A fund manager for Smith Barney is getting off without felony charges after he allegedly ran over a cyclist with his Mercedes and fled the scene in Eagle, Colorado, because, the DA says, felony charges would be bad for the fund manager’s business.
Martin Joel Erzinger will not be charged with a felony because “Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession,” according to District Attorney Mark Hurlbert.
Erzinger oversees over $1 billion in assets for “ultra high net worth individuals, their families and foundations,” according to Worth.
Erzinger fled the scene July 3 after allegedly striking Dr. Steven Milo with his 2010 Mercedes Benz sedan on Highway 6, according to court documents. Erzinger later called the Mercedes auto assistance service to ask for his vehicle to be towed but did not report the accident to law enforcement. He claims he was unaware the cyclist had been hit.
“Mr. Erzinger struck me, fled and left me for dead on the highway,” Milo wrote in a letter to the District Attorney. “Neither his financial prominence nor my financial situation should be factors in your prosecution of this case.”
“Milo suffered spinal cord injuries, bleeding from his brain and damage to his knee and scapula, according to court documents,” Randy Wyrick for reported Vail Daily. “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,” Milo’s lawyer, Harold Haddon, wrote. “His ability to deal with the physical challenges of his profession — liver transplant surgery — has been seriously jeopardized.”
Hurlbert explained that charging Erzinger with a felony could affect his job and ability to pay restitution. “When you’re talking about restitution, you don’t want to take away his ability to pay,” the DA said.
Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious is hoping cyclists will boycott a race in Vail next August.
“Stage 3 of the 2011 Quizno’s Pro Challenge on August 25 will be a time trial in Vail, Colorado,” Masoner wrote. “I’m making my travel plans for a visit to Colorado next August, and I will absolutely avoid the Vail stage. I encourage you to do the same, and to let the Eagle County Attorney’s office, Vail Valley Tourism and the Vail Chamber of Commerce know why you plan to skip a visit to Vail next August.”
Change.org has organized a petition titled “Don’t Drop Felony Charges Against Hit-and-Run Wealth Manager.”
The petition reads:
Traffic laws exist to motivate all drivers to act in a manner that is safe for other users of the road, including pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers. To those of us who rely on bicycles for transportation and recreation, enforcement of laws that ensure our safety on the road is vital.
The enforcement of traffic laws should not differ depending on a driver’s ability to write a check, but rather on the ability of the law to motivate drivers to drive safely. What Martin Joel Erzinger is accused of doing is clearly criminal, but dropping felony charges will set a message to drivers that the penalties for neglecting the welfare of others on the road, causing life-altering injury, and showing no concern for the victim might not be as serious as the law indicates.
While Martin Joel Erzinger would like to write a few checks and move on with his life, we must ensure that actions such as his are punished to the full extent of the law. Please do not drop felony charges against Martin Joel Erzinger.
But Reuters’ Felix Salmon doubts the petition will have much effect.
“In other words, Erzinger has bought his way out of a felony charge, over the strenuous objections of his victim; it’s very unlikely that online petitions will do any good at this point,” Salmon observed. “Just another thing to add to the list of things that money can buy, I suppose.”
WATCH: Lewandowski’s lawyer freaks out, tries to block Congress from asking any further questions
During the House Judiciary Committee testimony of President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski about the Russia investigation, Lewandowski's attorney frantically crashed the witness table and demanded that Congress stop asking questions of his client.
"Mister Chairman, as you know I am counsel for Mr. Lewandowski—" began the attorney.
"You are not a witness and you should not be seated at that table," cut in House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sharply.
"I understand that," said Lewandowski's attorney. "I will leave after I register a formal protest based upon the debate that I heard. These seem to be unauthorized questions and I know you choose your words carefully—"
Congressman blasts ‘tough guy’ Lewandowski for blowing off hearing: He wants to ‘launch his senatorial campaign’
On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," House Democratic Caucus chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) laid into President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski for his aggressive behavior before the House Judiciary Committee.
"As you know, Democrats want to call other witnesses for this impeachment investigation," said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "Do you worry, though, that Lewandowski set the precedent for not cooperating?"
"Well, Lewandowski portrayed himself as a tough guy," said Jeffries. "He's a likely candidate for a Senate seat in New Hampshire. And he was there probably to try to launch his senatorial campaign, not to take seriously his responsibility as a witness to participate in this hearing on behalf of the effort to find the truth for the American people. But that is okay. Because the American people can judge Lewandowski based on what they've seen from today and in terms of whether he was participating in a cover-up or participating in effort to reveal information to the American people."
‘This is not a reality TV show’: Democrat shuts down Rep. Collins when he tries to stop her questions about obstruction
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) had a freakout when a Democratic member of Congress dared to call out the president's obstructions of justice during the hearing with Corey Lewandowski Tuesday. During her questioning, Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL) drew conclusions outlined in special counsel Robert Mueller's report, but Collins proclaimed it was against the rules.
"Point of order, Mr. Chairman," Collins interrupted her opening statement.
"The gentleman will state his point of order," Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said.
"I would just ask, is the gentle lady accusing the president of a crime?" Collins asked.