James Laing, 46, Killed by Stephanie Segal, yet another Hit & Run DUI Driver

By Mihai Peteu

Lulu Laing, widow of James Laing

Lulu Laing, widow of James Laing (photo by Hans Gutknecht, Daily News)

Last Saturday, James Laing went out for a ride.  S.D. Whitmansegal, aka Stephanie Segal, 44, of Woodland Hills, is the sole reason why he never made it back home to his wife.  The rest of the heartbreaking story is in the Daily News.

She was driving drunk, and it was a hit and run.  Does that sound familiar yet?

According to Danny Jimenez’s (DJ Wheels) comment on BikingInLA , she posted bail at 2:30am later that same day.  So she’s free to walk for now.  According to the LASD Inmate Locator (search for Segal, Stephanie), she was booked by CHP, and released after 5 hours; court date has not been set.

Sometimes I will be writing unbiased articles that state the facts.  This is not one of those articles.

What the fuck is going on here?  Isn’t a civilized society supposed to protect its people?  Aren’t we all tired of seeing ignorant comments about “why was he even in the street in the first place”?

If you ride a bike and you think you’re safe, you’re not.  It can happen to any of us, no matter what streets or precautions  we take.

So start getting involved because we’re all an endangered species in this ass-backwards place known as Southern California.

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9 Responses to “James Laing, 46, Killed by Stephanie Segal, yet another Hit & Run DUI Driver”

  1. Thanks for covering this, as well as your great coverage of Danny Marin, Mihai. And trust me, I share every bit of your anger.

    I’ve gotten word that there will be a memorial ride for James Laing on Saturday the 20th. Details are still being firmed up, so more information later.

  2. How long do we have to accept this kind of brutality. People in cars kill and injure more people per year than have been killed in Mexico since the start of their ‘drug war’. So many lives are ruined by our necessity to commute in cars that we have lost our sense of humanity. We accept these deaths as a necessary evil and an infringement on our freedoms if we are not aloud to drive freely with very little consequences. As a biker it breaks my heart to read about such a needless death of a contributing member of society at the hands of such an ‘idiot’ to put it lightly. I can only hope justice will be done. But, in reality I know that she will serve no more than 2-3 years for vehicular manslaughter when in reality the driver should be convicted for nothing less than murder. RIP my fellow biker.

  3. My interest in the story is because I happened to be by the scene that day & noticed some Sheriffs activity. I saw a silver Mercedes w/ dents on the front passenger side on a flatbed truck. Then I saw a white sheet on the ground covering what appeared to be a body. I had no idea what had happened & didn’t want to immediately acknowledge that a death had occurred. When I got home I googled & found out what had happened. Such a tragedy. Then I found out that a relative had met James’ wife Lulu only a month before. This injustice just hits way too close to home. My condolences to Lulu & James’ family & friends

