UPDATE: Video, Christine Dahab blew a .07, LAPD preliminarily blame cyclists

(there is a ride to visit and support the victims – the Justice Ride.  It meets at Media Park AKA CRANK MOB Park in Culver City, which is at the corner of Venice Bl and Canfield.  2:30pm to 5:30pm tomorrow, Friday.  I’m sure there will be rides to come, but if you can make it out tomorrow (Friday), please do.  Facebook invite.)

UPDATE: two victims had surgery last night.  Separately, one victim is in a medically induced coma with severe head trauma.  A fourth victim cannot be found – no one knows her full name and law enforcement does not know what hospital she was taken too.

I went to the Cyclist LAPD Task Force this afternoon where Captain Kelly Mulldorfer, head of LAPD’s West Traffic Bureau, and Detective Jimmy Render briefed us on what LAPD knows about the vile collision in Culver City Wednesday night.  By all reports Christine Dahab hit and injured at least 11 cyclists who were on the Kushtown ride.  Several cyclists were in critical condition today, and several had surgery.

The most interesting details to me were 1) Dahab blew a .07 blood alcohol level at the station, and 2) LAPD stated, preliminarily, they believe the Primary Collision Factor (PCF) was “pedestrians in the roadway.”  This latter portion only sunk in with me later, as I was late to the meeting, but it is a huge mistake and I think it demonstrates something of a bias in favor of motorists.

Before I mention some further details, CoolAssMike of 1000Bikes.org went to Dana “Dirtysouth”s hospital room and inteviewed her. Dana was hit hard by Dahab last night, and broke both legs.  Needless to say they had her on a morphine drip during the video, so cut her some slack:

I’m tired as hell, so here’s some key details:

  • Dahab blew .08 in an initial test, and later blew a .07 at the station.
  • LAPD is preliminarily saying that the primary cause of the collision is “pedestrians in the roadway”
  • Dahab, according to LAPD, has pristine driving record
  • Culver City PD will be taking over the case in the next few days.  The collision took place in Culver City near the border with LA, but in the dead of night, no one was sure whose jurisdiction it was in.  Living in this area, I can believe that because the Culver City borders are crazy and convoluted.
  • The assertion that Dahab came around a blind curve is a mountain of bullshit.  Jefferson gently curves in that area.  But it’s not a blind curve unless you’re driving 70 mph or you’re blind drunk.  It is however a stretch of road that is mostly traffic light free, and motorists book it there.
  • LAPD is still receiving (as of this afternoon) emails from witnesses saying their statement wasn’t taken.
  • There were no skid marks at the scene.
  • Three street lights in the area were out.
  • Witnesses have said that Dahab tried to run.  Captain Mulldorfer said that the collision did not qualify as a hit and run, and that Dahab indicated she drove some distance from the collision because she felt “the crowd was hostile.”  Makes sense, they had every right to be hostile.
  • One Cyclist LAPD Task Force participant mentioned that people had tracked down Dahab’s Facebook page, and that she had listed an 818 number as her cell phone number on the page.  The Facebook page has since been disabled.
  • LAPD would not be able to pull records of cell phone usage unless there was witness testimony that Dahab was using her cell phone.
  • LAPD reports that Dahab has a pristine driving record.

I just want to rant briefly about LAPD’s preliminary finding that the primary collision factor (PCF) was “pedestrians in the roadway.”  The PCF, even the preliminary PCF, informs and guides the investigation.  With a prelimnary PCF that puts the blame on cyclists, investigating officers are likely to investigate with a bias in favor of the motorist.  That’s a big problem, especially when you’ve got cyclists in the ICU and a motorist who was D.R.U.N.K.

