Category Archives: death


This time it’s Grover Everett — on every GITAP but the first one, the high mileage champion… soft-spoken, smart & fun… run over by a driver at 71.”A car driven by
Willem D. Cohen, 22, of Pawnee, drifted onto the westbound shoulder
and struck Everett’s bicycle.”

I suspect the story is that Willem D. Cohen was doing something else and Willem D. Cohen didn’t watch as he drove off the road and ran over Grover. Any car that “drifts” onto the shoulder should be quarantined from the road, as well as the driver.


Michael Costa killed

Wide roads between businesses … cold and rainy…– Market Street is the the best but still bad way out to North of the Interstate   … life… ended.

And… update. Seems commenter thought this was unsympathetic and sanctimonious, and I remembered that … when I want to find out if something horrible happened to somebody, somewhere, extremely recently, I Google news and blogs with the name. So, it’s not the blog to talk about me.  Defending my post as “well, still reacting” — well, I posted it… and any comments should be given the same appreciation for “reacting.”

Time to ride to work.  (Sanctimonious three-sentence rant about the evils of motor vehicles removed.)

Defensive distractedness

WHen I heard that “legal issues in the news” at our public radio station was going to talk about the laws involved in Errol Maul running over Cindy and David on a clear day on an open road, my interest was piqued.   I might find out the rationalization/ rationale behind not revoking his license, since, as the law states, if you kill somebody breaking the law it “shall” be revoked.

will get you the podcast — but it’s just another exercise in distraction.   Rather than address that issue, he talks about how angry people are, and that Julia Rietz is probably relieved that there’s no negligent homicide law (which she advocated for), because given Errol Maul’s clean traffic record and lack of proof of that rather short list of “mortal sins” of recklessness or “unreasonable” driving, it wouldn’t have applied anyway.  He refers to which is where we brought up that law.

Rather than discuss the laws that do exist, he discussed why a law that doesn’t exist  and why wouldn’t apply anyway.
What about the law that does exist?
And yes, he tacitly and strongly reinforced the notion that it is asking TOO MUCH of drivers to be able to avoid large vehicles on an open road on a clear day.   The man was “just” looking down at some papers, after all.

Seems they don’t get too many comments on their “legal issues in the news” blurbs.   They got mine.     I’m a-gonna smack my little fingers and not type the snarky questiosn as to what would motivate this “lawyer”… no, slapping fingers…   I asked why he didn’t discuss the laws in effect, since to the best of my knowledge the law says the license *shall* be revoked — not “unless the driver has a reasonably clean record” or “unless it’s just acyclist.”  I suggested he might be a distracted lawyer, and that I would be ashamed if I weren’t angry when distractions cost innocent lives.

35,000 people die in this country in car wrecks every year.   It could happen to anybody.   Hey, good people, it doesn’t *have* to be that way!

Details on Maul/Combs case

This includes lots of details about just what Errol Maul said happened (he looked down at some paperwork and then the bike was in front of him and he dind’t have time to slow down or stop   — I don’t care what you were looking at, it wasn’t the road, dude) and the law about revoking his license — and then there’s this:

“A phone call to the Circuit Clerk’s office yesterday verified that they had sent the “Report of Court Disposition” to the Secretary of State, as stated on their website (Case #11TR004615 was sent on Thursday, April 20). However, there is nothing on that report that would indicate that a fatality occurred in the commission of the offenses to which Maul pled guilty.”

Who put this report together? Kindly do not PRETEND to give one whit about Cindy Comb’s life.  Just how far does your disregard go?

I *do* have sympathy for Errol Maul.   I have sympathy for many other criminals, too.   However, I don’t want to put them in the path of temptation to repeat a crime  they have proven themselves lacking the discipline to resist (especially when their stories change to protect themselves, calling into question any remorse).

David Combs update Petty offense

David Combs is out of ICU — on 7th floor — still restricted visitors.  Hopefully after some more reconstructive stuff (skin grafts & the like) and the recovery there from visitors will be welcomed… cards of course already and even if you don’t get the room right, it’ll find him…

So, it seems Errol Maul’s lawyer advised him to say he looked at the map *after* the accident.   You know, you wouldn’t want to be charged for the death you caused.

Gary Cziko notes in the comments taht the new law says if you kill somebody, it doesn’t matter what the charge was; your license should be revoked. Sounds like a good law to me, and it sounds like somebody ought to try to enforce it.   The whole “proving recklessness” part isn’t what the law says.   It doesn’t say that you have to want somebody dead.   It simply says that if your driving was bad enough to get a conviction of a charge (like, going too fast to keep from hitting something, because that law is there because going too fast to keep from hitting something could cause injury or death.  You see, the idea is that even if you *didn’t* kill somebody, you can be charged with “failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident,” because that is such dangerous behavior!   If you *did* kill somebody, you know, make them dead so she never says “I love you” to her husband again, then you have rather proven irrevocably that you could not handle the responsibility of navigating your vehicle on our public roads.

