[tabi] Re: a suggestion for the white cane law

  • From: mccaulo@xxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2014 14:35:36 -0500 (EST)

Contacting Mr. Meggs would not be effective since violation of the white cane law is not a criminal offense.

-----Original Message-----
From: Dale Petersen <petepros@xxxxxxxxx>
To: tabi <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thu, Jan 30, 2014 2:32 pm
Subject: [tabi] Re: a suggestion for the white cane law

Hi my name is Dale I'm a new member of TCB I was wondering if you considered contacting Willy megs our district Atty. I believe he supersedes all law or the jurisdiction in this area for law maybe he can help you out thanks bye

Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 21, 2014, at 2:07 PM, "Easy Talk" &lt;Easytalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx&gt; wrote:

HI Chip,
I think that is a very good suggestion.  I have tried to get a email address for Chief DeLeo and after I talked to 3 different people and Sila did the same no one new it.  I then called TPD and ask to speak to the chief.  He wasn't in so I ask if they could have him return my call. This was on Sunday.  The dispatcher who no longer are actually part of TPD any more kept trying to get me to talk to the watch commander and I had to persist that wasn't who I wanted to talk to.  She finally took my number and said she would pass my request to guess who, the watch commander.  So far I haven't received a call from our new chief.  I also got a response from the hearing officer and responded to him.
It's pasted below.
I was also suppressed to find out that traffic cases have no transcripts or recordings and this particular hearing officer has a private practice and so far I haven't been able to find out if he is a actual employ of the court system or just has a contractor to provide services.
My whole impression of the experience reeks of unperfeshinoalism.
Dear Mr. Roberts,
Your justification for your decision makes absolutely no sense and apparently you didn't listen to anything I said at the hearing.  If you would take the time to think about what you are saying and consider the facts and logic you would know what the
driver and the other two witness said is impossible.
1 first you and the witness say that the truck was well in to his turn before I reached
the intersection.
I told you that I approached the corner turned right walked approximately five feet to the pole with the button for the audible signal.  I pressed the button, turned around and walked back to the curb and when the audible chirp started waited until the vehicle on Killearn center which was coming toward me had cleared the first lane before I proceeded to cross Village Square.  If Mr... truesdell had already started making his turn before I was at the intersection then he should have already cleared the intersection by the time I got to the corner, walked up to the pole to push the button turned around walked back to the intersection and waited for the traffic to start coming toward me.  Why was he still in the cross walk when I got hit? I am blind but not deaf so the fact that the driver said the intersection was clear was a lie and if you look at the report filed by officer Thompson, if memory serves me correctly it will support this fact. so one vehicle had already crossed the intersection coming toward me and is the vehicle that Mr. Truesdell turned behind.  How would I know this if I hadn't approached the intersection before Mr... Truesdell started
making his turn.
When the dog stopped I was near the front of his trailer, I know this because I could hear the location of the engine and stood there very close to the truck as it passed and was struck by a blinker that was sticking out about mid ways of the trailer. I know this because there was another witness who wasn't given a notice to appear. It was the lady that made the call to 911 that told me about the blinker. She had a small baby in the car but gave her name and number to the lady witness that you seemed to thingk was so credible.  This witness was also referred to in Officer thompsons report and actually saw the whole incident. In fact she was standing by me while I was still laying in the street and handed me her cell phone to tell the 911 operator whether I needed a ambulance or not.    Did you check or ask Mr.. truesdell if his trailer had a blinker that stuck out mid ways of the trailer.  The facts that prove this is the fact that I had a bruise on my right arm mid way between my elbow and shoulder.  You ask Mr.. truesdell if he stopped and he said yes but you never determined where and when he stopped.  Yes he did stop but only after his entire truck and trailer had cleared the cross walk.  Where he should have stopped was on Killearn Center and waited for the next green light when there wasn't a blind pedestrian attempting
to cross the street.
 How is a blind person suppose to know a vehicle is going to make a turn? hence the
purpose of the White Cane law.
All of this aside, there are only two elements needed to affect a violation of the White Cane law.  The first being that a blind person with a white cane or guide dog is attempting to cross a street.  The second is that a vehicle doesn't stop for that person.  It doesn't say anything about if a vehicle is well in to there turn.  It doesn't say the blind person has to be hit and it doesn't say anything about where or what part of a vehicle the blind person impacts.  it simply says the driver is required to stop and if they don't it is a violation of the law. Case closed. This is exactly why I asked you to please read the law and in fact am amazed that you didn't prior to the hearing or at least you didn't indicate that you had. If you are familiar with the Florida pedestrian safety law then you would know that as long as a pedestrian is obeying a traffic signal then a motor vehicle is required
to yield to the pedestrian.
Although it is erivelent, Next you say
 ).  The eyewitnesses (two) further stated
that it looked like your guide dog stopped and your momentum carried him into the
