Author Topic: Aptos man sentenced to prison in hit-and-run case that ended professional ... - San Jose Mercury New  (Read 1872 times)

Offline News Thetan

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Aptos man sentenced to prison in hit-and-run case that ended professional ... - San Jose Mercury News
25 June 2011, 12:06 am

Thomas John Legan gets two-year term; Taylor Tolleson's injuries called permanent


By Cathy Kelly
Posted: 06/24/2011 08:58:28 PM PDT
Updated: 06/24/2011 11:18:55 PM PDT


Local cyclist Taylor Tolleson (Dan Coyro/Sentinel file)

SANTA CRUZ - It was clear during a Superior Court hearing Friday that the lives of two men were shattered, to varying degrees, because one of them struck a motorcycle on Highway 1 almost two years ago and drove away - without stopping or calling for help.

The injured motorcyclist, Taylor Tolleson, 26, was then being deemed "the next Lance Armstrong" in publications such as the New York Times, prosecutor Jason Gill said.

The driver, Thomas John Legan, 27, has been twice arrested for driving under the influence and then convicted of reckless driving. He has been ticketed five times for vehicle code violations such as running a red light, making an unsafe lane change, not wearing a seat belt and more.

Legan was sentenced to two years in prison for the July 23, 2009, felony hit-and-and run that caused great bodily injury. He had admitted to the charge after Judge Paul Marigonda indicated he would sentence him to no more than two years in prison.

Legan had been drinking that night, Gill said.

His attorney, Donald M. Kelly, said Legan was an addict who initially become addicted to medication prescribed for him to treat a mental illness.

Tolleson, an exceptional athlete, was living in Santa Cruz. He was riding north just before midnight when he was struck. He was thrown 800 feet and "left for dead," Gill said.

Legan called friends, abandoned the Audi registered to his father - a Capitola dentist - and went to a bar, Gill said.

"(The victim) is alive not because of what he did, but despite what he did," Gill said.

Tolleson's accomplishments are vast and include being a triathlete, an Xterra world champion as a young teen and then going on to be a world-class professional cyclist by age 19, his father, Rob Tolleson of Aptos, said during the hearing.

Tolleson has suffered permanent neurological and other injuries, Gill said.

In a passionate statement, Tolleson - a thin, handsome man with noticeable facial injuries - tried to explain to Marigonda what losing the life he had dreamed of living since he was boy and had sacrificed so hard to attain meant to him.

He was composed and eloquent. His parents' words were heartbreaking as they described watching him suffer.

"It's the thing I love to do, my passion," Taylor Tolleson said. "That's who I am. That was all taken away from me."

Tolleson said he was in pain every day. He was difficult to hear without a microphone, though it was clear that he agreed with his parents that he was "really lucky" to be alive.

Tears threatened and Tolleson stopped speaking and walked back to his seat. His parents had stood on either side of him at a podium, addressing Marigonda. Six young people sat in the audience behind the family.

Legan sat, miserably it appeared, at a table beside his attorney. His parents and a counselor from the Narconon drug rehabilitation program sat in the audience.

He read a statement too, also not facing the other young man or his family. He expressed pain and remorse and asked to be allowed to continue his rehabilitation and work with other recovering addicts.

"I was a drug addict and I went about everything as a drug addict," he said. "I hate myself. But I'm a different person now and I can only move forward."

Legan said he would be willing to never drive again and urged Marigonda to give him a chance to live as a sober person.

"I didn't know what I hit," he said. "I'm so sorry for not stopping."

Marigonda outlined 17 factors criminal judges consider when deciding a sentence - nine factors about the circumstances of the case and eight to assess whether someone should be placed on probation. The factors are considered under a "not very high standard" of a "preponderance of evidence," he said.

Legan has many factors in his favor, Marigonda said. Yet Marigonda said he was struck by the serious and permanent injuries Tolleson suffered, his vulnerability as a victim on a motorcycle and the increasing seriousness of Legan's driving offenses.

more at http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_18349496
« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 11:49 by ethercat »
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Offline ethercat

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Legan sat, miserably it appeared, at a table beside his attorney. His parents and a counselor from the Narconon drug rehabilitation program sat in the audience.

He read a statement too, also not facing the other young man or his family. He expressed pain and remorse and asked to be allowed to continue his rehabilitation and work with other recovering addicts.

Narconon was there because they knew that if Legan went to jail, it would lose a client and potential employee.  They're more concerned with their clients paying them than they are with their criminal clients paying their debts to society and the injured.
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Offline mefree

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Will Narconon continue to support Legan as he serves his time or are they done with him?
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
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Offline wynot

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Will Narconon continue to support Legan as he serves his time or are they done with him?

They might. Who knows, some of them may actually like the guy, or at least feel sorry for him. Besides, it won't cost them much to send him a letter once in a while, to keep him in comm until he gets out. They do seem to be short of bodies lately, y` know?

'til next time;
wynot
"When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before."

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Offline Mary_McConnell

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 Sad story about the victim.  Jail time will do Legan good, especially better than Narconon program and staff, IMHO
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 04:18 by Mary_McConnell »
I am a volunteer advocate for victims of the Narconon scam. I am a former scientologist. I post anonymously. Mary McConnell is my long time nom de plume. Feel free to contact me for assistance in righting the wrongs.

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