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Alleged hit-and-run driver may not face felony (too rich to fail)
vaildaily.com ^ | Randy Wyrick

Posted on 11/11/2010 11:38:30 AM PST by big black dog

A financial manager for wealthy clients will not face felony charges for a hit-and-run because it could jeopardize his job, prosecutors said Thursday.

Martin Joel Erzinger, 52, faces two misdemeanor traffic charges stemming from a July 3 incident when he allegedly hit bicyclist Dr. Steven Milo from behind then sped away, according to court documents.

Milo and his attorney, Harold Haddon, are livid about the prosecution's decision to drop the felony charge. They filed their objection Wednesday afternoon, the day after prosecutors notified Haddon's office by fax of their decision.

Haddon and Milo say this is a victim's rights case, that Erzinger's alleged actions constituted a felony, and that one day is not enough notice.

“The proposed disposition is not appropriate given the shocking nature of of the defendant's conduct and the debilitating injuries which Dr. Milo has suffered,” Haddon wrote.

As for the one-day notice, Haddon wrote, “One business day is not sufficient notice to allow him to meaningfully participate in this criminal action.”

Milo, 34, is a physician living in New York City with his wife and two children, where he is still recovering from his injuries, court records show.

Milo suffered spinal cord injuries, bleeding from his brain and damage to his knee and scapula, according to court documents. Over the past six weeks he has suffered “disabling” spinal headaches and faces multiple surgeries for a herniated disc and plastic surgery to fix the scars he suffered in the accident.

“He will have lifetime pain,” Haddon wrote. “His ability to deal with the physical challenges of his profession — liver transplant surgery — has been seriously jeopardized.”

Money manager

Erzinger, an Arrowhead homeowner, is a director in private wealth management at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Denver. His biography on Worth.com states that Erzinger is “dedicated to ultra high net worth individuals, their families and foundations.”

Erzinger manages more than $1 billion in assets. He would have to publicly disclose any felony charge within 30 days, according to North American Securities Dealers regulations.

Milo wrote in a letter to District Attorney Mark Hurlbert that the case “has always been about responsibility, not money.”

“Mr. Erzinger struck me, fled and left me for dead on the highway,” Milo wrote. “Neither his financial prominence nor my financial situation should be factors in your prosecution of this case.”

Hurlbert said Thursday that, in part, this case is about the money.

“The money has never been a priority for them. It is for us,” Hurlbert said. “Justice in this case includes restitution and the ability to pay it.”

Hurlbert said Erzinger is willing to take responsibility and pay restitution.

“Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger's profession, and that entered into it,” Hurlbert said. “When you're talking about restitution, you don't want to take away his ability to pay.”

“We have talked with Mr. Haddon and we had their objections, but ultimately it's our call,” Hurlbert said.

Dropping the felony charge is not a revelation, Hurlbert said.

“We had been talking with them about this misdemeanor disposition for a while now,” Hurlbert said. “The misdemeanor charges really are what he did.”

Haddon and Hurlbert have squared off before. Haddon was one of Kobe Bryant's defense attorneys, with lead attorney Pamela Mackey, when Bryant faced sexual assault charges in Eagle County. Hurlbert was the lead prosecutor in that case.

Bicyclist hit from behind

Milo was bicycling eastbound on Highway 6 just east of Miller Ranch Road, when Erzinger allegedly hit him with the black 2010 Mercedes Benz sedan he was driving. Erzinger fled the scene and was arrested later, police say.

Erzinger allegedly veered onto the side of the road and hit Milo from behind. Milo was thrown to the pavement, while Erzinger struck a culvert and kept driving, according to court documents.

Erzinger drove all the way through Avon, the town's roundabouts, under I-70 and stopped in the Pizza Hut parking lot where he called the Mercedes auto assistance service to report damage to his vehicle, and asked that his car be towed, records show. He did not ask for law enforcement assistance, according to court records.

