In March 2004, cyclist Gary Arnold of Plano was struck from behind by a motorist while cycling with a friend. The next day, on March 7, Gary died as a result of the injuries suffered.
The motorist has a degenerative eye disease which has rendered her partially blind, and she was operating the motor vehicle without a license. Still, the Collin County judge presiding over the case this month has demonstrated leniency toward the defendant. Such leniency is potentially damaging to the cycling community because it further marginalizes the safety of cyclists. This situation contributes to the growing precedent of inappropriate consequences for a motorist injuring a cyclist.
After hearing testimony from the final witness, Judge Betty Caton took no time to deliberate before declaring Ms. Isom, the motorist, guilty of negligent manslaughter, the lesser charge. The verdict carries a potential sentence of a 180-day to two-year prison term or merely probation. The judge found Ms. Isom not guilty of reckless manslaughter with a deadly weapon, a more serious charge with a two- to 20-year prison term and no possibility of parole.
Sentencing will take place Thursday, October 27 at 1:30pm at the Collin County Courthouse at 210 South McDonald Street in McKinney. Cyclists are encouraged to attend the sentencing hearing to show support for the Arnold family.