You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 7:35 a.m.

Charges authorized against minivan driver, 84, in death of motorcyclist

By Paula Gardner

A driver who turned his minivan into the path of a motorcyclist will face charges in the crash, which killed Thomas Gonzales in May, according to a report in

The driver, 84, remains unidentified pending arraignment for the misdemeanor charge of moving violation causing death, the publication reported.

Gonzales, 64, of Pittsfield Township, was riding a 1967 Triumph motorcycle on M-36 near Dexter Trail in the Pinckney area.

Read the full story on the charges.


Frank Lee

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

Why do we continue to allow the extreme elderly the right to drive? If there is a minimum age, why not a maximum? With tons of facts backing the measure, loss of driver's license at 80 years of age would be a totally reasonable thing to do. This driver took a life and is charged with a misdemeanor moving violation causing death, which carries a penalty of up to one year in the county jail. What do you think the judge is going to sentence this 84 year old man to? It will be a slap in the face to the family of the deceased. It's a bad situation for all parties involved.

Frank Lee

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

YpsiVeteran: "completely irrelevant factor"? Age is 100% relevant. There is a minimum age to drive, why not a maximum? What factors led to a minimum age being established when equal (if not greater) factors could be tabled to set a maximum age. It's not about rights, it's about safety.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

Let's see some stats (including fatalities) on accidents involving 80-plus-year drivers vs., say, drivers 25 and under.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

Because in this country we like to judge people individually, by their behavior, and not by their age, or hair color, or other completely irrelevant factor. Not everyone who reaches an advanced age is incompetent, something I have a difficult time believing you don't already know. There are plenty of 30 yr olds who have been in numerous crashes, of their own fault, who shouldn't be driving, and there are plenty of elderly people driving around everyday with no issues. This is America, remember? We don't just start stripping people of their rights because they reach a certain age.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

Gotta tell you, recently I had health issues where I chose NOT to drive (I am only 44yrs old), the situation has resolved itself. I was petrified I would be reported to the state, I have never had any sort of ticket or accident, EVER. My Doctor told me flat out not to worry, she has a patient that has dementia who should not be driving, family doesn't want him driving, and it was all NUMEROUS times reported to the State, to evaluate him or flat out revoke his license. State of Michigan hasn't done jack! You have family and the medical profession begging for help to the appropriate authorities, with no assistance. Its a train wreck waiting to happen!


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

This is what scares me about the no-helmet law. Bikers can say it doesn't impact us car drivers at all but this is a great example of how it can. It scares me to have bikers riding around without helmets. I'm not sure if he was in this particular case but what is usually a minor crash between two cars, which may result in minor injuries, is a fatal crash when you add a motorcycle into the equation. This fear exists with helmet riders and is now all the more likely with no-helmet riders. If you die in a motorcycle crash there should be some leniency on the car driver if the motorcycle driver wasn't wearing a helmet. Accidents happen. And while extremely sad in this case I'm not sure the driver of this car should really face a year in prison because he made a driving error.

Frank Lee

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

This has to be some of the most backwards logic I have ever heard. You are basically saying that the "fair fight" argument should come into play. What if a car runs over a pedestrian or bicyclist in the road? What if the deceased was driving a vintage vehicle with zero safety measures in place? My vehicle has a higher crash rating than yours, therefore I should receive leniency if I cause an accident resulting in death.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

Well said Ricebrnr. Well said.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

advice to all cyclists out there. Ride like they are trying to kill you because they are. Heads up always scan for danger, know that they will do dumb things because they can't see you...even when you are looking them in the eye. And while I like the choice, for your family's sake if not yourself, please please wear your helmet! Good luck out there.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

YpsiVeteran, it's a warning and a way to live and ride. The consequence of living this way is living. The consequence of not is not. Car drivers kill more people every day than guns. Sorry if erring on the side of safety offends thee.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

Right Ricebrnr, I sure this 84 yr old man left the house that day with the intention of picking off a motorcyclist. Everyone's trying to kill you. Nice hyperbole and exaggeration.

Angry Moderate

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

Please ride like you are following the law, too. E.g., stop weaving in between cars at 90MPH and riding with 3 bikes side by side.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

Exactly! When you ride, you are assuming a high risk for a sport you love, take advantage of every piece of equipment you can and never assume others see you! We have 5 lights on our front end, can't tell you the number of times we were not seen! I do feel for this 84yr old man, I don't know that charging him (realizing we don't have any real information on the driver of the mini van) is going to make others pay closer attention. I truly feel badly for him. However there is a family without a loved one, thru no fault of his own!