Melvin White: Driver who killed cyclist avoids jail time

CINCINNATI - A Bethel man who hit and killed a bicyclist near Lunken Airport avoided jail time when he was sentenced Monday in Hamilton County Municipal Court.

Judge William Mallory ordered Melvin White, 50, to serve two years of house arrest and suspended his driver's license for three years.

Mallory also ordered White to pay $1,000 to a bicycle safety program called Queen City Blinkies and serve 100 hours of community service if his health will allow it.

Mallory did sentence White to six months in jail but suspended that part of the sentence. The judge could reinstate the jail time if White doesn't comply with the other terms.

White was driving northbound on Wilmer Avenue at 6:15 a.m. on Aug. 28, 2012 when he rear-ended 27-year-old Andrew Gast. Gast died at the hospital.

White pleaded no contest to vehicular homicide.

"I never saw him," White said at his sentencing.

Gast's mother expressed her grief.

"My life will never be normal again," Sandra Gast said. "My chest feels like a huge, gushy wound that will never heal."

Queen City Blinkies provides free lights for bicycles. It is sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Cycling Community (GCCC) and the Cincinnati Recreation Recreation.

The GCCC released this statement after the sentencing:

"The Greater Cincinnati Cycling Community desires to find good in this awful situation. Three things come to mind:

"1. Cyclists need to demonstrate to the general public that we understand the obligation to follow the rules of the road. That includes riding visibly, yielding to pedestrians, cycle no more than two abreast, stopping at stop signs/traffic signals and signally our movements. (90% of the complaints that QCB hears hears about cyclists on the road behavior)

"2. Continue to support and invest in QUEEN CITY BLINKIES, a "Light Up The Night" safety initiative. 1000 set up FREE lights have already been installed and 1000 more are on their way.

"3. Advocate for the Complete Streets Coalition for our neighborhoods. Instituting a complete streets policy ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire public roadway with all users in mind – including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities."







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