Driver Sentenced to Six Months in Jail for Negligent Homicide Following Death of Bicyclist in Laguna
A 58-year-old motorist was sentenced to six months in jail in connection with the death of a 19-year-old bicyclist more than two years ago in Laguna. Gilbert Waconda allegedly struck the bicyclist with his sport utility vehicle as he rode on New Mexico State Road 124 in June 2010. The deceased bicyclist was reportedly on a cross country journey along Old Route 66 with three friends in an effort to raise money for charity.
According to Chief Prosecutor Dave Adams, there was no evidence that Waconda was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the fatal crash. Still, Adams alleged that Waconda was driving on the shoulder of the roadway when the wreck occurred and that his conduct was reckless. Although the motorist reportedly pleaded guilty to misdemeanor negligent homicide as part of a negotiated agreement, a Laguna Pueblo judge handed down the maximum possible jail sentence and ordered Waconda to perform 600 hours of community service.
Whether you are riding a bicycle, traveling in a motor vehicle, or merely walking on a sidewalk, an unexpected accident with a reckless or inattentive motorist can occur at any time. Section 66-3-702 of New Mexico's Motor Vehicle Code requires that all bicyclists who are riding on a roadway in our state be afforded the same rights as automobiles. Unfortunately, too many drivers ignore this requirement. Sadly, a bicyclist may sustain serious and disabling injuries as a result of a crash with a vehicle. If you were hurt by careless motorist while traveling on your bicycle or in your car, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. If you tragically lost a loved one in such a crash, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim against the driver who caused the wreck. A skilled bicycle accident attorney can explain your rights in more detail.