Muscatine man to serve 6 months in jail for cyclist’s death

Updated with info in italics

Clark Anderson is a lucky guy.

The Muscatine, Iowa, man was charged at one point with vehicular homicide for the death of Jerry Person, who was killed Sept. 4, 2007, while riding his bicycle. Anderson could have faced up to 25 years in prison, but for the subsequent deaths of two witnesses and another witness who couldn’t be found when needed to prosecute the driver. (This was reported in an Associated Press story in various media this week.)

His sentence in a plea deal? He’s supposed to do six months in jail for leaving the scene of a fatal accident and driving with a revoked license.

Someone runs me down and leaves me for dead on the side of the road, I hope he gets the max. If you witness my demise, please stick around for the trial. I’d appreciate it.

If anyone has more information about Jerry Person, who was identified as “formerly of Fort Smith, Ark.,” please pass it along. I couldn’t find much and am curious.

For now, pedal on. Carefully.

Jennifer Meyer of the Muscatine Journal sent these links in response to an email, in which I asked for additional information about the victim:

She added: “No one from Mr. Person’s family or any friends attended the sentencing on his behalf.”

Little more seems to be known about him. Melissa Regennitter, who covered the story initially for the Muscatine Journal, said she understood he was homeless and was seen often in the West Liberty area.

I also asked the prosecutor – Alan R. Ostergren – a few questions. Among other things, I wondered what it was in the witnesses’ statements that had led to the initial charge of vehicular homicide. His response:

“I cannot comment on the specifics of the investigation due to ethics rules which apply to prosecutors. I can state that Mr. Person was riding his bicycle southbound on County Road X-54 when he was struck from behind by Mr. Anderson’s vehicle. Mr. Person was killed instantly from the injuries suffered in the impact. We do not know where Mr. Person was headed at the time.

“We do not know how to contact Mr. Person’s family. The Muscatine County SO [Sheriff’s Office] conducted a thorough investigation but were unable to find next-of-kin for him.”



I may have hit the delete button too quickly this morning on what I thought was spam. It said something about telling the other side of a story. If you posted that, please comment again and I promise to take a closer look at it. Thanks.

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3 Responses to “Muscatine man to serve 6 months in jail for cyclist’s death”

  1. 1 Gene January 13, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Six months for hit and run? That’s ridiculous, even for a plea bargain. Sounds like prosecutor’s office wasn’t too interested in the case.
    Up in Minneapolis, a 41-year-old woman was sentenced to 27 months in prison after pleading guilty to criminal vehicular homicide. Police also cited her at the time for DUI. Until you wrote about his Muscatine case, I would have said she got off light.

  2. 2 Rita Liddell January 13, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    … until we can educate the general public that any bicyclist has the same right to use road as they do with their mobile home, SUV, car or motorcycle it will be difficult for law enforcement to do their job. The public does not support bicyclist who want to ride on the roads. And even if police arrest and charge offenders, a jury of peers often hands down a very light sentence. Law enforcement officers tend not to ticket when they believe it is a ‘waste of their time” because it will tie them up in court and the outcome is not worth it.

    Again, educate, educate, educate one person at a time, one vehicle at a time, cyclist on the road. One by one we can change this course.

  3. 3 jerry January 13, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    voters, pay attention to the records of judges up for reelection.

    Until cars are designated as lethal weapons the riding public is is SOL.

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