A driver charged with fatally striking cyclist Alexis Bounds pleaded guilty on Friday to a careless driving charge resulting in death.
David Anton, 51, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge on Friday at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver. He has agreed to complete 200 hours of community service. He is expected to have his license suspended for at least one year when he’s sentenced next month.
Anton was driving a 40,000-pound dump truck when he turned and struck Bounds, 37, who was cycling on a bike lane near Bayaud and Marion Street. Her death led to widespread outcry and calls for safer bike lanes.
Both Bounds’ and Anton’s families were present in the courtroom when Anton pleaded guilty. Denver Judge Nicole M. Rodarte said these cases are “the most difficult cases to deal with” in the courtroom. She acknowledged both families’ presence.
The maximum possible penalty for the charge was a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in prison. Bounds’ husband, Teddy, said afterward he doesn’t think the laws for incidents like these are strong enough.
“It’s never going to feel like enough,” Teddy Bounds said outside the courtroom Friday. “The horrific nature of it and the fact that my wife lost her life and that we’re kind of left dealing with the outcome of this and the aftermath, it’s just never going to feel like enough.”
Teddy Bounds said he wanted Anton’s license to be suspended, but he said he was disappointed it wasn’t longer than a year. He said he hopes the decision brings more awareness to people sharing city streets with other road users.
He called on infrastructure improvements to be made to improve cyclist safety. The parkway where Bounds was killed is getting a protected bike lane.
“Just be sure, check your mirrors,” Teddy Bounds said. “Understand you are riding next to a bike lane, especially in this area in particular.”
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in a release Friday said this “terrible tragedy” had an impact on the broader community in Denver.
“We are pleased that Mr. Anton has accepted responsibility for his actions and that the cycling community is bringing attention to the need for motorists to be vigilant in watching for cyclists,” McCann said in the release.
Anton’s attorney Rhidian Orr said his client asked Bounds’ family to pick a charity to serve his community service; they picked Craig Hospital in Englewood. Orr said normally, a case would go directly to sentencing after the plea. But after discussions with the Denver District Attorney’s Office, he said the family wanted to gather and have more time before the sentencing.
“These are the kind of cases where they’re all victims,” Orr said. “Mr. Anton turned, didn’t see the mother, the wife, and the impact is on the side of the truck. He took the right of way, he took responsibility for that and now we’re missing someone.”
Orr said during Friday’s court appearance that Anton was “completely devastated by the fact that he didn’t see her that day.” His remarks were cut off by Rodarte, who said they would be more suited for next month’s sentencing.
Anton will be sentenced on Jan. 24. Bounds’ family is expected to make a statement at that time.