Driver who Killed Daniel Vasquez Cops a Plea

Just over two years ago, on February 9, 2007, our friend Daniel Vasquez was riding his bike home from work. He didn’t make it. Charles Seaborn, a man who’d been cited for drunk driving in the past, was once again driving drunk. Seaborn hit Daniel so hard that Daniel’s bike ended up embedded in the front of Seaborn’s Range Rover. But Seaborn didn’t stop. He left Daniel dying beside the road.

Daniel’s body wasn’t noticed until the sun came up the next morning. We went out for a run and saw them hauling his body out of the roadside weeds. We didn’t find out until hours later that it was Daniel.

Seaborn was arrested that same morning, but has managed to avoid facing the consequences of his actions for more than two years. That may soon be coming to an end. Seaborn has now made a deal. He’s pled “no contest” to vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run driving in exchange for a recommendation that he be sentenced to no more than five years in prison. The actual sentencing won’t happen until May 15.

Five years in prison isn’t a slap on the wrist, but a lot of cyclists and a lot of the people whose lives Daniel touched aren’t likely to think it a punishment sufficient to fit the crime. In a country where people routinely get ten and twenty year sentences for things like drug offenses, five years does seem a bit mild for mortally wounding someone and leaving him to die. But this isn’t what’s bothering us. We’re well aware that District Attorneys and courts place less value on our lives when we’re riding our bikes than they do at any other time.

We can’t honestly say we really care how long Mr. Seaborn does or does not sit in prison. What really irks us is the fact that people like Mr. Seaborn are allowed to drive cars in the first place and the fact that, when he gets out of prison, he’ll no doubt be right back behind the wheel.

What we don’t understand is how the “right” to drive has somehow become more sacrosanct than even personal freedom. Why is it that we’ll send someone to prison, but won’t tell them that their driving days are through? What exactly is the logic behind allowing people back behind the wheel after they’ve recklessly injured or killed (or even seriously threatened the lives of) others? Why are we so much more interested in punishing these people than we are in simply getting them off the road?

As far as we’re concerned, the first thing that should happen to someone who commits a crime like Mr. Seaborn’s is that they should lose their license forever. And people caught driving intoxicated should have their licenses suspended for much longer periods of time than is now the rule – permanently if the intoxication is severe enough, if they injure anyone, or if they have a second offense. Driving should be understood to be a privilege. Abuse that privilege and lose it. Those caught driving after their licenses have been suspended or revoked are the ones who really need to be jailed in the interest of public safety.

So Daniel is gone. He touched a lot of people’s lives, he’s sorely missed by many, and we’re disgusted that he lost his life in such a pointless and unnecessary way. We don’t know Mr. Seaborn, but we’re sorry he’s made such a mess of his own life and brought so much sorrow to so many. We wish him well and we sincerely hope he reaches a place where he can become the kind of asset to the community that Daniel was. We just hope he finds a way to do it that doesn’t involve driving.

Advertisements

9 Responses to Driver who Killed Daniel Vasquez Cops a Plea

  1. coastroad says:

    I’ve followed this story not knowing how I would feel to be in Seaborn’s shoes, nor in yours as his loved ones. This incident/accident is beyond comprehension. I read of a similar incident that occurred in Marin where the bike was still embedded in the car grill and the driver kept driving until he got home. Beyond comprehension.

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  2. xasauan says:

    Well, Mr. Seaborn has finally gone before the judge for sentencing and gotten the expected 5 years. We don’t have much faith in the reformative power of prison, but we sure hope he’ll be a lot more careful and a lot more caring when he gets out …

  3. bigsurkate says:

    XT, prison will not reform Mr. Seaborn. It reforms no one. Only Mr. Seaborn can do that. 5 years was not a very long time for a DUI causing death.5 years was really a gift. He could, and probably should, have gotten 15 to life. I’ve seen a lot longer sentences, as will the two drivers who caused the death of Rachel down in Big Sur last year after celebrating at the end of the softball play-offs.

    Driving is a privilege, and it is suspended for DUIs, often for a year or more, and sometimes for life, as Mr. Seaborn’s may be. (Haven’t looked it up in a while)

    Well, we sure hope his license has been suspended for life. That would do a lot more for public safety than having him sit in prison a few years longer – XT

  4. jennie kay says:

    daniel’s death was horrifying and unnecessary, and i am sick that bastard will be out in five years. And YES, much longer suspensions on licenses. thank you for posting this, what an incredible loss for the community.

  5. xasauan says:

    The Monterey County courts yesterday sentenced another drunk driver who killed someone to 10 years, twice what Seaborn got, even though this driver had a previously spotless record, did not try to flee, immediately took full responsibility for their actions, and has shown overwhelming remorse. The trouble, apparently, was that she killed a fellow driver. Luckily for Seaborn, he only killed a cyclist.

  6. topher says:

    I used to know Charles Seaborn 20 years ago when I was a child, and just stumbled across this in an initial attempt at getting back in touch with him… what a terrible shock. As a cyclist who was hospitalized by a motorist and spent months in physical therapy as a result, I share the outrage of the cycling community and am vexed by our legal system’s failure to get human priorities straight. As the former friend of a charming, talented, but self-destructively alcoholic underwater photographer, I can’t help but regret all the wasted human potential that this event represents all round – a tragedy in the true sense. My thoughts and prayers are with Daniel’s friends and family – though I’ll save a few for Charles, too.

  7. MK says:

    Seaborn is at it again…
    Busted for another DUI while on parole. He’s on the run in the Monterey area. Let’s find him!

  8. Richard Vasquez says:

    *SHARE**SHARE**SHARE**SHARE**SHARE**SHARE**SHARE**SHARE**
    PLEASE HELP THIS GO VIRAL!!! A REVOLUTION WAS STARTED ON FACEBOOK.. ALL I WANT TO DO IS FIND ONE MAN!! CHARLES SEABORN WAS THE MAN WHO KILLED MY BROTHER DANNY IN 2007 WHILE DRIVING DRUNK. TOOK A BEAUTIFUL SOUL AWAY FROM US. WELL HE WENT TO PRISON FOR 2 1/2 YEARS AND GOT OUT LAST NOVEMBER.. WELL, HE IS AT IT AGAIN.. JUST GOT ANOTHER DUI AND IS ON THE RUN. WE NEED TO FIND THIS ANIMAL BEFORE HE KILLS AGAIN. HE IS A MULTIMILLIONAIRE SO HE COULD BE ANYWHERE ON THE PLANET!! I NEED THIS TO GO VIRAL ALL OVER THE WORLD SO WE CAN CATCH THIS GUY!! SHARE WITH ALL YOUR FRIEND PLEASE AND TELL THEM TO SHARE WITH THEIR FRIENDS ECT..ECT.. THANK YOU, VASQUEZ FAMILY

  9. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a hint for anyone looking for Charles Seaborn. He was business partners with a man name Robert Frerck. Frerck owns a photo agency called Odyssey Productions in Chicago. Perhaps someone in that area can check with Robert Frerck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: