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Driver Indicted for Killing Cyclist

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

12/22/20, 8:30PM

Anne Arundel County, Maryland

BIKE LAW ANNOUNCES THE INDICTMENT OF CARL BEHLER FOR KILLING CYCLIST AND INJURING OTHERS

 

Today, Carl Behler appeared in court for the first time for killing cyclist Arthur Carter and injuring others. He was indicted on Friday (12/18) by the Anne Arundel County Grand Jury and promptly arrested and detained for 7 crimes related to the March 8, 2020 crash in which he drove across the double-yellow line and into a group of 7 cyclists.

Today, he asked a judge to be released upon bail; however, the judge refused and held him in custody without bail pending trial. The Law Office of Peter Wilborn (the Founder of the Bike Law Network) represents the victims of the crash, and Bike Law National Director Rachael Maney is their spokesperson and advocate.

News of the indictment and his arrest has been embargoed until here and now.

The signed indictment is attached in its entirety below.

 

Bike Law Director Rachael Maney Reports

9 months and 14 days ago in Annapolis, Maryland, Carl Leslie Behler, with cocaine, cocaine metabolites, and Alprazolam in his blood system, drove his GMC Yukon across the double yellow centerline plowing head-on into 7 cyclists and our personal friends as they rode single file to the right of the fog line in broad daylight. Behler killed Air Force Veteran, husband, son, grandfather and bicyclist Arthur Carter (position 1) on impact. Jeff Adler (position 2) was flown to shock trauma with life threatening injuries, a traumatic amputation, and countless shattered bones. He was there for months in isolation while the Covid-19 pandemic kept his wife, Deb, and teenage son at home during his long, painful, and ongoing recovery. He is lucky to be alive. Kathleen Hayes (position 3) was also flown to shock trauma as the 4 other cyclists on the group ride, who were scattered along the roadway, scrambled to do anything and everything they could to save Arthur, keep Jeff alive, and preserve the integrity of the crash scene and evidence. 

To most, March 8th, 2020 seems like a lifetime ago. For us, it feels like yesterday. It is so important to remember that no new news doesn’t always mean there isn’t any news. In fact, oftentimes it means that there is really difficult work being done. 

 

Behler is behind bars for killing cyclist Arthur Carter

Our 7 friends, cyclists, and active bike advocates in Maryland, and experienced cyclists with over 100 years of combined riding time between them, deserve nothing less. Carl Behler (who was indicted on all 7 criminal charges by a grand jury last Friday, December 18th) stood before a judge at 11AM this morning, and during his bail hearing, without hesitation, was ordered to remain there, and is being held without bail pending trial.

For 9 months and 14 days, Peter Wilborn, the founding attorney of Bike Law who is representing all 7 of the crash victims including Candy Carter (Arthur’s widow), and I, have been, and continue to be incredibly grateful for the cooperative, dedicated, and reciprocal working relationships Bike Law has with the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Office, Prosecutor Carolynn Grammas, police investigators, Anne Arundel County Law Enforcement, and of course the friends and loved ones we have the honor to represent.

When a motorist with a total disregard for human life kills and injures cyclists, the immediate response from not only our community, but from many outside of our echo chamber, is to question why the driver isn’t charged with a crime. “Why weren’t they charged with murder?!”  Or instantly thrown in jail where they belong? Or under it? We toss around emotional accusations that police and prosecutors don’t care, or even worse, aren’t honoring their duties or doing their jobs. Those knee-jerk reactions are justified. They are normal. Sometimes I, speaking as a person who never gets work calls from anyone on their best day, share those sentiments. Sometimes the anger and the heartache are so overwhelming that I question if what is broken can actually be fixed.

The legal process, no matter how “minor” or catastrophic the bicycle crash may be, is a long, frustrating, dissatisfying one. We can’t quantify the value of human life or the suffering caused by the loss of it either. No matter how hard we work or how good the job is that we do, the pain doesn’t go away. Each professional involved in a bike crash can only do what procedure, policy, and the laws allow them to do. I can confidently say that the grief-stricken paralysis we feel as bicyclists, husbands, wives, friends, parents, and victims of bicycle crashes ourselves, is not always exclusively our own. For 9 months and 14 days, I have worked closely with the people who have the authority and the ability to dovetail the civil and criminal parts of this tragic case, and each and every one of them stepped up to the plate to help us get closer to the most desired outcome in the context of the worst possible situation. We want today what we wanted on March 8th. We want justice.