As the law states, you can plead hardship to keep your license.   If you really need it, you *should* have to ask for it.  Accepting that gosh golly shucks, sometimes you just forget what you’re doing, sorry you’re dead!  SUCKS.

Our State’s Attorney’s address:Julia RietzStates Attorney101 E MainUrbana, IL 61801

Main (217) 384-3733
Adult Diversion (217) 384-3802
Civil Division (217) 384-3832
Domestic Violence Division (217) 384-3750
Misdemeanor Division (217) 384-3813
Support Enforcement Div. (217) 384-3849
Traffic Division (217) 384-3815
Victim/Witness Services (217) 384-8625

I am hoping that civil suit wise Errol’s insurance will be paying for David’s expenses — but beyond that, the acceptance of death by car as “just fine” is just plain wrong.   The lady who was playing a facebook game when her toddler drowned int eh bathtub is doing *time* — the judge said he didn’t think she was a bad person, but she had broken the law.   It *is* against the law to kill somebody with your car (see Gary Cziko’s comment afterthe article).


… but hey, 32 is still a LOT of degrees.  Yesterday I tossed the rain pants and jacket because I knew the temp would be dropping even if it really wasn’t likely to rain (especially on ME :)), and it did… and I*hadn’t* brought gloves or socks, and I was wearing sandals on the grounds that nekkid feet dry faster.

Glad to say that the extra layers did their job and my hands were a little chilly at the start, but not for long. Took almost as long to get into work this morning – there’s something about a serious headwind that activates an attack gear, and today’s winds were enough to slow me down but not enough to activate that gear — or, I need to check the bike. Today I *did* use the extra seconds at Prospect and Church to charge through after the countdown hit zero.

Last night, I was advised to “watch those country roads!” — because of what happened to Cindy and David. THen the person asked if I knew whether it had been a case of coming over a hill blindly… um, no.   It was a case of a wide open road and not paying attention and killing somebody dead because it wasn’t worth the time to keep eyes on the road. Looking out at the empty bike rack on Mondays where that tandem SHOULD BE creates … a disruption in the Force or something.

Websites that are almost worse than not having a website at all — especially if you’re gonig to manage to send me an email to encourage me to look at yoru products — … the original link was to a cell phone holder for my handlebar, which I *would* be interested in, but if you do as half-a33ed a job on your products as done with the website, then I’m not interested.   It seems to be a website set up from a template… including “chat with us!  Except we’re not available!”

Update (Journalism isn’t dead yet)

   David Combs is still in critical care ICU, though perhaps moving to ‘less acute ICU’ if things progress.  Prayers and support appreciated

Donations to the Developmental Services Center in Cindy’s honor

can be made by calling 217-356-9176.  A link to a blog to post memories of Cindy is front and center.

DSC is an awesome place.   Let’s at least make *something* good come from this suckage.

Cards of support can be sent to:David Combs
Room 7712
611 W. Park
Urbana, IL 61801

Annie Weisner did an outstanding job researching and covering this — including an aerial photo so you can see for yourself just how incredibly wide open the line of sight is where Cindy and David were mowed down, and that yes, the driver admitted to be reading a plat map, and that there was no sign of using those funny things called brakes.    I’m afraid that the explanation that makes the most sense is that our state’s attorney is among those who do sincerely believe that bicycles don’t belong on roads (and, therefore, if you’re disabled you should simply not be so bold as to try to get out in the world — oh, of course you can!  but don’t get in OUR way!~).   I would love it if even a single utterance or action or lack of action of hers didn’t strongly support that, especially since “highly successful” people with social clout too often don’t need to ever consider such challenges.  However, she keeps on saying and doing and not doing…

Active Transport folks thought it worth mentioning, too, as did lots of people in their blogs.

Ray LaHood’s blog — it doesn’t have many comments… but of course they’re moderated.  So, perhaps if I wrote a gushy complimentary one… but I didn’t.

Dang it, when I copied the address to the blog I deleted the “copy” to what I posted.   However, it was a trimmed version of this:


Mr. LaHood,


You’re from Illinois, and you seem to care about developing an infrastructure and culture that includes vehicles other than cars. You also have often spoken of the hazards of distracted driving.


Yet, here in your home state, despite laws enacted expressly to help this, we’re going backwards.


