*Update 11/17/2015* Hector Avalos, 28, Western/Ogden, 12/6/2013 :-(

[expletives deleted.....]



As usual, lead poisoning victims have got to the comments first, so do yourself a favor and don't read them.

Now comes the usual horrid wait to find out who it was, if it's someone any of us knows.....

Update.. Hector Avalos of Cermak/Wood area.  My condolences to his friends and family.

Update 11/17/2015

This is a heartbreaking decision. The judge blamed the victim for wearing dark clothes and referred to the crash as an "accident" but seemed to ignore the fact that Robert's blood alcohol level was 0.152 percent when he got behind the wheel, nearly twice the legal level of 0.08.

“[Vais] has to face the fact that what he did was wrong,” Avalos’ mother Ingrid Cossio said. “He gets a new beginning, a new life, and a new chance to be with his family, so I hope he takes advantage of that opportunity. I don’t get that with my son.”

Full Streetsblog Article:

(seems like it would be a basic courtesy to note that a posting was updated/modified by an admin and not the original poster-h)

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I'm guessing Judge Ford drives a car, empathizes with Vais and probably doesn't ride a bike very often in the streets of Chicago. He probably reads the Tribune and John Kass' editorials.

I agree with your sentiment, it seems as if it's now open season on bicyclists. It's scary out there. 

I'm finally just reading this thread with a heavy heart and frustration at our system since reading about the sentence. It makes me think that perhaps the best - maybe the only - way to combat such strong disregard for peoples lives if they happen to be riding a bike is to continue the push to get every person on a bike.

Every judge, every prosecutor, every defender, every police officer, everyone who works in the public sector in Chicago should have the experience of riding a bicycle on the streets of Chicago. I think it's the empathy void that we're all hearing and reading so much about...

Thanks Sarah. Well said. +1

"Every person on a bicycle". Everyone cycling?! Sadly, IMO, this is most likely not achievable because there are some people who are utterly adverse to any thing cycling. They would not be open to it because they feel it is beneath their dignity and are revulsed by anyone involved in cycling. "Ha, you ride a bike, ha ! Nice bike !"

These types of people exist for whatever their reasoning, childhood trauma, lack of coordination/balance, or whatever.

'Push' for every person on a bike? I'm sure you could not require a person to 'humanized' to cycling if they were hopelessly unwilling. That would not achieve anything positive.

The bitter truth is, some people will never have any empathy for cyclists. Frustrating and sad.

Getting every person on a bike may not be feasible, but getting enough people on a bike so that every person knows someone who bikes is very much achievable. Several people I know have become more mindful and respectful of bicyclists after we've had conversations, and have mentioned that when they see someone on a bike they think of me. Bringing it home and making it relatable does have an impact on most people.

I agree. It may be a lofty goal but it is a good one. The more people that ride bikes, the more people that have loved ones that ride bikes. 

It seems that just about everybody rides a bike when they're kids.  Probably like many on this site, I've ridden ever since I was old enough and have never stopped.  Maybe the campaign should be to encourage kids to keep riding after they become adults, so the attrition rate is lower.

Accidents happen. Although, this was not. I hope the defendant takes the victims mother's advice. He got a second opportunity to change for the better and he should of known better to get behind the wheel under the influence. Who doesn't? Even some cyclist do it. But if you know the risk then I believe you should admit to fault. I'm sure the mother would of forgave the defendant. 

R.I.P Hector. 

Huge Sigh and Heavy Heart. 

So here's a case reported today where an ISU student was driving and killed a pedestrian.  Very similar to this case generally, except the ISU driver left the scene. He was convicted of aggravated driving under the influence of marijuana and sentenced to six years in prison -- 24 times the sentence Vais got.  I guess he didn't have enough letters or wasn't a youth coach.  The inconsistency of sentencing in these cases, and others, is mind-blowing.  



Here's another summary of the sentencing hearing that appeared on the Active Trans blog:No good outcomes in sentence for aggravated DUI death

This was written by our staffer, Jason Jenkins, who attended the hearing. 


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