will respond to you. No justice has been served here. I agree 100% with everything you said above. I am still so shocked by this verdict. He killed my best friend. His punishment is house arrest (no different than his daily life already was)???

    This has been one of (if not THE) worst things in our lives. Not only is he not really being punished, he didn’t even have the decency to apologize to Mingo’s family, who are some of the best people I have ever known. This loss has left caverns of pain. Isn’t that the least thing any human would do, say, “I am so sorry for killing her, it was a terrible accident”? Even if he couldn’t say it, couldn’t he have written it down…anything? Nope, not Gleich. After all, she was in his “way”.

    At the very least, he could have seemed remorseful for having taken away a daughter, sister, and friend. If his brain issue was truly impairing, why was he issued a drivers license in the first place? Why was he on the road?

    Gleich will strike again. Beware anyone in his perceived “right of way”. He will run you over, and he won’t care. Shame on him, and on this verdict. NOTHING will bring back this time we have lost with her. We are all stuck with all of the “what if’s” and “if only’s”. A punishment to fit the crime was the only thing we could hope for. We are so sadly disappointed.

  6. Max Schwanekamp
    October 8, 2012

    It’s enough to make you want to round up a gang of vigilantes and… well you know. I’m not suggesting that, but it’s cases like this that make me understand how people can become an angry, violent mob. Truly disgusting.

  7. Skinner City Cyclist
    October 11, 2012

    Look, what you people fail to understand is, what happened with Gleich could have happened to anyone. We have all operated vehicles in an unsafe manner. Why should we have to pay the consequences for that? It is a right to drive a car, but not so to ride a bike; why else do you think the roads are so big?

    It doesn’t stop with cars, either. I myself like to walk out into my front yard with my .357 magnum in the evenings and fire rounds off into the darkness. I never try to hit anything, I just like to see the flame. I never do it drunk, so everything should be fine, and I always have about six months worth of rent and expenses saved up in case I kill anyone and am convicted of negligent homicide and happen to draw my six-month sentence. Geez, you cyclists are a bunch of whiners.

  8. Jimmie Pelkey
    October 25, 2012

    Ok put this too rest. Turn it over to God, let Him handle this. You all need to chill out and let Mingo rest in peace. Amen. J. O. Pelkey

    • Pam
      October 26, 2012

      Mingo’s family, friends and fellow cyclists would like to have justice done. It is not right for someone to take someones life and not have consequences. You must be a relative of Randy. How are you related?

    • skinnercitycyclist
      October 27, 2012

      Let her rest in peace by remaining silent while a judge issues a slap on the wrist to her murderer?

      Screw god. What we want is justice in this world, not pie-in-the-sky in the next.

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This entry was posted on October 6, 2012 by in Real news/events, the mingo pelkey case.

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