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Court Offers Plea Deal Over Cyclist’s Death

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Relatives of cyclist John Colvin, killed by a motorist in a collision in North Laguna two years ago, read statements that struggled to capture the enormity of the loss they endure during a court hearing on Monday, Oct. 5.

The hearing in Superior Court in Santa Ana was for Dylan Thomas Randluby, 20, of Emerald Bay, charged in February with felony hit and run and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in Colvin’s death on June 17, 2014.

At the hearing, Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert R. Fitzpatrick proposed the defendant accept a reduced one-year sentence in county jail, which was not immediately accepted by Randluby’s defense attorney, Jan Christie. She did not return phone calls seeking comment.

If the offer is rejected at another hearing set for Monday, Oct. 19, the case will go to trial. If convicted, Randluby faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison.

“I so desperately don’t want this to go to trial,” said Joan Marcus-Colvin. Though she expressed dismay at the leniency of the court’s sentencing offer, Colvin said she would prefer to avoid re-experiencing the pain produced by a recounting of the circumstances that led to her husband’s death.

“I was so angry at trying to put down in writing the loss we’ve endured because it’s so immense,” said Colvin, who read a statement on behalf of herself and her daughters, Natalie, 23, and Shayna, 20, who are both enrolled in college. Nevertheless, in her statement she asked the court to hold Randluby accountable for his actions.

Court records show Randluby was cited previously for speeding and traffic offenses.

At an earlier preliminary hearing on July 21, prosecutor Stephen Roy Cornwell called witnesses to support the charges of negligence and hit and run. He said witnesses described seeing Randluby’s car drift out of traffic lanes and flee a mile from the collision with his head out the window because of a cracked windshield before stopping when witnesses who chased him pulled alongside. Colvin died at the scene.

Asked what evidence was introduced to explain why the collision occurred, Cornwell said, “we could only guess at that. If we had evidence, we might have proved gross negligence,” Cornwell said, which would have added a second a felony charge.

Joan Marcus-Colvin addresses cyclists assembled in Heisler Park last year before the memorial ride in honor of her husband.

Joan Marcus-Colvin addresses cyclists assembled in Heisler Park last year before the memorial ride in honor of her husband.

Cornwell said a cell phone was retrieved from Randluby’s car and it had been recently used. “It wasn’t part of our evidence,” Cornwell said.

On the day of his death, Colvin, 55, was training for his second Ironman triathlon.

His widow and their two daughters led a street-safety protest in Laguna Beach in the weeks after his death that prompted renewed efforts to reduce bicyclist and pedestrian accidents and improve crosswalk safety.

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About the Author
The author is the editor of the Laguna Beach Independent. Prior to taking the job in 2005, she worked previously as a reporter at five daily newspapers, including the Daily Pilot in Costa Mesa, the Daily News of Los Angeles and the New York Times. Reach her by emailing [email protected]
  1. Sherry

    One year is no compensation for the loss of a husband, father, son, uncle, cousin, community leader, friend. Nor is it enough penalty to make others consider the consequences of their actions. My prayers and support for the family!

  2. Brett howser

    Parents – tell your teenagers to keep off their phones when they drive! And if you find out they are phoning & driving then ban them from driving. And don’t text and drive yourselves. This behaviour must stop. One year in jail for taking Colvin’s life is a small price to pay for such a horrible act – but if Randluby is dumb enough to text & drive he’s probably dumb enough to take this to trial and get 4 years in a prison where he’ll be the hunted, not the hunter. So sad for all, especially the widow.

  3. Opus the Poet

    One year in county lockup for killing a human being and then leaving him to die? Especially with statewide overcrowding leading to 2 for one days in jail he’ll be out in 6 months or less depending on how much credit he got for time in jail before the conviction.

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