Erzinger told police he was unaware he had hit Milo, court documents say.

When Avon police arrived he was putting a broken side mirror and a bumper in his trunk, court record say.

Meanwhile another motorist, Steven Lay of Eagle, stopped to help Milo and called 911.

Court records say prosecutors expressed skepticism to Milo at a suggestion by Erzinger's defense attorneys that Erzinger might have unknowingly suffered from sleep apnea, and that might have made him caused him to fall asleep at the wheel and hit Milo.

The original complaint included a felony count against Erzinger for causing serious bodily injury. Deputy DA Mark Brostrom is prosecuting the case and Milo says in court documents that Brostrom called Erzinger's July 3 actions “egregious.” Prosecutors pleaded the case down to a misdemeanor later in the summer, then in August told Milo and his attorneys that Erzinger would face a felony charge, Haddon wrote.

But on Sept. 7, Brostrom told County Court Judge Katharine Sullivan that the case would be pleaded as a misdemeanor. That's the first time Milo or his attorneys had heard of it, Haddon wrote, and they protested “in the strongest possible terms,” Haddon wrote.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 11/11/2010 11:38:33 AM PST by big black dog
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To: big black dog

In Colorado, richlibs and illegals don’t have to pay no stinkin’ attention to no stinkin’ laws.

Laws are for conservatives only.

The war is coming.


2 posted on 11/11/2010 11:42:45 AM PST by Da Coyote
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To: big black dog

Well, it looks like pony boy [John Edwards] was right, there are two Americas.

This is pure crap!


3 posted on 11/11/2010 11:42:52 AM PST by SZonian (July 27, 2010. Life begins anew.)
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To: big black dog

Like I have said, one set of rules for the commoners and another set for the elite.


4 posted on 11/11/2010 11:44:37 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Islam is the religion of Satan and Mohammed was his minion.)
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To: big black dog

I guess the only mitigating factor is the guy he hit was on a bike.

... and yes, it was sarcasm. Gawd some of you bike people get your panties in a bunch over anything!


5 posted on 11/11/2010 11:45:20 AM PST by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my Dear Friend Henry Lee II)
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To: big black dog

I’m so poor I can now be charged with other people’s crimes!?


6 posted on 11/11/2010 11:46:46 AM PST by 2dollarbill
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To: SZonian

I’m wondering if the D.A. got a nice new boat.


7 posted on 11/11/2010 11:47:17 AM PST by Shimmer1 (Navy blue)
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To: big black dog

Might want to check Mr. Hurlburt’s Swiss bank accounts...


8 posted on 11/11/2010 11:49:15 AM PST by Regulator (Watch Out! Americans are on the March! America Forever, Mexico Never!)
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To: Shimmer1

HA! Good point.


9 posted on 11/11/2010 11:51:41 AM PST by SZonian (July 27, 2010. Life begins anew.)
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To: big black dog
Incident also referenced by Karl Denninger last Saturday:

Bill Black Nails It AGAIN: Fraud Of America

10 posted on 11/11/2010 11:58:39 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: big black dog
“Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger's profession, and that entered into it,” Hurlbert said. “When you're talking about restitution, you don't want to take away his ability to pay.”

Doesn't Mr. Erzinger's auto insurance provide means to pay restitution?

Also, throw him in prison for felony hit-and-run/attempted murder, and file a civil personal-injury lawsuit aginst him for twice his net worth.

He's not going to need his money while he's rotting in prison, anyway.

11 posted on 11/11/2010 12:04:12 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: big black dog
...a suggestion by Erzinger's defense attorneys that Erzinger might have unknowingly suffered from sleep apnea...

I think the word they're looking for is "narcolepsy".

If that's their defense, Erzinger's driving license needs an irreversible lifetime revocation.

12 posted on 11/11/2010 12:07:41 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: DuncanWaring
Doesn't Mr. Erzinger's auto insurance provide means to pay restitution?

