Monday, November 21, 2005

Rants, raves and the chill of reality

It's not often that I'll use my lunch hour to type up an entry for this blog. First of all, it is my break during a hectic day to mentally relax. Also, although it may not show with various typo's and missing words, I do like to take my time on the additions to Biker Diaries.

Today is different and I'll move appointments if it's needed to get this to look like it should and have all the thoughts needed.

And we can thank the arrogance and stupidity of Daniel Rodriguez Mendoza for this compelling drive to have this up and as soon as possible.

You see he's a young, illegal immigrant with no driving license that inflicted serious injuries on two bikers and killed a rider. This is all incredibly tragic on it's own but made so much worse when you find out this was his fifth traffic violation.

And he doesn't even have a license!

According to the Sun-Sentinel he pulled a U-turn on Sept. 25 and stopped his Chevrolet Blazer in the middle of Military Trail west of Lantana, Florida to look for his cell phone on the road causing two motorcycles to slam into the back of his vehicle, leaving one person dead and two others seriously injured.

Pierre Nadeau's right foot was nearly severed in the crash, Steve Dahmer suffered a broken pelvis, femur and other injuries and Kimberly Jo Dahmer was thrown from the back of her husband's Harley-Davidson motorcycle after it rear-ended Rodriguez Mendoza's 1988 Blazer.

The driver, Rodriguez Mendoza, 21, began his saga in May 2003, when court records show Lantana police cited him for driving 61 mph in a 35 mph zone and not having a license. By his fifth citation for driving without a license, he had given police three names, including Daniel Rodriguez and Roberto Rodriguez, court and arrest records show. The undocumented immigrant pleaded guilty to a crash that caused $2,000 in damage, was cited in another case for driving the wrong way on Lantana Road and was cited for improperly backing up in another crash that caused $600 damage and minor injuries to another person, court records show. In that case, Rodriguez Mendoza failed to appear for his arraignment and a judge issued an arrest warrant.

The scariest notion in this case is no matter how many times he would've been caught driving without a license in the State of Florida it's only a misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail.

"You can get 50 of those charges and it's never anything more than at second-degree misdemeanor," local County Judge Cory Ciklin said. "With no license, it's pretty much a blank check. You can do it as often as you want and there are no repercussions."

Although Dahmer and Nadeau were both charged last week with driving under the influence during the crash, witnesses told investigators there was no way the impact could have been avoided, a prosecution spokesman said. It's not known if any of the riders were wearing helmets.

There are so many things wrong with this story and unfortunately it's from all parties involved.

Rodriguez Mendoza has the arrogance to think that he has the right to live and work here illegally, drive without a license and then effectively thumb his nose at the system when caught. His stupidity is not only with his lack of experience in operating a vehicle, but if you were on such shaky legal ground wouldn't you make sure you drove carefully and according to the law?

The riders shouldn't have been drinking and riding. Crashing into the back of a vehicle is never a good indication of your situational awareness, although witnesses did say there was no way they could've avoided the accident.

The article doesn't say which country Mr. Mendoza is from, nor does it say if the bikers were wearing helmets. I have heard from talking about this story at work that the accident occurred on Steve Dahmer's birthday and he didn't know until he awoke in the hospital that his wife had died.

It doesn't look like Rodriguez Mendoza will be able to get out of this mess very easily. He's held without bail and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

At the end of the day
What can the law take away from this?
- There has to be a way to catch illegal immigrants during traffic stops.
- No drivers license equals jail time. Pure and simple.

Every rider who reads this story needs to take away the following lessons.
-Don't drink and ride.
-Always watch everything around and have some idea of where you can go if a vehicle does something stupid around you.
- Be careful!

This happened in sunny South Florida where people come to play on South Beach and others migrate from the northern states to enjoy our gentle winter weather. As much as it feels like paradise, it also feels like the remenants of the old west with laws lacking and the ones we do have not enforced. It also stems from the attitude. On the same webpage as the above story there was report about a Federal search warrant that uncovered automatic weapons, including some with the serial numbers erased, an improperly registered silencer and a false passport.

All the attorney of the arrested man could say was, "(My client) has not violated the laws of this country!"

Alrighty then.

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