  4. I’m Lulu Laing, Jim’s wife. Ever since Oct.23, my life has totally changed. Jim made me the happiest wife on earth. Now I became the most miserable women on earth! What happened? The following is an article I wrote for my dear Jim.
    To my dear husband-Jim
    Lulu Laing
    I always think I was born to live for love. The love is for the man I love. I could give up everything just for the man I love. That’s why I gave up my tenure full professorship at Osaka Sangyo University in order to live with my dear Jim in Los Angeles. My relatives and friends couldn’t understand me. They thought I was crazy. At Pierce College when I teach my first class of economics for each semester, I would always tell my students about how a happy economist like me makes her decisions. An economist makes decisions based on benefits and costs, while a non-economist is based on either benefits or cost. I quit my tenure full professorship at Osaka Sangyo University with a six figure income ( I gave them an assumptive $130,000). Well, this is on the cost side. I will tell them I only teach part-time at Pierce College. I gave them an assumptive number of $40,000. Then I would ask them “Do you think I’m crazy?” They would nod their heads. I said “well, if I’m really crazy, then I shouldn’t be standing here teaching you.” I told them “besides my salary, my benefits include wonderful friends, wonderful students like you guys (they would smile with satisfaction), beautiful blue sky and puffy clouds, and my beloved dear husband. Now can you give me a number about the benefits? “ Some would say $140,000, some would say $200,000….I told them my answer is ∞(infinity), because the benefits cannot be measured by any numerical numbers. I would then ask them “now do you still think I’m crazy?” They would shake their heads. So my students know how happy I was and how much I love my dear husband.
    Jim and I have been super happily married for 13 years. My friends all know we are the two happiest loving birds on earth. On October 23, 2010, our perfect loving life was destroyed at 3:45 p.m. Saturday when my 46-year-old dearest husband was hit by a drunken driver as he was pedaling along Agoura Road. In the morning of that day, I was going to a once-in-a-year event with my friends. When I left home, my dear Jim came out of the house to see me off as he would always do. He kissed me on the cheeks and said “ Have a good time, baby (I love to be called baby by him) ! Today I’m going to have a long ride. So please don’t worry about me if I am not at home when you come back.” As my red car was rolling down the driveway, he waved his hands, watching me with loving smile on his face until I could no longer see him any more. Who on earth would know that was my last look at my dearest Jim!
    From the bottom of my heart, I didn’t want him to do cycling. But he loved cycling so much and I had to respect him. That day, I didn’t see him off. Usually, I see him off and offer a blessing – a prayer that says please come home safe.
    I love this man so much. He is the most wonderful man in the world. A wonderful husband. A wonderful son. A wonderful brother.
    When I rushed back home from the event, I didn’t see Jim. But I remembered what he had said to me when I left. So I didn’t feel too bad. I even called my friend Louise about how wonderful the event was. I met many famous artists and I almost got to buy one beautiful painting which I saw how it was finished before me by a great artist. Unfortunately that one was bought while I was wondering from one artist’s stand to another. I was so excited about the event and couldn’t wait to tell Jim in every detail about it.
    I prepared Jim’s favorite chicken dish for dinner and waited for him to return. I became increasingly worried as it got dark. I tried his cell phone, but the call didn’t go through. I called Jim’s mother. She was worried and asked me to call her immediately if Jim came back.
    Then came the call from a CHP officer. She said, “Are you Jim Laing’s friend?” I replied in an anxious voice, “No, this is Jim’s wife! What happened to my husband?” She told me calmly, “I’m sorry. Your husband didn’t survive.” I simply couldn’t believe my ears, as if I was hit by a sudden lightening on a sunny day. I started screaming “Oh,no! No! No!Jim! Jim! Jim! Please don’t go! I love you so much!…” My hands were trembling, my heart seemed to stop beating, and things were getting blurry with hundreds of little stars jumping in front of my eyes. The officer was still talking, but I couldn’t hear a word. I told her I had to hang up. She asked me not to do that, because she wanted to know my address. I told her the address and I dropped the phone in total despair. I dialed the number to Jim’s Mother and told her about the catastrophic news. She burst into tears instantly and told me she would come to me right away…
    I then called my friend Nelson, a retired kernel from Taiwan. Immediately my living room was full of friends trying to save me from this catastrophic disaster hitting my body and soul so hard that I felt I was going to die. I screamed, screamed and screamed. My friends didn’t know what to do about me. Nobody could stop me. In my utter sorrow, I called my dear parents in Beijing. My mother on the other side was calling my name, “Xiao Qun! Xiao Qun! You cannot die. If you die, I’ll die,too!” I’m the baby of my family with two elder sisters and on elder brother who always love me and took good care of me during my childhood. I’m my parents’, especially mother’s favorite. I always know how to make her happy, and I always feel very happy for the fact that I’m able to do that. Even now I would call my parents every other day. Each time when I am on the phone, we seem to have endless topics to talk about. My parents know every detail about my life here. After about 4 hours’ screaming, I suddenly stopped, and I asked my friends to be quiet. Even though he was away from me physically, I felt him in my heart. And I heard him tell me”`Baby, be strong, I love you! I’ll be waiting for you!”
    I have to be strong for my beloved Jim. I’ve been busy doing things that I’m sure Jim would love me to do. I went back to teach at Pierce College three day after the terrible accident. After they found out what happened to me three days ago, my students cried. One of the students came up to the front to give me a hug. I could see those lovely young lives grow a lot within just one class time-1:25minutes. That day I taught three classes. I want to touch more lives and I want to show those who have lost their beloved ones that the best way to express our sorrow is to be strong and carry on with a meaningful life which leads to a wider world full of friendship and love.
    I have so much to do for Jim. I’m arranging for the Memorial Service for Jim which is scheduled to be on Nov.20 (Saturday). I’m waiting for the answer from Pierce College(my workplace) and California Lutheran University (Jim’s workplace).Today I’m going to meet Jim’s students at CLU. My college is going to interview me on 11/8. I am invited to a radio station to give an on-air talk about Jim between 3:00-4:00pm on 11/17. I’ve already recorded 18 hours of contents for a book which will be written both in English and Chinese. As my friends know, I was a person who just cared about my private life with my loving husband Jim, for whom I quit my six-figure income tenured full professorship/Ph.D supervisor position at Osaka Sangyo University(I was known as Luqun there) in Japan. When I was in Japan, NHK(the Japanese gov.TV station) invited me to participate in a TV program called “Successful Foreign Women in Japan” . I declined without hesitation, because I didn’t want to be famous at all. However, now I was pushed to the front by Jim’s sudden death. My dearest Jim will not die in vain. I love you, Jim! And I miss you, Jim!

