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                                               Brother Larry Ritchey                      " Free Spirit " Artist: Jillane Curreen

 When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support,  to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are.  They are there for the reason you need them to be.  Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.  Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.  Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.  What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done.  The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.  

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Woman charged in crash that crippled motorcyclist-Driver claims distraction before impact with bike

Associated Press - August 23, 2007 7:05 AM ET

RUTLAND (AP) - A woman who crashed her car into a motorcyclist when she took her eyes off the road to deal with a dog in her car is now charged with a felony.

Twenty-1-year-old Ashley L- Ellis, of West Rutland, pleaded innocent Monday to grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle with serious injury resulting in the July 14th crash, which left motorcyclist Scott Allen, 43, of Mount Tabor, a paraplegic.

Police say Ellis, whose car didn't have insurance, was stopped and issued a ticket earlier that day, forcing her to have the vehicle towed back to her home. That was three hours before the crash.

The charge against her says she had four loose dogs in her car and failed to maintain control of the Jeep Cherokee, slamming into the motorcycle in front of her as it slowed down to make a turn.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Driver claims distraction before impact with bike

August 23, 2007

By Alan J. Keays Herald Staff

A West Rutland woman, who allegedly had been trying to restrain a dog in her vehicle last month when she took her eyes off the road and struck a motorcyclist, injuring him and leaving him a paraplegic, is now facing a felony charge in connection with the crash.

Police said Ashley L. Ellis, 21, of Crossman Lane, also did not have car insurance at the time of the crash, and was stopped earlier that morning by police, issued a ticket, and had her vehicle towed back to her home but then drove again, striking the motorcyclist less than three hours later.

Ellis pleaded innocent Monday in Rutland District Court to the felony charge of grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle with serious injury resulting in connection with the crash July 14. She was released after posting a required 10 percent of her $10,000 bail.

Scott Allen, 43, of Mount Tabor, the motorcyclist, remains in the therapeutic section of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, suffering from "catastrophic" injuries, Rutland State's Attorney James Mongeon said in court. There is no timetable for Allen's release.

Allen suffered several broken bones in the crash as well as internal injuries.

"Surgeons advised that Scott would be a paraplegic for the rest of his life as a result of the spinal injury caused by the crash," Vermont State Police Trooper Steven Coote wrote in an affidavit filed Monday in the case.

The charge against Ellis alleges that she drove her vehicle with four loose dogs in it and "failed to maintain proper control of the vehicle," colliding with the motorcycle that had slowed down in front of her, court records stated.

Mark Kay Lanthier, Ellis' public defender, said in court that her client has cooperated with the police investigation.

"This is clearly a horrific accident," Lanthier said. "This was not a situation where drugs or alcohol is involved."

The public defender also said that there was no evidence her client was speeding, adding that the state may have a difficult time proving "gross" negligent rather than "simple" negligence, which would make the offense a misdemeanor.

Mongeon countered that the evidence of gross negligent appeared strong.

"Ms. Ellis had been previously stopped that very morning for not having insurance," the prosecutor said. "Her vehicle was towed to her residence. She then drove the vehicle when this crash occurred."

Police said shortly after noon on July 14, Ellis was driving a 1998 Jeep Cherokee east on Route 4A in Center Rutland behind Allen, who was driving a 2007 Yamaha motorcycle.

Police said both vehicles were heading east in the passing lane of Business Route 4A when Allen began to slow down on his motorcycle, preparing to make a left turn from Business Route 4A onto the West Proctor Road.

Police said Ellis reported she did not see the motorcycle slowing down in front of her to make the left turn, and she struck the rear of the motorcycle.

Police said after Ellis struck the motorcycle, Allen was thrown onto the hood of Ellis' vehicle. Police said Ellis swerved to the right, causing Allen to fall from the hood onto the pavement.

Police said passing motorists came to Scott's aid, providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and he was then rushed by ambulance to Rutland Regional Medical Center. He was later transferred to Massachusetts General.

Ellis told police that on the day of the crash she was heading to Dunkin' Donuts and her grandmother's home in Rutland. She said she was traveling about 35 mph to 40 mph at the time.

"As I was traveling, my dog came up to the front seat, I reach with my right hand to get her off," her police statement read. "I did not see the gentleman at all. I felt an impact of something hitting my vehicle and looked up to see him hit my hood and fall to the left-hand side."

Ellis added that she also swerved to the right.

"I went to put my brake on but couldn't see so I pushed the gas on accident then found the brake and stopped about 50-70 yards," her statement read.

Witnesses told police that Ellis and the motorcycle were both operating at a "reasonable" speed prior to the collision.

It was not Ellis' first brush with the law on the day of the crash.

At about 9:15 a.m. on Route 4A in Castleton she was stopped by a Castleton Police officer for speeding, driving 47 mph in a 30 mph, court records filed Monday stated. The officer also discovered that Ellis did not have car insurance.

Ellis was ticketed and her vehicle was towed from the scene of the stop to her home in West Rutland, court records stated.

