Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Woman spared jail in cyclist's death



By David Eck
Enquirer contributor

FAIRFIELD - Her voice breaking, a Fairfield Township woman Tuesday apologized in a crowded courtroom for the accident that caused the death of a popular Trenton motorcyclist.

"I just want to say I'm sorry for what happened," said Christie A. VanWinsen, who appeared in Fairfield Municipal Court for sentencing on failure to yield and vehicular manslaughter charges in connection with a Sept. 6 accident that killed motorcycle rider Robert Bryant, active both in motorcycling and youth sports. "I wish I could make everything OK."

The woman received a three-year license suspension, two years' probation, 250 hours of community service and a suspended 90-day jail sentence. Judge Joyce Campbell also fined VanWinsen $850.

Bryant's family urged the judge not to send the woman to jail.

"I have struggled with what kind of sentence Christie should receive," said Emily Jackson, Bryant's daughter. "My father raised me to be compassionate and forgiving."

Dan Gattermeyer, VanWinsen's attorney, told the judge that the woman had never been in trouble before, was genuinely remorseful for the accident and was not reckless. He said the sentence was fair.

"It was nothing more than an accident," he said. "She committed a driver error that any of us could commit."

About a dozen motorcyclists - several wearing buttons featuring photos of Bryant - attended the hearing.

E-mail daveck@fuse.net




TOP STORIES
United Way behind goals
Fernald silo cleanup drags on
A manatee migration with a twist
Heart hospital has new suitor

IN THE TRISTATE
Movie house pictured at mall
Gay rights ordinance may be reconsidered by council
People, places and things
Death raises fears on road
City's housing authority sues feds
Pediatric doctor a 1st for rheumatology award
Terror tactics tackled in drill
Woman spared jail in cyclist's death
Fire hits Ivy Hills golf building
Kings school candidates debate
British exchange program canceled
Mason, Deerfield make nice
Mystery speaker to dedicate memorial
East End school step closer
Regional Report
Candidate in court over sign
Parent protests 'sweatbox'

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Bronson: This time, the accused rapist was the real victim
Korte: Cranley lashes back at GOP critics
Howard: Good Things Happening

OBITUARIES
Sr. Loretta Ann Bruewer, 97, was retired principal
Paul C. Beckman, longtime lawyer
Kentucky obituaries

OHIO
Appeals court upholds death sentence in killing of woman
Ohio Moments

KENTUCKY
Hearing reveals brutal details of woman's slaying, mutilation
Barge wreck on Ohio investigated
Grayson gets help from the president
'Thump' plays a bucketful of music
Forest Service can spare only one Ky. firefighter