Mercedes 1, cyclist 0

Thanks to everyone who tipped me to the heartwarming story of a top-dollar money manager who does a hit-and-run on a transplant surgeon and gets charged with a misdemeanor (littering?) because a felony rap might adversely impact him career-wise. Yeah, right — like pulling a stretch in stir punches up the po’ folks’ résumés. I’d seen the story earlier but was reserving comment until I ran out of tequila and had placed the arsenal in the care of responsible neighbors.

Charles Pelkey at VeloNews, in his role as The Explainer, is in the process of trying to explain the inexplicable. Me, I’m on deadline with Bicycle Retailer & Industry News and contemplating a few hundred words of something less lawyerly (and less savory). Here’s a sample:

America’s terror of commies under the national bed has always befuddled me, since your homegrown pinko has, in my lifetime, been about as big a threat to the Republic as a dust bunny.

It’s the capitalists in plain view who cause most of our problems.

More as it develops. But first I have to feed the beast. And yeah, I was a commie until I started noticing that orthodox Marxist-Leninists and Industrial Christians had more in common — especially as regards their shared authoritarian “come to Jesus/Marx” streak — than either would care to admit.

17 Responses to “Mercedes 1, cyclist 0”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    This is just a more visceral version of Citizens United vs. FEC. Money talks, and even a transplant surgeon is no better than any other form of roadkill to that DA. I suspect that if he had mowed down an illegal, we might not even have read the story.

    I hope some day that investment manager needs a transplant. Transplant this, mister…

  2. Opus the Poet Says:

    Did you know ballot and bullet both come from the same Greek root word for shard? And that either one works for getting rid of pesky politicians?

  3. Old Skool Says:

    A Eli Lapp said to Rachel in the movie Witness: “You be careful out among the English.”

  4. Fripphead Says:

    Excellent reminder, Old Skool…

  5. Larry T. Says:

    As Khal pointed out, even when you’re a hotshot doc, on a bike in the US of A you’re pretty much just “in the way” as the rich folks zoom off to create more “wealth” in their overpriced German cars. If one of them doesn’t run you down, it’s Joe Six-Pack (or Joe the Plumber?) hauling ass to clean the rich folk’s pool or unclog their drains who’ll get ya! As we get ever-closer to moving to Italy permanently, crap like this just gives us more motivation…like the old Animals song went…”we gotta get outta this place…”

  6. Jon Paulos Says:

    Hmm. Unlike last year’s case in LA, where a rich guy ran over two not-rich guys, this is rich-guy-on-rich-guy. So there won’t be any class undertones. And each party has deep pockets to lawyer up. This oughta be interesting to follow. Beware though, of the tendency to blow this off just because both guys are rich.

  7. Bill W Says:

    It’s not just 2 rich guys, the one hit is from NEW YORK CITY. Vail needs to look after their own rich before some NEW YORKER. I’m just kidding, Vail will still be glad to take all the out of town money from the skiers. Just don’t get in the way of any rich LOCAL skiers.

  8. Larry T. Says:

    Exactly the problem — to the rich folks and those who serve them, along with most everyone who ISN’T a cyclist, ANYONE on a bike in the US is either a)some poor person who can’t afford a car, or a drunk who lost his/her license to drive one or b)some lycra-clad a-hole out having fun.
    Either way, the problem is the “OUTTA MY WAY, I’M IMPORTANT!” mentality of the typical motorist in the USA. This Vail jerk ought to be doing some time next to the LA doc who crashed those guys, but I remember the attitude when the wife got side-swiped and knocked off the road in SoCal a few years ago — the county DA wouldn’t file any charge, the “failure to pass safely” citation the motorist got at the scene was all there was to it. The CHP guy responding to the call said, as soon as he stumbled out of his patrol car, “I wouldn’t ride a bike on this road”. The places where a cyclist is any more than a 2nd class citizen in the US are rare, if they exist at all! Maybe it’s time to boycott Vail as a cycling destination? Would they care?

  9. khal spencer Says:

    Boycotting Vail as a ski destination would be a lot more of a threat.

    But as Larry said, it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, gay or straight, young or old, male or female. To a motorist in a hurry, (or perhaps to the Vail D.A.) you all count about the same–someone who doesn’t know enough to be in a big car so when the loser in his oversize Benz hits you, its just bent metal and a fight between insurance agents rather than an ICU trip and an actual crime scene.

