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Posted on Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 10:30 a.m.

Man gets 2 years probation for crash that killed Pittsfield Township man

By John Counts

The man responsible for the fatal crash that killed a 64-year-old Pittsfield Township man in May was sentenced Tuesday to two years of probation, the Livingston Daily reported.

Robert Eugene Denome, 85, of Unadilla Township, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of a moving violation causing death, the newspaper reported. He was involved in a fatal car accident in Unadilla Township with Thomas Gonzales, who was riding a 1967 Triumph motorcycle.

A Livingston County judge ordered Denome to undergo a psychological evaluation and to pay about $970 in fines and costs and $14,239 in restitution, the Livingston Daily reported.

Read the whole story here.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Robot Charles

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

Could any lawyers comment on why killing someone with a car is so easy to get away with? Or is this just a special instance.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

I wonder what happened with the young girl who killed a biker on Pontiac Trail in South Lyon a couple of months ago.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

@DBH yes. I do think that this should apply to pedestrians and bicyclists too although in cases like this, where someone makes a bad left turn in front of someone, both a pedestrian and a bicyclist would in theory have more time to stop. Even so, this is a situation where someone made a simple mistake. Why should drivers of cars assume more risk criminally because someone else chooses to be unsafe?

Chris C.

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

"Why should drivers of cars assume more risk criminally because someone else chooses to be unsafe?" Really??? Who ever said Mr. Gonzalez was choosing to be "unsafe" while riding his motorcycle? That's a huge assumption, which is typical anti-motorcycle bias. The bottom line is the driver of the car was fully at-fault, negligent, broke the law by making an illegal left turn, failing to yield right of way and now a man is dead. Yes - the sentence is extremely light and hopefully the family will file a civil suit for additional damages.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

oh boy... I hope I never share a road with you.

Robot Charles

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

"bad left turn." Is that a legal term? It sounds more like you shouldn't be driving. Also if someone discharges a gun due to a "bad trigger pull" and hits another person who dies due to assuming more risk by not wearing a bullet proof vest, is that ok?

Nunya Bidness

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

Oh my lord! Just stop! Every comment makes less sense and betrays you. NEGLIGENT drivers should assume more risk when they cause death and injury. The mode of transportation of the VICTIM is irrelevant. How ignorant!


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 5 p.m.

I understand that the sentence may have been lenient considering this man's age, but sentences are notoriously light when someone kills a motorcyclist. It sometimes seems like we don't have the same standing as a automobile driver would. This hopefully will change some day.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.



Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

We're certainly witnessing some incredibly scary attitudes in these comments. I'm beginning to understand why so many motorcyclists get hit now.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

Enso, don't forget that you aren't spending time in jail because someone didn't wear a helmet. You are spending time in jail because you are a negligible driver and drove into someone so hard it killed that person.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

I totally agree WIY. And to prove your point further, consider a rider wearing a helmet vs a rider not wearing a helmet. If an accident occurs and the helmet saves the life of the one rider, but the other rider dies of head-related injuries, I don't see how we can legally charge someone in a harsher way because one rider CHOSE NOT TO WEAR A HELMET. Motorcyclists wanted the choice of wearing a helmet and they got it. Now all I ask is you live with the consequences and take some personal responsibility. Why should I be at risk of spending time in jail because YOU chose not to wear a helmet. C'mon!

Robot Charles

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.

WIY reasoning is about the poorest I've read on She(or it) has a prejudice against motorcyclist indicated by viewing the rider as "at fault" by existence. The scariest part of people like this that they are looking for a situation to harm someone, even if that person is obeying all laws and behaving in a safe manner. I doubt WIY has traveled much because in Europe and Asia the motorcycle is a primary mode of transportation as it is more fuel efficient and takes less room. Said to know that such a person believes that it's ok to kill someone travelling down a road lives so close to me.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

Yes. Motorcycle deaths should be treated differently. Because otherwise, there is a really good case for banning motorcycles. The ONLY reason they should even be on the road is if the driver of the motorcycle assumes the increased risks. This is especially so in cases where the cyclist isn't wearing a helmet.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

WIY, are you joking?!?! Because I ride a motorcycle, the punishment for killing me is more lenient than for you because you are in a GMC Sierra? Wow...


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

@WIY, that is some convoluted reasoning. So, by your logic, if he had turned in front of a bicyclist, or even a jogger, resulting in their death, the bicyclist or jogger assumes risks leading to their death? Bizarre.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

Why should motorcyclists have the same standing? If this man had turned in front of an SUV, it is likely no one would have died. So why should the penalties be higher if he happens to hit a motorcyclist who is less visible and, by their own choice, in a situation where they are more likely to be killed or injured? It isn't about valuing the motorcyclist's life less, it is about acknowledging that by the act of riding a motorcycle, the rider assumes the risks.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

Restitution? To whom? For the motorcycle, or what?

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

good question. A nice round number like $14,239 certainly makes one wonder what it represents.