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In memory of our friend, Alan Deane

Posted by Colin Bogart on Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Alan Deane was a passionate environmentalist and activist. He lived his beliefs, and preferred to ride his bike rather than drive. In September of 2011, Alan was intentionally living houseless - sleeping in his car at night - a choice he had made to save money and live more simply. A talented musician, inquisitive mind, and friend to many, he was an active supporter of and volunteer for numerous advocacy groups, including CICLE, LACBC, BikeSGV (now ActiveSGV), and Walk Bike Glendale.

While riding his bike to KPCC to attend a live event (as he often did), Alan’s life was cut short by a driver who turned left immediately in front of him at Colorado Blvd. and Terrace Drive. It was Alan’s 61st birthday: September 22, 2011.

It was initially reported that Alan might have been riding on the sidewalk, surprising the driver when he rode into the street (across Terrace Drive). However, video footage from the car dealership across the street from the crash site showed that Alan had done nothing wrong. The footage contradicted statements made by the driver about his own actions, as well as Alan’s. This prompted the District Attorney to charge the driver for Vehicular Manslaughter.

The driver, Siddhartha Misra, was eventually sentenced for Reckless Driving when he took a plea bargain from the original Vehicular Manslaughter charge. When Misra was sentenced in November of 2012, Judge Steven Monette gave Misra 3 years of probation, 10 days of community labor, 400 hours of community service, and $4000 in restitution and other fines. At no point was Misra’s license suspended (not even temporarily), despite this request from Alan’s father. In his final statements, Judge Monette told Alan’s family and friends that nothing would bring Alan back - completely missing the point that Misra was being allowed to continue driving a motor vehicle despite being convicted of Reckless Driving.

It’s unlikely that anyone wanted a sentence with jail time. Jail is a terrible place, and would have done nothing to redeem Misra. However, when the court declined to even temporarily revoke Misra’s driving privileges despite evidence that this privilege had been misused, our court system perversely failed to protect society – those of us who continue to walk, bike, or drive on the same streets as people who drive dangerously.

When the court declined to even temporarily revoke Misra's driving privileges despite evidence that this privilege had been misused, our court system perversely failed to protect society.

Ultimately, Alan’s death was one of several deaths that prompted the formation of Pasadena CSC. KPCC posted a lovely recollection of Alan shortly after his death that can still be read or streamed here.

We want people to be held appropriately accountable when they cause fatal or serious collisions. We also want systemic changes in the form of proven infrastructural interventions that can reduce speeds, the severity of collisions, and save lives, because we recognize that our present car-first infrastructure and weak legal penalties promote unsafe driving. We want everyone to feel safe and valued, no matter how they choose to get around.

Join us at 7:00 pm on Sunday, September 22, 2019 at Colorado & Terrace Drive as we hold a memorial service for Alan. RSVPs not required.

Tags: memorials, why we work

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