rear portion of trailer
. According to all witnesses, you impacted the rear portion of the trailer which is consistent with the fact that that the truck had almost cleared the turn before
you reached the intersection.
I am not sure what you are saying here but it sounds like you are saying my forward momentum carried the dog in to the trailer.  There is no way the dog could have been carried in to the trailer, he isn't tall enough. he would have went under the trailer. As far as me impacting the trailer, that isn't true either.  If you run in to a wall what is the first part of your body to hit? your head or possibly your feet, believe me I know.  Was there any indication or testimony that my feet had been run over or that I had any injuries to my head? no. If you noticed when I approached the podium walking with my dog, his rear flanks are near my left leg which means his head and nose are around 2.5 to 3 feet in front of me.  If I had had impacted the trailer at any point the dog would have been under the trailer and if the truck was moving, he would have been run over hence the testimony you place so much value on is a bunch
of crap.
----- Original Message -----
Gary Roberts
'Easy Talk'
Sent: Monday, January 20, 2014 2:53 PM
Subject: RE: injustice for the blind
My Reasoning for my decision to dismiss the citation:
The independent eyewitnesses said the truck (a tractor/trailer) was turning well
into the intersection
before you and your his guide dog reached the intersection
.   This supported the position taken by the truck driver (who stated that the intersection was totally clear and he had almost completed his turn when he looked back [for a second time] a saw you and stopped his truck).  The eyewitnesses (two) further stated that it looked like your guide dog stopped and your momentum carried him into the
rear portion of trailer
. According to all witnesses, you impacted the rear portion of the trailer which is consistent with the fact that that the truck had almost cleared the turn before
you reached the intersection.
I discounted the testimony by the truck driver and placed great weight on the two eyewitness.  Your testimony was very credible however; the eyewitness account supported the testimony of the truck driver along with your account.  I am very strict in protecting the rights of the visually impaired and all citizens in general.  As read F.S. 316.1301
Whenever a pedestrian is crossing, or attempting to cross, a public street or highway,
guided by a dog guide or carrying in a raised or
            extended position a cane or walking stick which is white in color or
white tipped with red, the driver of every vehicle approaching the
            intersection or place where the pedestrian is attempting to cross shall
bring his or her vehicle to a full stop before arriving at such
            intersection or place of crossing and, before proceeding, shall take
such precautions as may be necessary to avoid injuring such pedestrian.
            A person who is convicted of a violation of this subsection is guilty
of a moving violation punishable as provided in chapter 318.
In this case, the testimony was that the truck was driving very slowly while trying to negotiate a turn and the truck and the trailer had almost completed the turn before you reached the intersection, how can I ignore that testimony, if I did I would not be fit to hold my position.  I am sorry that you are taking the position that an injustice was done but the independent evidence just did not help me rule in your
favor, thank you for your email and your concerns,
Gary A. Roberts, Esq.
The Law Offices of
Roberts & Meeks, P.L.
130 Salem Court
Tallahassee, FL 32301-2810
From: Easy Talk [mailto:Easytalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Monday, January 20, 2014 1:39 PM
To: garyr@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: injustice for the blind
Case #2013 TR 037367
Citation # 5067GYO or 0
Defendant: Wesley Truesdell
Dear Hearing Officer Roberts:
I am writing to express my dismay at your decision to dismiss charges in the above referenced case.  Your decision has set a precedence that has caused a major injustice
to blind citizens of Florida.
If you will recall, I ask you to please read the White Cane Safety law before making your decision. Apparently, you did not do this, or you do not care about the safety of blind pedestrians, or you have no regard for the importance of the White Cane Safety law.  It is also apparent that you, as most sighted individuals aren't aware of the many blind people that have been struck by vehicles in the state of Florida and in many cases, the drivers leave the scene.  Can you give me any kind of justification for your decision after reading the White Cane Safety law?  Based on the testimony given at the hearing and the White Cane Safety law, I can't think of any logical reason for your decision and question your ability to be a fair Hearing Officer who
is supposed to uphold the laws of Florida.
It is my intent to contact the local press and the Chief of TPD to make them aware
of the injustice you are responsible for.
I hope you will take the time to read the information below. Perhaps then maybe the next time a blind person is hit by a vehicle, you might be able to make a reasonable and informed decision that supports Florida law.  Can you show me anything in the
White Cane Safety law that justifies your decision?
I believe that Officer Thompson should be reprimanded for not showing up for the hearing. It also amazes me that you are a Traffic Hearing Officer who is totally unaware of the vehicle and pedestrian problem in Tallahassee and Leon County.  Within the last 9 months, there was an article in the Tallahassee Democrat that stated between 2010 and 2012, over 187 pedestrians were struck on Tennessee Street near FSU.  Since I was hit in August, over 8 other pedestrians have been struck, causing serious injury and in some cases, death.  If you continue to render decisions as you did in this
case, the situation will only get worse.
Shame on you!
Robert Miller