Moreover, it doesn’t make sense.  If you look within LAPD and SWITRS data on collisions, a PCF if always listed and determined.  The PCF is listed as a code number for the California Vehicle Code – such as “21954 (a)”.  This indicates that law enforcement believes that one of the parties violating 21954 (a) is the primary reason that the collision happened.  Notice the underlying assumption – if a collision happens, someone must have violated the law . . . else how can list a violated code as the PCF?  Now one can get real philosophical about that – do we really believe that there is no way for two lawful road users to follow the rules and still have a collision?  I think that is far fetched, but that’s how most law enforcement think.

I’m not certain what CVC code was the PCF, but my hunch is that “pedestrians in the roadway” means they believe that someone violating this code – CVC 21954 (a):

Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.

is the PCF.  I’d make a good case for being drunk as the reason Dahab clobbered a bunch of cyclists.  I could make that case, or we can just keep reading CVC 21954 we’ll get to CVC 21954 (b), which says:

The provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.

Dahab had a duty to avoid the collision.  If she somehow couldn’t see the upwards of 11 cyclists she injured, then she was driving too fast for conditions.  Specifically, she was driving too fast for her headlights to adequately light the road in front of her.  Or she was DRUNK (can we lower the legal limit already?)

So you could argue just as well that CVC 21954 (b) is the PCF.

Final note – Culver City PD isn’t fond of cyclists.  They’re known for that.  A lot of people know they don’t like CRANK MOB or Taco Tuesdays, but the fact is CCPD had a bad rep with cyclists as far back as I remember – all the way to the pre-Santa Monica Critical Mass days.  I’m sure there are exceptions in the department, and I hope that there are, but I wouldn’t expect this to be any easy road to justice.

Alex Thompson

Bikerowave co-founder, Cyclists' Bill of Rights co-author, President of Bikeside, and Math Phd. HULK SMASH straight from Michigan!

68 thoughts on “UPDATE: Video, Christine Dahab blew a .07, LAPD preliminarily blame cyclists

  1. Hello everyone,

    I’ve written another update, long overdue, which you can read here:


    I hit 4 topis:

    1) an update on the victims. Many are doing better, but some are worse.
    2) a discussion of why Dahab can and should be charged with Felony DUI despite blowing .07 BAC.
    3) some interviews from Mike Bowers of the victims and witnesses.
    4) some photos I took on the Justice Ride to support the victims.

  2. Hello mihai and lilycat, you halfwits. i was not defending reckless driving by anyone. And as it turned out, I was right, you morons!! The girl in question was driving only 30 MPH, the bike riders were stoned, drunk, and spread on both side of the street, concentrated under a non-finctioning street light, and she wasnt texting, and very few, say less than 20% had lights of refelctors on their bikes. In fact, the cops found several dozen beer cans strewen around…fresh beer cans!!! Hey..maybe I’ll go ride MY bike drink beer smoke a joint and go on the freeway and lay down and look at the stars. Then when someone runs me over….I’ll blame the driver……IDIOTS!!!

  3. garagehero: Source please. Doesn’t mean much to make a comment claiming “I was right” without citing how you were right. Not really sure why you’ve decided to completely disregard the fact that the driver was over the legal drinking limit. I don’t understand why you decided to comment at all besides name calling. Very mature dude. Or maybe because it’s 420 and you’ve decided to smoke pot for the first time and had the “brilliant idea” to go on a random rant 9 months later. Did your brain just give birth to the stupidest idea ever? Quite possibly. As far as idiots go, maybe you’ve heard the saying “People that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?”