Cindy and David Combs were a couple in town that everybody knew. She was blind; he is developmentally delayed. They used their tandem for transportation.


Monday, March 7, a driver who ‘may have been reading a map’ essentially wiped them off a wide, open road with all kinds of room for passing at 4:30 in the afternoon, and David and Cindy ride a huge tandem with more flags and reflectors and lights than Carter has pills.


Our whole community is in shock. See

and – at least that second one, to see their picture. (As I write, David is still in critical condition, back in ICU with internal injuries and broken bones.)


Yet, our state’s attorney has said that our new 3-foot law, because it includes the word “reckless,” demands “wanton and willful” recklessness. As with Matt Wilhelm, who was killed by a young lady who’d already had a string of speeding and reckless driving tickets but still had her license, and was downloading ringtones when she struck Matt with the driver’s side of the car, it looks like this will be another “petty offense” charge.


And, of course, I could add more injuries and deaths to this list.


We’re all pretty disgusted.


I can understand how in the past cases were not won with similar evidence. However, the public is now completely aware of the dangers of distracted driving.


We don’t want revenge – we know there’s no way to get the lost lives back. Still, drivers should bear ****some**** fragment of responsibility for their carnage.


We have this new law… so it seems you might get somewhere with drivers who verbally harass you as well as physically try to shove you off the road — IF you have them on film, and have an ironclad case… and of course don’t count on getting too far. (This happened last summer.)

If you’re dead, though, forget it.   That’s not “reckless.”   That’s not ‘willful and wanton.”   What is???

I looked up “reckless.”  What is cited as an example is: drives over an incline in the road, such as a railroad crossing, with the intent of making the vehicle airborne.

So.   Drive fast over RR tracks:  reckless.

Essentially, yielding to an impulse and deciding that’s more important than safety, eh?

Isn’t that ***exactly*** what distracted driving is?

But no, here in Illinois, if you drive at excessive speed with your eyes closed, essentially:    Failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. Petty offense.

Is there anything we can do ? It seems like the law was passed to make politicians look good. All your talk – can you back it up with anything?

Or… will a driver who injures somebody have the incentive to make sure their victims are dead?

Riding the egg… and funeral/cycling attire.

… Oy.   I *must* figure out how to get those Schwinn S6 (or is it S7?) tyres to sit roundly on the rim.   I rode the Racer out to work after the funeral ’cause it will get me back faster to meet about the “what are we going to do about this?” meeting.

I decided that whilst the Racer was a somber black, the retroreflective lips might just not be appropriate for parking in front of a funeral home.   I decided the Gazelle had made sense for Fritz’ funeral, since he was my path to get that bike, but that good ol’ Xtra was the best for this.   I had trouble finding clothes… and I just wasn’t brave enough to wear my heels but I think I am going to wear them around more so that that’s an option. (Right now, me walkin’ in them is still comic.)

Black tights under black sweats under my mostly black skirt worked very well.   Yes, I could have just done the dress if I were ridign the Gazelle — but it is NOT that warm outside. We were singing from rows of chairs (they had to do multiple rooms with closed circuit TV … open casket, but only her face really showing). Many Tuesday Pedaling for Pleasure regulars there.

I got to find that critical B as a second soprano and then go back and belt out a great alto Gospel thing Cindy loved.

But… I’m afraid that yes, between the inspirational words from the pastor, and the thorough explanation of the politics of the Thessalonians, it was all a tragic accident and Cindy knew the risks and had prepared herself for them… by being prepared for death.  Not word one about the responsibility humans have for *not* taking specific actions that endanger others — to think FIRST.

I hear that actually, a lawyer has had success in a case in Illinois with our new 3-foot law that should be useful here… but… so far, I don’t know if Julia Rietz has done that homework.   I would *love* to find out that she is doing the right things behind the scenes.   However, so far the doubt I’ve been trying to give her the benefit of has been shrinking, shrinking.


… for those of you who knew her… or know somebody who did and want to forward…

I got an email from our Parkland Chorus director this morning.  Parkland Pops is the other group Cindy sang with; it is folks from DSC.  She says:

FYI – I talked with Developmental Services this morning (Thursday).  Cindy’s memorial service arrangements are still pending.

There is a Parkland POPS concert in the Parkland Theatre at 1:00 on Sunday, March 13.  They will sing 6 pieces.  Then (around 1:30) Brian Hagy (Director of POPS) will invite singers to the stage to join in singing “Amazing Grace”.    After the concert and tribute, there will be cookies and juice in C-Wing.  This will provide a time and place for people to talk with each other and share memories of Cindy.