 ----- Original Message -----
 From:   Chip   Orange
 To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
 Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 1:03   PM
 Subject: [tabi] a suggestion for the   white cane law

Maybe the TCB and the NFB should have a joint meeting at the lighthouse (inviting anyone from the public who is interested), and get the new TPD chief to come and talk on the white cane law and exactly what it means?  Let him know ahead of time that this is what the desired topic is, in order to give him time to prepare and research his presentation.  This way, we can get questions such as the one Robert raises here answered definitively.  It would also serve to put the TPD on notice, in a very polite and low-key way, that we expect the law to be enforced.   Chip       From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Easy Talk
Sent: Monday, January 20, 2014 12:08 PM
To:   tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Re: Today is a sad and shameful   day

  Amnd the other sad thing is that the hearing officer can't even read the White Cane law and comprehend what he just read.  He gave the reason for his decision was that the truck was already initiating his turn which is exactly what the white cane Law says you don do.  It says every vehicle shall stop to allow the pedestrian to safely cross the street and has no exemptions for 18 wheelers.  The driver said he had already started making his turn which to me is addition that the White Cane Law was violated.
    The law says   stop not start turning.
I firmly believe the whole thing was rigged from the get go.  This guy came all the way from Miami with out a lawyer and the cop doesn't show up.  Sounds fishy to me.
Having a degree in Criminology and working in law enforcement I know if a cop wants to get a case thrown out just don't show up.  There was another witness who actually saw the whole thing and made the call to 911,  left since she had a small baby in the  car but gave her phone number to another witness which was given to the officer  she was never contacted by the police and wasn't summonsed to appear.  The witness that the judge based his decision on was about half a block down from the intersection and didn't actually see me get hit since there were other cars between me and her.  For some reason the hearing officer said I got hit by the back of the trailer which is totally wrong.  I never got hit by the trailer any where, a blinker that was sticking out about mid ways of the trailer is what hit me and I know this because the witness that left told me that is what happen and she was standing right by me while I was still laying in the road and she handed me her phone to talk to the 911 operator. Anyone who uses a guide dog knows that the dogs back flanks are near your left leg which means the dog could be 2.5 to 3 feet in front of you.  If I had been hit by the trailer Sherman would be dead.
This nothing but good old boys doing there good old buddies favors.
         ----- Original     Message -----
       From: Shelley     Sawyer
       To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
       Sent: Monday, January     20, 2014 11:20 AM
       Subject: [tabi] Re: Today     is a sad and shameful day
It is my understanding that if the investigating officer doesn't show up for court, the charges and the case are almost always dismissed. In all probability, Officer Thompson knew what she was doing. How truly sad this all is. Even worse, how truly scary it is for us!!
               ----- Original       Message -----
           From: Sila       Miller
           To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
           Cc: fcb-l@xxxxxxx
           Sent: Sunday,       January 19, 2014 8:47 AM
           Subject: [tabi] Today       is a sad and shameful day
Good morning All,   As many may recall, Robert was struck by a semi truck while crossing a street here in Tallahassee, in August. The driver, doubtless, trying to save his commercial driver’s license contested the charge and a non-jury trial was set for January 15th.   Three witnesses (including Robert BUT NOT investigating Officer Thompson who did not show up for court) testified at that trial about the events surrounding the incident. It was established by all witnesses during testimony that Robert was indeed obeying traffic signals. One witness stated, “The dog should have never left the curb”. Defendant, Wesley Truesdell testified that Robert walked into the truck which he’d brought to a stop when he finally saw Robert. Presiding Hearing Officer, Gary Roberts seemed thorough and fair to me and I was hopeful that the right decision would be forthcoming, as he promised to read the White Cane Safety law.   Unfortunately, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Today when we went to the website for Leon County Traffic Court, we found that case #2013 TR 037367 against Defendant: Wesley Truesdell was DISMISSED.   I amended to Robert’s early August message which basically outlines events as they unfolded for him. I do not know if the White Cane Safety law has ever been challenged in court before but I am afraid that this will set precedence for a safe future for blind pedestrians. I am appalled at decisions made by law enforcers who are supposed to protect the rights, not privileges of citizens. I have, and will maintain that driving is a privilege, while walking (crossing streets) safely is a right.   Any recourse is gone now, as re-charging Mr. Truesdell would be double-jeopardy. I could not feel more like a second-class citizen or less protected by authorities. What of the Mayor’s White Cane proclamation in October? What of Sherman’s medal of valor? How could someone “walk into a truck” and get a bruise on the area of the upper-arm as Robert had? What of Mr. Truesdell’s change in story which caused Tallahassee Police personnel to decide to charge him after all? Is the investigating officer’s absence (lack of testimony) representative that the police department actually believes Mr. Truesdell is not at fault? Is Robert’s persistence in demanding that Mr. Truesdell be charged with the White Cane Safety law and upsetting Officer Thompson who wasn’t going to charge Mr. Truesdell with a violation an excuse for not upholding the White Cane Safety law, clearly broken, even if Robert “walked into that truck”? Am I reading the White Cane Safety law incorrectly to believe that the driver is at fault for entering the intersection while a blind pedestrian was in process of crossing with a guide dog?  
----- Original Message ----- From: Easy Talk
           To: Kirk       Harmon ; Mike Ulrich
           Cc: fcb-l@xxxxxxx
           Sent: Monday, August       05, 2013 5:49 AM
Subject: Re: [fcb-l] Fw: [tabi] Blind Tallahassee Man Has A Brush With DeathAt An Intersection

