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30-day jail sentence handed down for drunken hit-and-run in SW Portland

Posted by on November 21st, 2014 at 10:24 am

vesely

Lisa Vesely after her arrest back in July.

A woman who drove her car recklessly while drunk, then rear-ended two other road users, only to drive away and leave them lying in the street with serious injuries was sentenced to just 30 days in jail on Tuesday.

The incident happened back in July when 32-year old Lisa Vesely was arrested for Assault, DUII, and Reckless Endangerment. Vesely was driving her car east on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway when she swerved into Cameron Duff and Jasmine Zamora. The pair were headed home from training at the Alpenrose Velodrome. Zamora, 30, sustained serious back and neck injuries while Duff, 25, escaped with only cuts and bruises.

Vesely claimed she didn’t even know she hit anyone, yet a police statement at the time said she drove back to the scene of the crime, only to drive away again before being arrested at her home. It’s worth noting that Vesely had a blood alcohol level of .17, which is twice the legal limit.

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According to a report in The Oregonian from the sentencing hearing, Vesely plead guilty to felony hit-and-run, a misdemeanor DUII and misdemeanor fourth-degree assault. Here’s more from The O:

Deputy District Attorney Lauren Kemp recommended 30 days in jail, three years of probation and 120 hours of community service

Vesely’s attorney, Lawrence Hunt, asked Judge Angel Lopez to sentence his client to some amount less than 30 days, noting that his client had no previous criminal history, was college-educated and has worked as a caregiver at a retirement center. Hunt said his client is eager to get back to work because she has only $25 left in her bank account after expenses she has incurred hiring him as a privately retained attorney.

As part of her sentence, Vesely’s driver’s license will be suspended for three years because of a 2013 law targeting hit-and-run drivers. Previously, state law called for a one-year suspension.

Also as part of her plea deal, she can ask a judge to reduce her felony hit-and-run conviction to a misdemeanor after 1 1/2 years if she abides by the terms of her sentence.

We’ve reached out to Justine Zamora to get her response to the sentencing and will update this post if/when we hear back.

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eli bishop
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eli bishop

FOUR YEARS for a brick, but 30 days for hit and run?!

Rico
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Rico

If she weren’t drunk, she would gotten off with a warning.

Dan
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Dan

Thank you for reporting on this update to the case. Not what we would want to hear, but at least there’s something of an ‘ending’ to the original story.

Edwards
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Edwards

The nice thing is with a felony conviction the cyclists will be able to go after her civilly and very easily win, her insurance will settle well before it goes to court and they can go after both her homeowners/renters (umbrella insurance) and auto insurance to get a fair settlement/reimbursement for all the recovery costs.

She’s got a solid 10 years of hell in front of here if they go after her civilly!

Cheif
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Cheif

Too bad they won’t confiscate the car along with the license. Of course she’s most likely been driving since this, and will continue to do so indefinitely.

Eric
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Eric

Since when in the f*** does “college-educated” have any relevance in judicial sentencing?!?!

Jonathan Radmacher
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Jonathan Radmacher

If you’re comparing sentences, the person who was throwing a brick to try and injure someone gets a longer sentence than the person who was simply reckless. Punishment of a criminal will rarely feel comparable to what the crime did to the victim, but that’s partly because the jail time imposed is not supposed to compensate the victim. That, hopefully, comes from her insurance company.

Brendan
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Brendan

Does anyone know how this would have been different if the two victims were in a car and everything else was the same (same injuries etc.)? I’d be happy to leave all the other arguments about crime and punishment to other people so long as the bike/car difference was equitable.

caesar
Guest
caesar

College education = money = part of the ruling class.
QED

We all know that “white collar crime” is rarely punished in an equivalent manner to “blue collar crime.”

Eric
Since when in the f*** does “college-educated” have any relevance in judicial sentencing?!?!
Recommended 0

JoshC
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JoshC

The brick in the face implies intent to harm someone. That still being said I think they both could use more time in jail for all our sake.

eli bishop
FOUR YEARS for a brick, but 30 days for hit and run?!
Recommended 30

caesar
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caesar

Her’s what I find troubling and ultimately depressing about the drinking and driving problem.

We know, without a doubt, that alcohol consumption impairs and inhibits normal human mental abilities, to which we would generically refer as “judgement capacity” or the ability to make rational, well-informed decisions. This is the main reason that in the medical profession (in which I work) a patient’s right to decide about his/her medical treatment becomes null and void if he/she is intoxicated, barring a legally-recognized surrogate decision maker that is at the bedside to accept that responsibility or a legal document stating the same (an “advanced directive”, etc). Thus every day in ERs across this country we are doing things (invasive things, painful things, risky things) to patients “against their will” because we determine that they are either intoxicated or have sustained a brain injury or are acutely psychotic (etc) and are therefore not competent to decide for themselves. Granted, what we do to them must be medically indicated, within the accepted standard of care, and must be what “most any reasonable person” would likely choose to have done to them in order to save their life or limb.

Likewise, every day in ERs across this country, patients who DO appear to have the capacity to make informed decisions (the majority of patients are like this) are “allowed” to refuse medical care that many or most of us would probably want – and are allowed to die or, at best, remain at a very high risk of death or serious complications. Because our society has decided that individuals have the ultimate right to choose or refuse medical care, even if refusal leads to death. Assuming that they are “compos mentis,” of course.

So back to drinking and driving. Even though I have worked as a trauma surgeon for over fifteen years and personally witnessed the carnage, pain and heartbreak wrought upon innocents by drivers who are intoxicated, and even though I have had to endure the personally painful experience, time and time again, of meeting with a father or a wife or a son in the ER ‘Quiet Room” to tell them that I just pronounced their loved one dead despite attempting every known maneuver to save them, I experience cognitive dissonance when thinking about the guilt and the punishment of the intoxicated driver. Because unless that driver fully intended to drive home drunk before he consumed the first ounce of alcohol, most of these people make the decision to drive while already impaired and incapacitated. It’s still a horrible decision. But I don’t believe that they fully appreciate or understand what they are about to do (drive impaired) nor do they recognize, at that moment, the potentially devastating consequences of driving home with an elevated blood alcohol concentration. Essentially, they are in the same “state of mind” as that of a recent patient I had who was quite drunk, yet awake enough to yell at me and the ER team that he wanted nothing done, that he wanted to just get off the gurney (to which he was securely strapped) and walk home, thank you very much. Yet we knew, based on our rapid initial assessment, that he had a collapsed lung on the left side from several broken ribs (he had fallen from a roof), and we knew that without proper emergency treatment (inserting a 2 cm diameter tube between the ribs to decompress the chest full of air and blood) he would likely die within the hour. And that’s what we did, despite his protests – we sedated him and then rapidly inserted a chest tube using a bit of local anesthesia (it still hurts) and treated the injury like it was meant to be treated. And when he finally sobered up, he thanked us.

So how is it that alcohol intoxication abrogates ones right to self determination when faced with emergency, life-or-death medical decisions yet a similarly intoxicated driver is held to a different and much higher standard of mental capacity? This is what I have trouble reconciling. The very act of drinking alcohol renders most, if not all of us, relatively incapable of making informed, conscientious, rational decisions. We become impulsive, careless, stupid. Which is why severely punishing those people for decisions made “under the influence” seems like the wrong approach.

Not sure what the right approach is, but I’m gonna venture it’s multi-pronged and will require re-educating and re-motivating those who are in a position to prevent the potential drunk driver from either drinking to begin with, or of driving after already drunk. Friends, family, bartender, random bystander – etc – need to do something and keep that person off the streets.

And lets stop glorifying alcohol consumption so much. Which I acknowledge is a dangerous thing to say in this town, given the excellent brew culture that exists here.

Tom
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Tom

Driving is a privilege, not a right.

DUI plus Hit and Run: Lifetime drivers license revocation. Its not a punishment, its to protect society from another occurrence. DUI is a high probability repeat offense, not just in the next year, but over the lifetime of the alcoholic. A lifetime breathalyzer ignition interlock is the only other option (paid for by offender).

Veggiepedaler
Guest
Veggiepedaler

College-educated and a caregiver…Oh!Well then. Carte blanche for that one. Drink up and grab the keys, all ye wisened scholars! Unbelievable.

EngineerScotty
Guest

Here’s a suggestion. While I’m not sure prison is the best place for offenders such as this (house arrest might be preferable–folks learn lots of bad habits in jail, it’s expensive, and I’d rather reserve prison for dangerous or repeat offenders)–until we come up with more creative ways of punishing such offenders, prison will have to do.

