John David Hines, Drunk-Ass Fire Capt. Who Mowed Down Cyclist, Gets Jail, Probation and $102k Restitution Bill

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John David Hines, the 39-year-old Long Beach Fire captain convicted in September for severely injuring a cyclist in a mid-day hit-and-run crash while driving with a blood alcohol level of .24 percent (three times the legal limit), has essentially received a sentence of some jail, lots of probation and an order to pay his victim $102,000. Looking at the possibility of up to six years in state prison, Hines was formally sentenced today to four years and four months there. However, he'll be spared prison time if he successfully completes a year in jail and five years of formal probation.

On the one hand, who knows how much jail time he'll ultimately do given overcrowding? On the other flaming glove, the fire captain from a family of firefighters has already done some prison time. Before sentencing, he served 86 days there for a diagnostic evaluation.

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The captain
That wasn't enough for Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz, who tried to argue that Hines should be sentenced to a state prison term based on the severity of the crime and that he should be held to a higher standard because he has worked as a paramedic, responded to DUI crash scenes and knows first-hand the dangers of boozing and driving.

Beginning the morning of April 1, he spent several hours getting hammered in a Long Beach bar. Around 1:20 p.m., he climbed behind the wheel of his Chevy pick-up and drove erratically eastbound on Westminster Avenue in Seal Beach. That's where he lost control, swerved into the bike lane and dirt shoulder and--without slowing or hitting his brakes--crashed into 47-year-old bicyclist Jeffrey Gordon.

Gordon was thrown from his bike more than 70 feet before landing on the shoulder of the road. Hines still couldn't find his brake pedal, continuing to drive while being followed by two other drivers who witnessed the crash and called 9-1-1. Cops from the beaches Seal and Huntington found Hines' truck with a large blood splatter and major front end and hood damage in the driveway of his Surf City home. Hines was still stinking drunk, emitting a strong odor of alcohol, displaying bloodshot and watery peepers, having trouble keeping his balance and--the ol' kicker--smelling of urine on his clothing. It was then he tested at .24 percent.

Meanwhile, the bicyclist had been taken to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, where he was treated for head trauma, severe lacerations and bruising to his head and body, internal injuries, and spinal and vertebrae injuries. Gordon remained in the hospital for two weeks and continues to suffer pain as a result of his injuries.

He submitted a written victim impact statement today, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office:

"I am a very active person who enjoys being outdoors with my family. I also have a very mentally and physically demanding job that I love. All of that was taken from me in just seconds.

"As a result of the impact, I was seriously injured, receiving an 18cm head laceration, cranial bleeding, three broken vertebrae, a bruised kidney and multiple cuts, scrapes, and contusions over a large area of my body. Medical expenses are piling up from the long hospital stay and treatment from so many specialists. so far reaching nearly $65,000. The doctors are not yet sure when or if I will recover enough to return to full duty at work or to the quality of life that I had before.

"I have found myself becoming more and more upset by the possibility that the negligence of another person may have lasting effects on me, but the person who is responsible may suffer little or no consequences for his actions."

Doesn't seem like $102,000 is enough, no?

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14 comments
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AmandaF
AmandaF

This wasn't his first DUI!! He obviously has a problem! alcohol only scratches the surface of it!

Joe
Joe

Just another Hero............

Paul
Paul

whats the story with the psych evaluation? If a guy cant handle prison do they let him go? This is confusing. every time I read about a guy getting a psych eval for prision its some elcted official or city official. Does everyone get this evaluation?

More OC Injustice
More OC Injustice

Excellent point, Paul.

AND, WHY IS THIS GUY NO LONGER IN JAIL? I see he was released today. Does that mean he got sent to the cushy Dr. Drew rehab center?

What a bunch of bullshit.

Opus the Poet
Opus the Poet

As a person that uses a bicycle for most of my transportation, and as the victim of a hit-and-run where they assume the driver was drunk, I follow these reports with a mixture of dread and elation, elation that they caught the guy, dread that because he hit a cyclist instead of someone in a car that the drunk will get off with a slap on the wrist. While this was not a slap on the wrist, $102K will barely cover the medical expenses that come with this kind of wreck  and not even touch the ongoing costs to rehab or treat any psych issues that will come up as a result of the wreck.. I know my medical expenses alone from my wreck topped out over $250K and I never got any treatment for my TBI or more than minimal rehab for my ortho injuries, they got me walking with a cane and that's as far as they took it. And because they never caught the guy that hit me I had to use a state program that paid for victims of hit-and-run to cover my medical bills.

So, yeah, this drunk is getting a lot more than most drunks that hit cyclists get, but he's still getting off light.

Wjohnson17
Wjohnson17

I was involved in a hit-and-run accident forty years ago.  The driver in this case was not drunk, but did stop. Stop long enough and viewed me for dead, got back into his car and took off, never to be seen or heard from again.  Medical costs?  For major head injuries, TBI, extanguination,  6 weeks in intensive care, 20 reconstructive surgeries, $102K would have paid for the first four weeks in intensive care.  The rest paid for by my family and a little from the insurance companies.  To this day I am still feeling the effects.  I will never be whole as I was before.  Captain Hines, you are a very fortunate man to have the clout you have with your family ties with the city of Long Beach.  I pray to God you never forget the pain and suffering your day of assininity cost Jeffrey Gordon.   One year in state prison is a cake walk compared to recovering the extent of injuries you caused Mr. Gordon.  Maybe you and your buddies at the fire station can humble themselves a little bit more to the public serves.  Maybe you will climb down off your high horse too.

Blackstar26
Blackstar26

Ha, state program? Sounds like Obama's Commie economic sense has even affected our state budget

Bill T.
Bill T.

More of your paranoia speaking. Obama's responsible for a program that was in place before he was born, now there's some twisty "logic" for you.

Here's test for you, define "communist" for me and explain how it differs from socialism.

Blackstar26
Blackstar26

What did he think was going to happen biking around in the city?

Opus the Poet
Opus the Poet

Since he was riding in a bike lane when he was hit, I assume that he thought he was going to get where he was going and get a little exercise along the way.

What did the driver think getting blitzed in the middle of the day and then driving? That's right he didn't think at all and as a result the cyclist will have to live with lifelong pain because of a drunk.

Bill T.
Bill T.

Oh, like it's not the victim's fault.  Right.  Next you're going to be telling me the sun rises in the East and sets in the west what reality were you born into?

Bill T.
Bill T.

Driving drunk, not keeping his vehicle under control, leaving the scene of a felony accident, oh, now I get it, what could I POSSIBLY have been thinking?

Blackstar26
Blackstar26

I think the very definition of victim hinges on the requisite that that person as not really at fault....what reality do you live in?

The real victim here is the guy having to do jail time over this ridiculousness. Bicyclist should have licenses and pay a road tax if they expect to pedal around busy driver's lanes just for exercise. Just run or do something that won't put you in the OC Weekly under the 'Long Beach' section

cheers
cheers

I hope Gordon is also going to file a civil suit against this stupid drunken asshole.

Sue for negligence. Go after the home insurance, car insurance and all his personal crap.

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