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  • Richard L. Duquette

Motorist Pleads Guilty in Crash that Killed Handcyclist

On January 5, 2015, in the city of Palm Desert, Mrs. Rose Peters of Durango, Colorado, was killed while riding her hand cycle as a result of the negligent driving of Mrs. Judy Mae Purcell. Mrs. Peters was survived by her husband of 53 years, James Peters, and her two daughters, Gina Peters and Stephanie (Peters) Lee. The family has now successfully resolved the matter to each party's mutual satisfaction, reaching a substantial settlement.

The survivors were represented by Richard L. Duquette, Esq., who specializes in advocating the interests of bicyclists and ensuring their safety. His office is located in Oceanside, California. Mr. Duquette's co-counsel, Browne Greene, Esq., of the prestigious Santa Monica firm, Greene, Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, was invaluable in the negotiation of the resolution.

Mr. and Mrs. Peters were avid cyclists, and loved to travel. They had participated in several cross country expeditions in their motorhome during their retirement years. They would spend summers at their home in Durango and would often winter in Palm Desert. Due to their deep commitment to bicycling and their travels, the couple was well-known and beloved by bicyclists throughout the region. In fact, on February 15th, shortly after the tragic accident, their local bicycling community in Palm Desert spontaneously organized the "Ride Red for Rose" event that drew many participants and a large number of spectators in support. According to Mr. Duquette, "Regardless of compensation, the survivors wished to underscore the importance of sharing the roads with bicyclists. By resolving this matter civilly, the interests of all bicyclists were protected and confirmed."

Mr. Duquette wishes to express thanks and admiration to all the deputies at the Palm Desert station of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, who devoted extensive manpower and resources to determine the cause of the incident. Without the Department's thorough investigation, the early resolution of the matter would have been unlikely.

Swift action against negligent drivers has far-reaching implications to all bicycling communities in the nation. The resolution of this matter again highlights the benefit of joint efforts among trial attorneys, clients, and bicycle advocates to promote safety.

The Peters family kindly asks that any donations be made to the Adaptive Sports Association (ASA) in memory of Rose Peters. The ASA programs help enrich and transform the lives of people with disabilities through sports and recreation. Donations can be made at online at or by printing a donation form and sending it to P.O. Box 1884 – Durango, CO 81302. Fax: 970-259-2175.

The motorist, Judy Mae Purcell, just plead guilty to a vehicular manslaughter charge. Ms. Purcell is set to be sentenced shortly.

Click the link below for the full news story.


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