A judge sentenced an Illinois man to 9 years in prison for running down a 65-year-old California man on a coast-to-coast bicycle tour last summer.
Jim Gafney, left, of Chula Vista, California, was more than half way along on his “Mad As Hell Bike Ride Across the US” to deliver a petition to Washington DC when he was struck down on an Illinois highway.
Gafney had taken to riding his bicycle at night because of an oppressive hot spell sweeping the midwest. The driver later told police that he saw Gafney when he crested a hill on US 50 but was unable to stop his 1997 Nissan Altima in time. He was arrested later by police.
Leon Marcum, 26, of Centralia pleaded guilty to failure to report an accident resulting in a death. That's a class 1 felony in Illinois. As part of the plea bargain, prosecutors dropped the other charges, which included driving under the influence.
Marcum could have been sentenced to between 4 and 15 years in prison for the hit and run. He must pay a $5,000 fine and $250 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving and $250 to Clinton County Crimestoppers, according to WJBD radio.
Gafney was retired computer engineer who took to his bicycle in April 2009 to gather signatures to protest the bank bailout and to ask those in government to act more responsibly. He posted several videos along the way.
In the final video above, he thanks all the folks who took the time to chat, let him camp out in their yards or lent him a hand along the road.