But since the perp is having her driver’s license suspended for X years: How about requiring her to buy–and she can spread out the cost over time if she cannot afford it, but it’s part of her sentence–a TriMet pass for the entire length of her suspension? (If she needs to move somewhere else during the time–she can choose to buy a different transit agency’s pass if she likes).

Given that she won’t (or shouldn’t) be driving….

pompilot
Guest
pompilot

Okay, before sentencing she was a caregiver. The next morning, she woke up a convicted FELON. This is something that she will have to reveal to any potential employer. Even if a judge reduces it at a later date, any background check will still show the felony conviction. If she does reveal the conviction as a felony, a lot of potential employers in healthcare will not hire her for hiding that information. If she does reveal the conviction, she may not be allowed to certain jobs or handle medications, (especially DEA scheduled drugs). In other words, changing diapers, emptying bedpans are okay. However, even touching a patient’s painkillers will be a big no-way.

rick
Guest
rick

BH Highway, an ODOT highway, needs a 35 mph speed limit, not the current 40 mph, between 65th Ave and 30th ave.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Besides the disparity in sentences between this case and the brick case, I think there’s also a disparity between what a plain DUI conviction gets and what Vesely got for hit-and-run. Yes, she gets 30 days in jail (if it’s not so full she gets out sooner) but some DUIs get at least a day, and yes, she gets a felony but it can be reduced by the judge (and no, her record will not reflect the felony if that happens, and she will not need to declare it for employment, housing, etc). Hit-and-run is not only a violent act with severe consequences to the victims, but it is also a high immoral act of cowardice to leave them injured on the road, possibly to die from lack of care that the driver could have summoned. It’s far worse actual damage than plain DUI. And hit-and-run criminals often get away with it. So, what’s this slightly-tougher-than-DUI sentence saying to potential hit-and-runners? Where’s the incentive structure for a DUI driver to stick around a collision? Seems to me the devil whispering in the criminal’s ear is saying, “hey, you will probably get away with it if you flee, but even on the off chance you get caught, it will only be slightly worse than if you stick around. What’s it gonna be? Isn’t it worth the small sentencing increase risk to play the odds and avoid the whole thing?”

Gerald Fittipaldi
Guest
Gerald Fittipaldi

If anyone can provide the name and addresses of the those who would be the *most effective* people for me to write to, to express my deep desire to have our laws reformed, I will write multiple letters. Phone numbers and email addresses would also be appreciated, but I’m going to write letters. Thank you in advance.

Trikeguy
Guest
Trikeguy

The problem with really long jail sentences is that it keeps them from working and paying on the money they’ll be owing the injured cyclist as soon as they sue her.

Personally I think they got it all wrong – permanent revocation of the license and a couple thousand hours of community service maintaining bike lanes in Portland (getting debris out of them) combined with a hefty civil fine so her wages are garnished for the rest of her life. That sounds about equitable.

Gary Johnson
Guest

Yes, I fully understand the judgement as a college graduate ‍ we add more to society and therefore we expect more…even if that may mean a lighter sentence (of course capital crimes i.e. Murder, Rape is the exception, or should be…that Ivy League swimmer that got away with rape under a good ole boy judge should have a red hot poker shoved up his ass). As college grads we are smart enough to evolve along with our changing globalized economy, not stuck on our fat ass complaining about our lost coal shovelers job, blaming everybody else (Mexicans, Muslims, Jews, Liberals {even tho they are the only ones offering an honest no bullshit solution [except it takes work, willingness to train for and go where the jobs are]}). As college grads we see the big picture, we think analytically, we believe science (we don’t burn books because we don’t live in fear like superstitious hill folk), we can’t be duped by Fox News, or Alex Jones, or David Duke, or Dick Limbaugh. As the enlightened, the deciders, and thinkers for those that will not, cannot because they know not; we will reap the benefits of this land as the intelligent elite simply cause we are willing to embrace change. The uneducated white-collars-dyed-blue Chumps are the losers inbreeding themselves out like lemming-brained dinosaurs into oblivion, the forgotten, we will sweep them away like yesterday’s garbage from the days when a greatless America was in a dark age because we are a beautifully browned educated elite that is stronger together!-)