Based on his tweets and driving history, charges against a California man were upgraded from manslaughter to murder in a bicycle accident, according to NPR. The man, 18, allegedly lost control of his 2004 Dodge Neon when it struck a woman, 58, and her husband, 57, riding their bikes in Pleasanton, Calif. on June 9. The collision killed the woman and injured her husband, who suffered a broken leg in the wreck.
According to a report in The San Francisco Chronicle about the accident, the driver had been traveling 83 mph in a 40 mph zone, lost control and crashed into the couple, who had been riding in a bike lane alongside Foothill Road. The driver stopped and gave a statement to police after the accident, and once they completed their investigation in late July, he was arrested on felony charges of vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving.
After an initial hearing, the driver was released on bail. However, in a subsequent hearing, the charges against him were upgraded from manslaughter to murder and he was taken back into custody, where he still remained at the time of this report.
“An analysis of [his] driving record and pattern—along with Twitter posts in which he talked about how fast he liked to drive—factored into upgrading the case to murder,” a member of the local authorities reportedly told The San Francisco Chronicle.
The Pleasanton Patch, which has been following the case since the accident, posted a story a few days after the crash about messages on the driver’s Twitter account that talked about his speeding. The story may have come to the attention of the Alameda District Attorney’s office and played a part in its decision to increase the charges against the driver.
“Prosecutors may try to use Hall’s tweets as a ‘pre-offense statement,’” an official in the nearby Santa Clara County district attorney’s office told the AP.
If convicted, the driver faces 15 years to life for the murder charge and another three years and eight months for the reckless driving charge.
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Did you know?: Of the 677 cyclist fatalities in 2011, 69 percent occurred in urban areas.
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