    Foolish me on a bike…

  10. Larry T. Says:

    Maybe someone needs to remind the DA in Vail about the upcoming “Toasted Sandwich Classic” bike race the resort plans to host next year? Who wants to go up and see the pros race in a place where one of ’em could be run down by rich folks careening around the roads in oversized vehicles — folks so rich and powerful that even if caught, they get off with a minor offense?
    This REALLY makes me want to visit Vail next year to watch the pros, and perhaps risk my own life cycling on the roads up there, how ’bout you?

  11. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Larry, someone beat you to it: Richard Masoner at

    I wouldn’t have any trouble joining such a boycott, assuming the Toasted Sammich Tour ever gets off the starting line. I loathe ski towns and shun them on general principles.

  12. khal spencer Says:

    If the Eagle County D.A. is an elected position, sounds like this issue needs to be revisited at the polls.

  13. Larry T. Says:

    Thanks OG, I added my name to the petition. The only way to get rich folks attention when they commit crimes is to throw ’em in jail — they have no trouble paying fines as Ms. Paris Hilton so often proves! Sometimes I think we oughta have the law like in Germany where fines are based on your income so a rich a-hole like this guy would take a HUGE hit in the wallet. But it would be better still if he spends some time in the cross-bar hotel to pay for his crime.
    We’ll certainly be avoiding Vail if/when we head out to CO to see any of the Toasted Sandwich pro race, just as we’ll not do ANYTHING with the state of AZ after their passage of the horrible anti-immigrant laws there. This from a guy who went to the World’s MTB race there (the first one) as well as stages of the old Coor’s Classic when held there. I’ll even make sure I don’t spend even a dime when passing through the area on the highway!

  14. Jeff in PetroMetro Says:

    Since Morgan Stanley was my professional alma mater kind of, I put a little pen to paper about Mr. Erzinger’s income. Based on the details I read about his practice, he has a team of five. They manage over a billion US dollars. Apparently, $800,000,000 is the net worth of one client (hope that client doesn’t ride bicycles). So here’s a back-of-the-envelope estimate of the fees his team generates for Morgan Stanley and what part of it he and his team get.

    I assume he conservatively generates 75 basis points in fees on $1,000,000,000 per year (that’s 0.0075). He could certainly hammer his clients for more, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. So his gross could equal $7,500,000. At that kind of annual fee income, Morgan Stanley’s payout grid for 2010 is 47%. So his team keeps $3,525,000. Let’s say he pays his team of five (excluding himself) a total of $1,000,000 in compensation. That leaves him $2,525,000 annually. Of course, I could be way way wrong. So, for sake of being way way wrong, let’s cut his number in half (’cause I don’t know if he’s really managing $1,000,000,000 and getting 75 basis points average on all that and paying $1,000,000 in compensation to his team). That still leaves him taking home $1,262,500 per year.

    If he can hold his business together after all this bad press, and that’s a big if, the logic of the DA is that he can pay the doctor more by working than by going to jail. However, as a cyclist, I’d like to see the guy go to jail and be on the hook for an extremely large fixed dollar amount to be paid to the doctor, say $15,000,000, for medical bills, pain and suffering, and the doctor’s permanent loss to perform his job. The job loss thing will be argued vigorously by the doctor’s long term disability insurer–they could be on the hook depending on how the insurance policy was written.

    What a mess.

  15. chris Says:

    ah, those halcyon commie days, when times were so much simpler. i miss them so…
    you might have been more right than you thought, you know. and by “right,” i mean “correct.”

  16. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Jeff, that’s quite an envelope you’re sketching on. Damn. My income also runs to seven figures, if you’re talking cumulative and starting in, oh, say, 1977, and restricting discussion to my dreams.

    I understand the logic of money-whipping the mortal shit out of this guy, but the victim has already said that for him, it ain’t about the bucks, it’s about being left for dead. But the DA’s all about the bucks, so that seems to be the direction this is taking, regardless.

    Like you, as a cyclist, I’d like to see the guy in jail, even if it’s only tennis prison, or picking up roadside trash while wearing an orange jumpsuit. I think the Puritans were onto something with the stocks. Writing a fat check every month probably doesn’t hurt much if you’re cashing an even fatter one, but a Dumpster turnip in the teeth from a pitcher with some stuff and a little English on the ball — that’s a whole other deal.

  17. Charley Says:

    In Las Vegas Bicyclists and runners are referred to as Targets!!!

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