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Street Racer sentenced to 6 years in jail



BEND, Ore. - A 20-year-old man was sentenced to six years and three months in prison for his role in a drag race that ended with two dead.

David Black was sentenced Monday in Deschutes County Circuit Court on his conviction for second-degree manslaughter. His co-defendant, Randy Clifford, 21, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was sentenced to six months in jail.

On Aug. 9, 2003, prosecutors say Clifford and Black raced 16-year-old Danielle O'Neil Gates on a rural two-lane highway.

Gates lost control of her car as she rounded a corner and was T-boned by the van of then 19-year-old Katie Reznick, who was seriously injured in the accident. Gates and Stephanie Beeksma, 15, a passenger in Gates' car, were killed in the accident.

Clifford negotiated a plea settlement with prosecutors, pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide and fourth-degree assault. David Black said he wouldn't negotiate a settlement because he didn't feel responsible for what happened.

Julie Rehanek, Beeksma's mother, said she was still trying to come to grips with the fatal accident.

"I buried my daughter in a wedding dress because I knew I wouldn't ever see her married," Rehanek said. "There was something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue."

Reznick, who lives in Sisters, said prison sentences for Black and Clifford were appropriate, if it sent a message to others about speed racing.

"I bet you anything they (Beeksma and Gates' parents) would love to see their kids in prison and not dead," she said. "If that's what it takes for all of these kids in Oregon to realize it's wrong, then that's what it takes."

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
 

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Takes two to race. The dead girl chose to play and paid with her life. The shame was her friend paid too. Glad it sends a message. Might made the ricers and the squids think twice.
 

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RIP to the souls that were involved in this accident...BUT the souls of whom are deceased were guilty too of "speed racing"
 

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guilty

I agree that the girl made her own choice; however, the young man's activities contributed to the actions that caused her death. He too should have plead guilty and accepted a plea bargain. It was another bad choice that he can recollect on for the next 6 years.
 

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RACER X said:
Clifford negotiated a plea settlement with prosecutors, pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide and fourth-degree assault. David Black said he wouldn't negotiate a settlement because he didn't feel responsible for what happened.
At least he stuck to his guns....


RACER X said:
Reznick, who lives in Sisters, said prison sentences for Black and Clifford were appropriate, if it sent a message to others about speed racing.

"If that's what it takes for all of these kids in Oregon to realize it's wrong, then that's what it takes."
Yea,cuse a prison sentence is going to teach other people a lesson :drool Yea right! Whata bunch of bullshit, thats been tried since the begining of time. They should be let free but forced to pay restitution.
 

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how do you pay for somebody's life, lets say an innocent bystander vs a person who's racing.....and do you think $50/week is gonna compensate anything........

it's called a message, if you do stupid shit and endanger the public, your gonna pay.
 

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Well we see what the real point is here. don't race girls, they can't drive.
 

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I think they could be charged with a bunch of stuff, but anything relating to the deaths of someone else racing? Nope. The two guys were not responsible for the control of the other vehicle. That is up to the driver. At any point the girl could have not stomped on the accelerator.
They were racing and they are guilty of whatever crimes that includes, but I don't assign blame to them for the deaths of the girls. If I start scrapping on the street with another biker- it's not his fault if I get in over my head and eat it.
 

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Ouch..... that one was kinda low...
 

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TheSollyLama said:
I think they could be charged with a bunch of stuff, but anything relating to the deaths of someone else racing? Nope. The two guys were not responsible for the control of the other vehicle. That is up to the driver. At any point the girl could have not stomped on the accelerator.
They were racing and they are guilty of whatever crimes that includes, but I don't assign blame to them for the deaths of the girls. If I start scrapping on the street with another biker- it's not his fault if I get in over my head and eat it.
Yeah, I agree with that. She's the one that chose to race and loose control, they didn't force her to race. Now if they'd been driving and lost control and killed people, then that'd be understandable with what they were charged with. It's amazing, people that rape, or even murder in some cases get less jail time. They were just being made an example of.
 

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RACER X said:
how do you pay for somebody's life, lets say an innocent bystander vs a person who's racing.....and do you think $50/week is gonna compensate anything........

it's called a message, if you do stupid shit and endanger the public, your gonna pay.

Well I think it would have to be a hell of a lot more then $50/week but I don't think that putting him in jail really solves anything. It definetly doesn't send the message that it is intended to send (see drug dealing and countless other situations where prison time is given out but the crimes still precist)

I think that if the people commiting these so called crimes were to pay the family handsomely instead of sitting around in jail just rotting, at least they would be serving a purpose i.e. paying the family (easing the burden of death) and the person wouldn't be sitting in jail using up MY tax dollors!!!
 

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I have mixed feelings here... she died because she chose to race. But then again, the folks in the other vehicle who survived need to be punished in some way too.... but I don't necessarily think they need to be punished for the deaths.
 

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Mykl said:
I have mixed feelings here... she died because she chose to race. But then again, the folks in the other vehicle who survived need to be punished in some way too.... but I don't necessarily think they need to be punished for the deaths.
i agree. they didnt force her off the road, force her to do anything. minimum charged with reckless driving and street racing. but for manslaughter? i dont see how they convicted them for it, thats just rediculous.
 

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bottom line - a 21 and 20 year old person should have better judgement than a 16 year old to even engage in a drag race so they are culpable in the deaths. Do you think the two girls would have died if the other car had not raced them?

You race on the street and contribute to a death and you are GUILTY. They will both have time to think about it. Personally, I'm glad to see them get jail time for it.
 

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I agree that they should punished to the full extent that the law allows for street racing. Not manslaughter though, her own actions killed her. If they ran her off the road or caused her to loose control, that would justifiable. Not just for racing though in my opinion.

What I really don't get is the passenger being prosecuted for it though. What was he supposed to do. Wrestle the wheel away from the guy or jump out the door? The driver is responsible for everything that happens in a vehicle no matter what your idiot passengers may be telling you.
 

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I agree. I don't think they are responsible for her death. They didn't hit her car or swerve at her, she lost control. They are guilty of many crimes, but homicide isn't one of them. If I race a bike from a light (which I don't do) and I hit a telephone pole, I certainly don't blame that other rider...it is my own damn fault and it was my own damn decision to do it. No one forced her to race.
 

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Don King said it best---"Only in America!!"...

Only is America does everyone but the person responsible get blamed (and prosecuted)...
 

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Desp said:
Well we see what the real point is here. don't race girls, they can't drive.

i agree. Those 2 guys lives are ruined because that girl lost control of her car. they should not of been racing on public roads, but 6 years is a long time to be paying for someone elses mistake.
 

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Desp said:
Well we see what the real point is here. don't race girls, they can't drive.
I hear ya...We never read threads about men who lose control of their rides and crash.. /rolls eyes
 
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