Just getting law enforcement to be aware of the White Cane law would be a major step and more important is getting them to have the right attitude.  In both cases where I was hit I had to demand that the driver be charged with violating the White cane law.  As soon as you ask the officer if they are aware of the law, they get defensive and cop the attitude that you are trying to tell them how to do there job.  The first time I was hit, the officer did charge the driver but when I got home, I got a call from the officer and he told me he was going to resend the ticket since the driver of the car behind the one that hit me saw me push the wrong button.  In my most recent situation, the officer told me she wasn't going to site the driver since he was driving a semi and they take more room to make a turn  and he was already making his turn when I started to cross the street which was a lie.  The street I was crossing was 3 lanes and I was almost across the second lane and approaching the third lane when he made a rolling right turn on green.at which point when Sherman stopped, I was about 18 inches from the truck, As I was cursing the driver, a blinker sticking out about mid ways of the trailer hit me on the back of my right arm and knocked me down since I had Sherman's leash in my right hand. At some point I transferred Sherman's leash to my left hand and as I was falling, Sherman pulled me back and to the left which is what kept me from going under the truck.  The first thing the driver said when he got out of his truck was, I didn't see you man, I'm sorry.  By the time the officer arrived on the scene The driver figured out, it wouldn't be a good thing to tell the cop he didn't see me so he told her he saw me waiting to cross the street but he was already making his turn and basically I walked in to the side of his truck.
When I tried to explain all this to the officer, she was having no part of it and kept saying what the other witnesses said of which there were 3 other than the driver and the 3 witnesses certainly didn't say to me what the officer was saying so I ask her what witnesses she was referring to and she said she was talking about the driver of the truck.  I ask her what about what I was telling her, that I was a witness and I was there and I was still alive.  I certainly got the impression she thought since I couldn't see I wasn't a credible witness.  This pissed me off and so I told her, lets look at the evidence and explained to her based on where I was hit by the blinker and   where I was in the road there is no way the accident could have happened the way the driver said it did. After standing out in the sun for 45 minutes while the cop was in her car talking to her sergeant and dispatch, she came back and I ask her if she had read the white cane law she said yes.  I then ask her if she was going to site the driver and she said no.  She said I was free to go.  I told her she hadn't heard the last of this and when I got home, I called the police department and spoke to SGT Simms and explained basically what I have posted here and he backed the officer's decision and even inferred for some time she didn't even know I was blind and the driver didn't either.  I informed SGT Simms they would be hearing from my attorney.  I called back a few minutes later to request a copy of the police report and by that time things had changed and I was informed that the driver had been sited for violating the White Cane law but they weren't going to site him for violation of the pedestrian safety law.
Until we get the legislation passed we have been trying for the last 3 years each incident will be your own battle but isn't going to do anything to change things state wide.
If you want to read how screwed up what some sighted people thing about blind people and the White Cane law, go to wctv.tv and open the link to the article and then hit space bar on the like button.  the comments start after the third header on the page.
