Deputy who fatally hit bicyclist while texting will not face charges

National/World News

A ghost bike was set up in honor of Milton Olin, an attorney who was fatally struck by a sheriff’s deputy’s patrol car in Calabasas, Calif., on Dec. 8, 2013.

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LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy who was texting and typing on a laptop seconds before his patrol car struck a 65-year-old bicyclist will not face any criminal charges, officials said this week.

The deputy’s actions, authorities said, cannot be proved negligent because he was answering a work-related message, KTLA reported.

The collision, which occurred on Dec. 8, 2013, killed Milton Olin, a prominent entertainment attorney. Olin was well-known from time he spent as an executive with the music sharing service Napster. The case garnered widespread attention among bicyclists and prompted a civil lawsuit from his family.

Deputy Andrew Wood did not brake before hitting Olin, according to court documents. He was texting with his wife less than one minute prior to the collision, but police determined that he was communicating with another deputy via his in-car work laptop at the time of the crash. This distinction means no crime can be proven, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Wood initially reported that Olin swerved out of the bike lane and into traffic, but that was later determined not to be true, according to Deputy District Attorney Rosa Alarcon.

California’s prohibition on texting or making calls on handheld cellphones while driving does not apply to emergency services personnel “operating an authorized emergency vehicle … in the course and scope of his or her duties,” according to state law.


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