"Therefore, evidence shows that Ellis continued to operate her motor vehicle on a public highway without valid insurance on the day of the crash, after being stopped and ticketed for the offense earlier in the morning," Coote wrote in affidavit.

If convicted of the felony offense, Ellis faces up to 15 years in prison.

Contact Alan J. Keays

Driver distracted by dog in wreck that crippled motorcyclist
August 23, 2007

RUTLAND, Vt. --A woman has been charged with felony gross negligent operation of a motor vehicle for a July 14 accident that occurred as she tried to restrain one of the four dogs in her vehicle.

Ashley L. Ellis, 21, of West Rutland, was distracted by the dog as she drove a Jeep Cherokee on Route 4A and rear-ended the motorcycle when it slowed down to make a turn, police said.

"As I was traveling, my dog came up to the front seat, I reach with my right hand to get her off," she told police. "I did not see the gentleman at all. I felt an impact of something hitting my vehicle and looked up to see him hit my hood and fall to the left-hand side."

Scott Allen, 43, of Mount Tabor, suffered broken bones and a spinal cord injury that rendered him a paraplegic. He remains hospitalized at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, suffering from what State's Attorney James Mongeon said were "catastrophic" injuries.

"This is clearly a horrific accident," said Mark Kay Lanthier, the woman's public defender. "This was not a situation where drugs or alcohol is involved," nor was Ellis speeding, she said.

But she had been ticketed three hours earlier for driving without insurance after being stopped in nearby Castleton for going 47 mph in a 30 mph zone, according to court records. The vehicle was towed from the scene to her home.

In a court appearance Monday, Ellis pleaded innocent grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle with serious injury and was released after posting $10,000 bail.

I am fed up with the walk in the park attitude

----- Original Message -----
From: Garry Van Kirk
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 6:19 AM
Subject: Ashley Ellis-Driver claims distraction before impact with bike

Alan J. Keays

I am a concerned Biker with the care and support of my fellow brothers and sisters who ride and have been involved in a catastrophic motorcycle accident. I am fed-up with the legal process ineffectively giving distracted drivers their due fines and penalties for their crimes
they commit.

In this case of Ashley Ellis claiming her driving behavior is due from,( " Driver claims distraction before impact with bike " ),dogs distracting her as though it was just a walk in the park, claiming her innocents, is a slap in the face to every victim, motorcycle rider, that has been involved in a catastrophic auto accident caused by a distracted driver.

100-Car Naturalistic Study

Fact Sheet


Driver Inattention:

Nearly 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of all near-crashes involved driver inattention (due to distraction, fatigue, or just looking away) just prior to (i.e., within 3 seconds) the onset of the conflict.

Study Sponsors:

National Highway Traffic Safety, Administration (NHTSA), Virginia Department of Transportation, (VDOT), Virginia Transportation Research

Council (VTRC), Virginia Tech (VT)

As a concerned, Biker, I present this to your attention and to the driving public that it is time to realize that distracted driving and auto, motorcycle, accidents do not mix any longer on the streets of this United States. The Band-Aid mentality, as Ms Ashley Ellis puts it in her statements, and the motorcycle helmet supporters making premature solutions to the actual cause of accidents is appalling and a disgrace, The lack of respect for every motorcycle accident victim, as a Amputee, Paraplegic, Traumatic Brain Injury, Blunt Force Trauma is evident with these attitudes.

I challenge the NTSB to come forward with-out any Band-Aid solution to their findings concerning motorcycle accidents and their victims.

" Washington, DC -- The National Transportation Safety Board
will hold a public Board meeting on September 11, 2007 at
9:30 a.m. in its Board Room and Conference Center 429
L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Washington, DC.

Two items are on the agenda:

Motorcycle Safety: The Board will discuss draft recommendations that resulted from the NTSB Public Forum on Motorcycle Safety that occurred on September 12-13, 2006. During the forum, the Safety Board gathered information on ongoing motorcycle research and initiatives, as well as countermeasures that may reduce the likelihood of motorcycle accidents and fatalities. The meeting included participants representing government, motorcycle manufacturers, motorcyclist associations, state motorcycle rights organizations, trauma physicians, law enforcement, and insurance companies. Contact: Terry N. Williams (202) 314-6100 "

I addition, I am fed up with the walk in the park attitude from distracted drivers using their cell phones, and alike entertainment while driving as is the:

"Center for Auto Safety (CAS)

January 21, 2007


Dear Ms. Nason:

The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) petitions the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to take action to restrict the availability of two-way communication features through in-vehicle telematic systems while a vehicle is in motion. The purpose of this petition is to make the driving environment safer by reducing the availability of devices that have been proven to be traffic hazards.According to NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson, “Our recommendation is that you should not talk on the phone while driving, whether it’s a hand-held or hands-free device.”1 It is time for NHTSA to put the results of extensive research and its own recommendation into action." .

I assure the driving public, that I, like most bikers, will be watching this case concerning Ms Ashley Ellis.

Thank you for reading my concerns in this very important matter.
With greatest respects

Garry Van Kirk
Bikers Accident Survivor Forum
Bullhead City, Arizona