                      -----         Original Message -----
               From: Kirk         Harmon
               To: Mike         Ulrich
               Cc: Easy         Talk ; &lt;fcb-l@xxxxxxx&gt;
               Sent: Sunday,         August 04, 2013 8:05 PM
Subject: Re: [fcb-l] Fw: [tabi] Blind Tallahassee Man Has A Brush With Death At An Intersection
Good for you Mike! As far as you your quest for solid white miniature candy canes attach to the law we did that in Orlando many many years ago when we went back to do it for the last time the manufacture of the candy canes that gave us white candy canes a quick Mcmanimon know we could get was the red and white or gray and whiiings. Good luck to you as I worked  hard on finding another manufacturer that would provide us with a solid white miniatur to no avail. As far as getting the public To become familiar with the Whit can e law, it will be in matter of consistency  by our law enforcement community to site people when they make the infraction of this law and to continue doing so here and you're out it is also a wise idea, I believe, to educate the new young drivers through high schools etc.. Consistency in longevity yin my opinion through these law enforcement efforts will be the only way people will actually realize this law is there to be followed I believe also we will save many many lives in the long run. Kudo to your efforts, Kirk
Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 4, 2013, at 7:35 PM, "Mike Ulrich" &lt;mulrich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx&gt; wrote: Holy cow Robert! Glad to have you back among the living breathing and still walking!   Speaking of Too close for comfort close calls, I will be working with our City of Cape Coral Police Department’s Public Affairs Officer; Lieutenant Tony Sizemore with a new program. This will be a program in which the traffic officers will be handing out warnings to motorists breaking the right turn on red law, and blocking of Pedestrian cross walks, that is, stopping past the stop bar. At least this is where it stands as of now. I intend on bumping it up to include educating the driving public on the White Cane Law of Florida. But it is now at the first step of the poker game! Know what I mean? What I’d really like to do, is to get the officers to hand out a card with the Florida White Cane Law printed on it along with a kind of candy cane type  candy, but  shaped like a white cane! I’m having a hard time locating a candy making company that could make these White Cane candies in bulk, at either a pro-bono price or at as little price as possible.     The Police Department will be blasting out this program to all of its Social Networks and through the local media outlets as a program of the Cape Coral Police Department  in cooperation with the Southwest Florida Council of the Blind. They will be doing this program  as a two pronged approach. Starting right now, and during the week of October 15 National White Cane Safety Week!   I am looking very much forward to working with the CCPD with this whole program, but it all depends on the driving public actually remembering not only the White Cane Law, but to look out for all pedestrians in general, and that’s always the big crap shoot! Ain’t it?     Good luck to all, and let’s be careful out there!........Mike   Michael D. Ulrich President Southwest Florida Council of the Blind “Providing Insight for Blindness” Home phone: 239-540-7431 Cell phone: 239-565-5845 Email: mulrich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx       From: fcb-l-bounces@xxxxxxx [mailto:fcb-l-bounces@xxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Easy Talk
Sent: Sunday, August 04, 2013           8:07 AM
To: fcb-l@xxxxxxx
Subject: [fcb-l] Fw: [tabi] Blind Tallahassee Man Has A Brush With Death At An Intersection

