Orange, CA uses GoPro video, seizes cars in bike crash investigation

This is kind of incredible.

GoPro "Be a Hero" logo

It all began last December when 22-year-old David Collin Berry of Huntington Beach, CA was just driving along in his Mustang GT 5.0 when he collided with cyclist Alan Lee Darnell. According to Berry, he was driving at only 25 MPH when the cyclist swerved directly in front of him. Berry stayed at the scene, cooperated with the crash investigation, and police said the guy on the bike was at fault.

But then something unusual happened. City of Orange police investigated this collision in more detail. It turns out Berry was on a “cruise” with other fast car enthusiasts. Police confiscated 16 cars, and found a GoPro in one of the cars with footage of the crash between the Mustang and the bike rider. At the time of the crash, Berry claimed he was going only 25 MPH. Police, naturally, believed him at the time. The GoPro footage, however, shows Berry was moving at around 50 MPH when the Darnell, the cyclist, signaled a left turn and changed lanes to move over to the left turn lane.

Berry slowed and swerved to avoid Darnell but still hit him, resulting in a broken right clavicle, a broken finger on his left hand, and lacerations and contusions for Darnell.

We’ve been told for years that police can’t use GoPro video evidence for what they consider “minor” traffic violations, including injury collisions where the cyclist is apparently at fault. I’m glad to see the city of Orange challenging this assumption, and the Orange County DA agreeing with it so far. No charges have been filed yet, so perhaps Orange County residents should encourage the attorney’s office to pursue it in the name of public safety.

The story in the Orange County Register seems at least a little sympathetic to the street racers creating the danger for SoCal residents, which points out that one of the street “cruisers” could potentially lose his real estate license of he’s convicted of street racing (a misdemeanor). If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

Via Biking In LA in his daily stories about bikes.

3 Comments

  • June 23, 2016 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Have to wonder if this is about protecting bicyclists or going after Cruisers.

  • June 23, 2016 - 8:32 pm | Permalink

    This is good news, though even when a GoPro isn’t available, there are forensics that could be used to determine the speed. They call it “accident reconstruction.”

  • ]muguello[
    June 24, 2016 - 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Statements from involved parts should only be considered truthful if backed by physical evidence. It is nice that they used GoPro evidence to contradict the driver, but it would have been even nicer if they had done proper forensics…

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