Do you really think they are going to settle for the policy limit? He probably has a one or two million dollar liability policy. That's a lot of money, but not if the person injured is relatively young and won't be able to return to work. You might cover hospital bills, but not lost wages for a doctor.

Also, throw him in prison for felony hit-and-run/attempted murder, and file a civil personal-injury lawsuit aginst him for twice his net worth.

I understand the hit and run, but attempted murder?

Even if he won a huge settlement in court, it would be reduced by the plaintiff's ability to pay.

He's not going to need his money while he's rotting in prison, anyway.>/i>

He's not going to go to prison for the rest of his life for felony hit and run, and he probably has his own wife and kids, and the courts aren't going to drive them into poverty regardless of how criminally negligent Erzinger was in this one action.

13 posted on 11/11/2010 12:22:35 PM PST by untrained skeptic
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To: big black dog

Ted Kennedy started that trend ... nothing to see here ....


14 posted on 11/11/2010 1:10:40 PM PST by SkyDancer ("If You Don't Read The News You're Uninformed, If You Do Read The News You're Misinformed")
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To: Da Coyote
In Colorado, richlibs and illegals don’t have to pay no stinkin’ attention to no stinkin’ laws.

My son was hit and the illegal ran yesterday. My son was in the left turn lane at a red light and Jose clipped him and ran the red light. My son called 911...the cops showed over an hour later.

15 posted on 11/11/2010 1:20:10 PM PST by Fundamentally Fair (If exercising the right to free speech invites violence, then girls in short skirts invite rape.)
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To: Da Coyote
In Colorado, richlibs and illegals don’t have to pay no stinkin’ attention to no stinkin’ laws.

In Colorado, richlibs, illegals, and bicyclists don’t have to pay no stinkin’ attention to no stinkin’ laws.

There, that's more accurate.

16 posted on 11/11/2010 1:59:22 PM PST by Balding_Eagle (Overproduction, one of the top five worries of the American Farmer each and every year..)
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To: untrained skeptic
From the article:
Erzinger allegedly veered onto the side of the road and hit Milo from behind.
Sounds like Attempted Murder to me. Or at the very least Assault With A Deadly Weapon.

From the description in the article, Dr. Milo is maimed-for-life.

In my mind Attempted Murder should be a capital crime. If Erzinger is only impoverished he would getting off lightly.

17 posted on 11/11/2010 3:35:51 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: DuncanWaring
From the article:

Erzinger allegedly veered onto the side of the road and hit Milo from behind.

Sounds like Attempted Murder to me. Or at the very least Assault With A Deadly Weapon.

Or he fell asleep. Or he was playing with the radio. Or he was texting on his phone. Or he was arguing with his wife on the phone and not paying attention.

It doesn't make much sense that a successful and rich business man would suddenly decide to intentionally swerve to hit a bicyclist from behind that he has never met before.

It seems far more likely that he negligently and unintentionally swerved, hitting the bicyclist and then clipping the culvert. That might also might bring into the realm of possibility that the driver wasn't paying attention when he went off the road and hit the bicyclist, and hit the culvert and might possibly not have realized he clipped the bicyclist.

Not likely, but it is a possible scenario. It in no way excuses him for hitting the bicyclist, but if in the specific circumstances of this case it was credible, it might explain why the prosecutor decided to drop the felony hit and run.

Probable. No. But if the circumstances were right, it may very well have been what happened. No way for us to know for sure.

In either case the driver is going to justifiably spending a lot of money to compensate the victim.

But if the driver says he fell asleep at the wheel and woke up when he clipped the culvert, the evidence may be consistent with that. His actions after the fact aren't inconsistent with that. Likely there were no witnesses that could contradict him unless he stopped saw the guy on the ground, and then drove off. Reasonable doubt.

18 posted on 11/11/2010 4:40:31 PM PST by untrained skeptic
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