Followups: No jail for driver who hit bicycle rider; bail hearing for Alki burglary suspect; Beach Drive death investigation

Three followups this evening:

NO JAIL FOR DRIVER WHO ASSAULTED BICYCLIST: In King County Superior Court this morning, Judge Regina Cahan sentenced 38-year-old Erika Soerensen, the woman found guilty of assault last year for driving into 33-year-old Jake Vanderplas as he rode his bicycle on 26th SW in North Delridge. Prosecutors had recommended 3 months in jail for Soerensen, who has no felony record; the judge sentenced her to 240 hours of community service, and revoked her driver’s license for a year.

BAIL HEARING FOR ALKI BURGLARY SUSPECT: The 32-year-old White Center man arrested Thursday afternoon after an Alki burglary remains jailed tonight. A judge set his bail at $20,000 for this case, but he also has a no-bail warrant for a probation violation. We obtained the probable-cause document after his bail hearing; it says that after he stole a package from inside an apartment building in the 6000 block of SW Stevens, a resident saw and followed him. The suspect allegedly took containers of prescription drugs out of the box and dropped the box. The witness confronted him, and he gave those unopened bottles to the witness. He asked the witness not to call police, and then fled; the witness called 911 and stayed in pursuit. Along the way, the documents say, the suspect dropped more medication, threw his backpack into a recycling bin, and eventually hid in a backyard treehouse along the 6200 block of Admiral Way. The witness waited nearby for police; they soon found the suspect, who surrendered. They tracked down his backpack and found a smaller bag inside it that contained “hand tools commonly used in the commission of burglaries.” A check of the court system shows the suspect’s record goes back at least a decade.

BEACH DRIVE DEATH INVESTIGATION: The King County Medical Examiner’s Office says they still don’t know what caused the death of a woman found in the water off Emma Schmitz Overlook early yesterday, but they know who she is. We added that information to our original report earlier this evening.

16 Replies to "Followups: No jail for driver who hit bicycle rider; bail hearing for Alki burglary suspect; Beach Drive death investigation"

  • JN January 9, 2015 (7:18 pm)

    So, no actual long lasting punishment for attempted homicide. Speaks volumes about our cultures car obsession.

  • westseamike January 9, 2015 (7:30 pm)

    car obsession has absolutely nothing to do with this incident. This particular driver should be in jail.

  • Eaglelover January 9, 2015 (8:42 pm)

    REALLY? Seattle is going down–all the news? Time to move? Rediculus.

    and sad to say I live in Seattle, we moved here to get away from this stuff to the peninsula.

  • Kathy January 9, 2015 (9:40 pm)

    So was “temporary road rage” seen an excuse to reduce punishment for assault with a deadly vehicle from 3 months in jail to maybe 30 days of community service? If only the judge could have sentenced her to ride a bicycle in heavy traffic for 30 days. Please don’t say that taking away an abused license to operate a motorized vehicle should be considered a “punishment”.

  • Don Brubeck January 9, 2015 (10:24 pm)

    We can name her. Her name is Erika Soerensen. A jury of her peers found her guilty of assault.

    Her name, Erica Sorenson, and her reputation, is ruined because of her senseless rage and attempted homicide. It may not seem like enough justice because she is avoiding jail time, but maybe we don’t need vengeance and punishment at public expense in addition to what this will already do to Erica Sorenson’s life.

    It is a step forward to at least have police and prosecutors and a jury take this kind of crime with a deadly weapon seriously. Judges might follow the lead next. The verdict sends a message that the road is for more types of travel that just using a car, and that people have a serious responsibility to share the road and take the safety of others into account when they are operating something that can so easily injure or kill other people.

  • colleen January 10, 2015 (8:40 am)

    What an absurd sentence for Erika Soerensen. She tried to kill someone with her car. And next year she will be able to do so again. She should have her driver’s license suspended indefinitely, imho.

  • flimflam January 10, 2015 (8:42 am)

    wow. intentionally hit someone with your car, get scolded, can’t drive for a year…wow.

    not sure what sort of medical treatment this man needed, if any, but I would hope this vile woman had to pay for that at least. wow.

  • bettytheyeti January 10, 2015 (10:50 am)

    Will Ms. Erika Soerensen be sentenced to ride her BIKE now that her drivers license has been revoked one year for attempted homicide? That would be ironic. After re-reading the original report, I am even more appalled.

  • rob January 10, 2015 (11:36 am)

    one of our neighbors’ kids got in trouble for painting graffiti and got 500 hours. i thought that was pretty appropriate. he probably won’t be doing silly stuff like that anymore.

    less than half that for intentionally assaulting someone in a way that could easily result in them being killed? i can’t figure out how that makes sense to anyone.

    if she had walked up to him and whacked him with a baseball bat she’d probably have gotten at least some amount of jail. seems like any sort of act of this nature one could commit, using a car to do it will result in the least punishment. why are we ok with this?

  • Wb January 10, 2015 (11:44 am)

    So if I am threatened/injured by a driver while on my bike, I should not bother to report it? Sorry, Jake, that you took the time to do so and I’m hoping there were no lasting injuries.

  • Eric January 10, 2015 (12:21 pm)

    Like many judges, Judge Cahan will have to stand for re-election. I hope the people remember their justified outrage come election day.

  • LWC January 10, 2015 (1:21 pm)

    The irony is that the driver’s main punishment is to do the things that the victim does regularly by choice: serve the community and get around without a car.

  • Rick Hamell January 10, 2015 (3:09 pm)

    This seems to be more and more common. Drivers are getting what amounts to a slap on the wrist for attempted murder just because a bike is involved. Heck, even when the bicyclist dies, the punishments, if any, a frequently next to nothing.

    The only way a real sentence seems to be passed these days is if there is drunk driving involved, or a hit-and-run.

  • amalia January 10, 2015 (3:49 pm)

    While I agree with all the above comments, this represents a big step forward. Crazy but true. The bizarre hatred towards cyclists has promoted a kind of wink-wink when they are assaulted, an unspoken agreement that they are somehow at fault when they are targeted. We all know it. Many of us have had the police roll their eyes at us (figuratively or literally) when we’ve reported an assault. So the fact that this was pursued (and THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the neighbors who followed her) is progress. And she has to live with this coming up every time someone does a google search on her name ERIKA SOERENSEN.

  • gia January 11, 2015 (6:22 pm)

    another sad factor is that although her license is suspended/revoked, she more likely then not, will continue to drive. The consequences, if caught, will not be much more severe then the hand slap she received.

  • JN January 12, 2015 (4:03 pm)

    If a motorists license is suspended, and if they own a car, that car should be impounded at their expense for the duration of their suspension. If they are caught driving any other vehicle in violation of their suspension their vehicle should be sold. Maybe that would cut down on outrageous acts such as this woman committed.

Sorry, comment time is over.