----- Original Message ----- From: Easy Talk
                   To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
                   Sent: Sunday,           August 04, 2013 7:58 AM
Subject: [tabi] Blind Tallahassee Man Has A Brush With Death At An Intersection

 Blind Tallahassee Man Has A Brush With Death At An Intersection 8-3-13 11pm
By: Bailey Myers
August 3rd, 2013
Tallahassee FL - A blind Tallahassee man had a brush with death Saturday at the intersection
of Killearn Center Boulevard and Village           Square.
Robert Miller explained, "If it wasn't for him...um...you would be doing a different
It's a story about his seeing eye dog, Sherman, who saved his life. Robert Miller has been blind since he was born, and has depended on his seeing eye dogs since he was seventeen, but on Saturday that bond between man and dog was tested. "He lunged to the left and back, pulling me away from the truck," Miller said. Miller also said Sherman stopped him in the middle of the cross walk before a semi-truck rounding the corner was able to fully hit him. Instead it only hit his right arm,
knocking him over in the middle of the intersection.
"And I've been hit twice at that intersection, and it could very well have cost me
my life," said Miller.
Both Miller and his wife Sila, who is also legally blind, take that walk every day.
Hoping that           people obey the traffic laws.
Particularly one law, Florida's White Cane Law, which states: "Whenever a pedestrian is crossing... guided by a dog guide or carrying in a raised or extended position a cane... the driver of every vehicle approaching the intersection...shall bring
his or her vehicle to a full stop.           "
The difficulty is, it doesn't seem like many people know about the law. When asked, 'Have you ever hear of the white cane law' one passer by said, "No I've never hear
of that."
Eyewitness News Reporter Bailey Myers asked more than a dozen passersby, and they
all had the same answer, 'No, I don't know it.'
According to Miller even the police officer who arrived after he was hit didn't know
about it either.
Robert's wife Sila Miller said, "It's very frustrating when your independence is compromised like that by someone just being in a hurry or not paying attention." Both of the Millers have been hit by a car at that intersection. Now, they just hope Florida's Legislature addresses the issue and work to get the word out about the
White Cane         Law.

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