Cyclists shocked driver will not face charges in death of bike rider

EVERETT, Wash. -- Some local cyclists are upset to learn the driver who hit and killed a 30-year-old bike rider in Everett will not face criminal charges.

The Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office determined the driver of the pickup truck that collided with the cyclist had a seizure and lost control of the vehicle. It happened October 17, 2012 on Evergreen Way.

The avid cyclist, father and bike shop employee was on his way home from work. Police say the driver was Southbound when he crossed three lanes of traffic, and the centerline, and into Trent Graham.

"It's a little alarming, it really is," says Everett cyclist Donovan Kolsky. "You know, what if that was me?"

Kolsky is saddened to hear that Everett police see the case a different way. A police spokesman says detectives believe there is evidence negligent driving did cause the accident.

Police issued the driver a citation for second-degree negligent driving. It came with a whopping $10,287 fine. Still, Kolsky can't help but wish the driver would face more serious consequences.

"Monetary value can't heal the wounds of somebody being nailed by a car, because that stays with you for a long time. A really long time," he said.

A manager who worked with Graham at Gregg's Cycle in Alderwood did not want to talk about the prosecutor's decision. Graham's family also declined to comment.

The prosecutor supervising the case did not respond to a request for comment.

But another cyclist we talked to points out that prosecutors sometimes have to go with what they can prove, not what they believe. He would like to know if that's the issue here.

The decision coincides with an opinion piece published this past Sunday in the New York Times, with the headline "Is it OK to kill cyclists?"

The article was written by a cyclist who believes drivers are not held fully accountable for accidents around the country that injure or kill bike riders.

"Yes, cyclists can feel that way," says Jason Hiester, owner of Tim's Bike Shop in Everett.

He estimates 75 percent of the commuter cyclists that come into his shop have been hit or grazed by a car.

"Drivers just feel like it's their road and they don't really have any consequences for what goes on," Hiester said.

Hiester acknowledges cyclists can be their own worst enemy when it comes to sharing the road with cars.

"They pick and choose what they want to obey," he said of some cyclists he sees out there."The more cyclists stay out of (drivers') way and obey the same laws they're supposed to obey, the better off we're all going to be. The less aggravating you're going to be to drivers."