 

Today’s Hearing: Behler faces over 26 years in prison

Our exclusive report that Behler now faces over 26 years in prison and 7 criminal charges would not exist but for the commitment and tireless efforts of everyone who’s been working together, including Anne Arundel County police, state prosecutor Carolynn Grammas, and of course our law firm’s team of dedicated staff. 

Judge Sydney Butcher read all 7 counts and their associated penalties aloud before remarking, “this matter has been indicted so you do not have a right to a preliminary hearing. You do have a right to a jury trial…where you, your attorney, and a prosecutor will select 12 individuals from Anne Arundel County. Those individuals will sit and listen to your matter. Unanimously they have to find you guilty or not guilty. If the result is a hung jury, the State’s Attorney’s Office can elect to try you over and over again until there’s a unanimous verdict.”

Carolynn Grammas, prosecutor for the SOA, opened with this remark: “The state would ask that you hold him [Behler] without bond. This involves 7 cyclists who were riding single file, westbound on East College Parkway. The defendant was heading eastbound, in the opposite direction, on the same roadway when he completely came over the centerline all the way to the shoulder where the 7 cyclists were riding, and struck the first two cyclists head-on. He was operating a GMC Yukon.” Grammas continued, “[the defendant, Carl Behler] remained on scene- was not injured in the crash. He admitted that he fell asleep…He admitted to taking Tylenol PM that was making him sleepy. As he was writing out a statement he had trouble staying awake. When they took him in the patrol vehicle to the hospital in order to do a mandatory blood draw he fell asleep. The blood kit was sent to the Maryland State Police with the results that the defendant had cocaine, Alprazolam, and metabolites for cocaine in his blood system.”

“We believe he is a danger. He has continued to use his prior address. He hasn’t lived there- he sold the house in September. We believe he is, number one, a danger to the community, and number two, to ensure his appearance at trial, we are asking that you hold him without bond.”

Behler’s defense attorney, Drew Cochran, responded by misquoting his client’s age by a decade before asking that Judge Butcher “fashion a reasonable bond in this matter.” 

Judge Butcher asked defense counsel to “help [me] in terms of what Madame State is saying in terms of the address. The address he provided is not the address where he’s actually residing.”

Cochran answered with an “I don’t know..”

The Honorable Sydney Butcher ended the hearing by saying, “I’ve had a chance to review this. Mr. Cochran, I am going to continue to hold [Behler] without bond. This obviously goes directly to public safety. In addition to that, there is an issue as it relates to purpose of flight. There is not an explanation as to why [Behler] continues to keep using an address- when asked- for a location where he does not reside. Those are the two issues, and I am going to continue to hold him without bond.”

Everyone involved in this case is doing their job. Is it (ever) enough? No. But it’s exactly what needs to occur within the parameters of what our justice system allows. 

Peter and I now have a different kind of work to do as we begin the next phase of representing Candy, Jeff, Kathleen, and our 4 other friends who are deserving of lasting justice. We have a duty to them, to ourselves, and our community to support Carolynn Grammas and the Maryland SAO in their pursuit for the most aggressive sentencing possible. And we take our responsibilities to our clients so seriously that our focus on policy and legislative reform, as well as cultural and social change, are as important to us today as they were on March 8th. 

We will continue to keep you updated as the process continues and we thank you for your continued trust and support in our pursuit of justice for these and for all cyclists. 

Here is the signed indictment.

Bike Law MD indictment

 

***

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND ALL PRESS INQUIRIES, CONTACT RACHAEL MANEY, [email protected]

Updates will be posted here and on our Facebook page @bikelaw.

Bike Law is a National Network of Independent Law Firms that represent injured cyclists.  The Bike Law Foundation (its non-profit arm) promotes legal reform, advocates for better biking for all, and fights for justice for all cyclists.

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