  5. I read Lulu’s note and couldn’t keep it together. As a new cyclist – only a year into the sport, I’m passionate about it and do it every week knowing the dangers. What a tragedy…and Lulu – your spirit is incredible. My heart is broken for you, and I sincerely hope you mend as quickly as possible and always keep Jim in your thoughts and heart.

  6. Mrs. Laing, I am so sorry for what has happened to your husband. I say a prayer for you, your family and Jim’s family often…for peace and comfort for all of you. You, and his family, are brave people and I hope you begin to heal quickly. We are here but a short time and will be reunited with our loved ones in time. I didn’t know Jim or any of his family or friends. I work near the sherrif’s station and I happened to go in on Saturday Oct. 23rd. On my way home, I had noticed a woman standing by a biker laying on the ground and I knew immediately what had happened. There were no sherrif’s officers, police or paramedics there when I stopped to help but they showed up shortly after. I want you to know that there were many people around Jim willing to help in any way. Everyone was very concerned for him and a young lady was already on the phone with a 911 operator before I stopped. Your husband was not left there alone and there were many people who cared enough to stop for him. This tradgedy has affected me greatly…even though I don’t know you or your family. I have stopped at his memorial to pay my respects to Jim and I want to learn more about him and his family. I support you through this and I want justice to be served for Jim, for you, for his family, his brothers and sisters, nephews….and for our community. I support enforcing tougher penalties on drunk drivers. This has changed my life forever and I want our society to be more respectful of everyone’s safety. I say to our elected law makers…how many people have to suffer at the hands of drunk drivers? Any time I see a drunk driver, I report them immediately to the authorities. If I could, I would love to attend Jim’s memorial service but I will not be able to that day. The person who caused this has affected everyone who stopped to try and help Jim that day. The drunk who did not stop and and help caused me to temporarily lose faith in a safe society. The memorial for Jim, by the Lost Hills sherrif’s station, is very touching and it tells me how much he is loved by you and his family. I am so sorry for your pain and suffering. I commend all the people who have supported tougher laws against drunk drivers….I pray for all of the family members who have lost a loved one to a drunk driver. It has helped me to see that cross and the flowers and all the biker’s who have left water bottles at his memorial….that has helped me to see that people are good and care for one another. There are good people out there who want a safe society and who respect other’s by acting responsibly. Mrs. Laing…I pay my respects to you, your family, Jim’s family and to Jim. My prayers are with you all for comfort and healing.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Breaking News — Charges filed against Stephanie Segal in the death of cyclist James Laing « BikingInLA - February 1st, 2011

    [...] with a number of other cyclists, I’ve been carefully following the case of Stephanie Segal, the driver accused of killing [...]

  2. Cyclist killed in Indio area, suspected Jim Swarzman killer released, Marco Antonio Valencia on trial « BikingInLA - April 15th, 2011

    [...] scheduled for May 11th in the case of Stephanie Segal, charged in the drunken hit-and-run death of cyclist James Laing in Agoura Hills last [...]

  3. Legal update: DUI driver arraigned for injuring Adam Rybicki, Valencia sentencing tomorrow « BikingInLA - May 25th, 2011

    [...] Drew Segal:  Segal is charged with the hit-and-run DUI death of cyclist James Laing in Agoura last year (notice a theme here?). She allegedly plowed into Laing after leaving a local [...]

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