  4. heather, you nitwit, here is my original post last year, “I have had my problems with these idiots myself in the past.
    The Midnight Ridazz midnight rides are notorious drunken rides through the city at night….a rolling party if you will. As you can see from the photo, and and was reported by police, very few of the bikers had any type of lights or reflectors on their bikes. Not only are they drunk riding, they dont follow traffic rules, they dont ride safely, and they are extremely agressive and threaten auto drivers. I was driving home from work one night after midnight, and saw these same bicyclists terrorize a family in a van that was trying to get an intersection, which they, in their drunken revelry, had blocked with hundreds of bicyclists.
    Its hard enough to see a drunken bicyclist that darts in and out of traffic, riding recklessly….its even harder to see an unlit and unreflectored bike at 2AM.
    Going home from work after midnight, I have encountered several dozen of these fools and had to swerve many a times to avoid hitting a swerving wobbly bicyclist.
    They also do not follow bicycle safety, and are usually found spread all over BOTH sides of the street. This is extremely dangerous to autos, especially after midnight when lighting and vision is compromised.” As it turned out, many of the bikers were indeed stoned and wasted, strewn all over the street on a blind curve under a non-working streetlight. And as it turned out, the driver WAS under the legal limit. And as to “namecalling, I guess you chose not to read the responses I received after I posted my original message.

  5. here’s one for your tiny brain, I hope it doesnt short out trying to think an answer. Whats worse….1 drunk driver or 100 drunken stoned bicyclists?

  6. Like I thought. No sources. I didn’t even bother to read your comments since it’s a waste of my time. I can see how you won’t even use you real name. Pussy.

  7. heather dear heather, so mercifuly free from the ravages of intelligence. The DA sprung her about two months ago. Maybe you should re-read the source material, dimbulb.

  8. heather wittskank, go back and read the mewling, hysterical , whining excuses the bikers gave for having been stoned, drunk and sprawled all over BOTH lanes of the street that night….go ahead and read. You probably wont. Most folks of small limited intellect and smaller personal ethical morality as you wont do it. You’d rather call people names and get on with it…keep riding, keep drinkin, keep getting stoned, keep waking up with strangers and its all good. You dont want to be right, just cool. Numbskull.

  9. Did I mention I’m not reading your comments? You must love talking to yourself. Still no sources, just you throwing up your mindless rant all over the interwebs. Must feel validating for your pitiful existence to express yourself on the internet. How sad. Enjoy your internet character, it really must be all that you have.

  10. Sources? You mean the official LAPD and CCPD report? Those sources? And I dont about being a “character”, but I know it takes some character to fight the drivel posted by teabaggers and hysterical apologists for thug bicyclists.

  11. Did you just mention the LAPD and CCPD police reports as your sources of information? Ha! First of all, please post a copy of the reports, they would be an interesting read. Second, just because there is a police report doesn’t mean that it’s the absolute truth of what happened (the bible isn’t literally true either btw). They are people too that make judgments, make mistakes and are even capable of lying (Gasp!). Basically you have nothing new to report. I’m really interested in any new valid information, not going toe to toe with someone that just wants to nag and throw meaningless insults. PS I don’t think you really understand what I mean by supplying a source. It’s “any thing or place from which something comes, arises, or is obtained” and providing that information by means of a link. Your rants are not a source of reliable information.

  12. Yes of course, who is one to believe? The LAPD and CCPD, who were the scene and did an extensive investigation, the Paramedics who triaged the scene, the DA, who having reviewed the specifics, or what is known as, the facts, gave her probation, or are we to believe a handful of stoned, drunken and pissed off yipsters? Hmmmm, let me see…..which one is more credible…

  13. This is like beating a dead horse. You think a drunk driver is without any fault in the scenario. Agree to disagree I guess. Hope you can move on from this.

  14. heather witless…some folks have earwax in their ears, others, like you, have it in the brain, much harder to clean. I never said that a drunk driver would be without fault in any accident. With a .07, Dahab was not drunk, and was nor cited for being drunk( though she probably shouldnt have been driving at the time). What I have always said, and rightly so, is that both the driver and the cyclists were to equally to blame for that night.Pedestrians having the right of way is not the same as pedestrians may jaywalk into a busy street and expect cars to slam on brakes. The same with bicyclists. They dont have the right to flount traffic laws, get wasted drunk or high, leave their bikes strewn all over both sides of an unlit blind curve of a street and look up at the stars and not expect to get run over, you twit.

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