Cayucos woman charged with manslaughter

September 3, 2013

carA Cayucos woman who ran down two cyclists Monday afternoon killing one and seriously injuring the other has been charged with manslaughter.

Shortly before noon, Jessica Whitney Goddard, 29, was driving southbound on Highway 1 near Main Street in Morro Bay when she allegedly veered right and struck two men from Los Osos. A 65-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. His cycling companion, a 60-year-old man, was transported to Stanford University Medical Center.

Officers booked Goddard into the San Luis Obispo County Jail on charges of vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Her bail has been set at $105,000.


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Bicyclist scare me when I see them on the road. Many roads just aren’t conducive to the safe dual operation of bicycles and automobiles. I pass bicyclist all the time on roads that I consider dangerous and I often straddle if not cross the line to give them plenty of clearance. During those times, I wonder if I would get a ticket if a cop saw me doing that ! Then there is this guy who regularly rides his wheel chair up Santa Lucia Road in A-Town. He is always blocking the lane and everybody has to drive around him, it’s dangerous for everyone, all I can say is that it’s dangerous and always has been.

When I was a kid, I was taught to ride my bicycle against the traffic, not with the traffic. I think it was much safer as I could see any potential danger that might be approaching me. I still think that’s a good idea because it’s easy to ditch a bike and jump off in time. You can’t get out of the way if you can’t see it coming, now can you?

The only people who seem to think that riding a bike against traffic is safer than riding with it are those who were taught to do it since a kid and who haven’t ridden a bike since being a kid. Nobody who actually rides on a regular basis is pushing for the return of the ride against traffic law, which is less safe for numerous reasons. First, think about sitting in your car waiting to make a right turn at a four-way intersection. When is the last time you check for traffic coming from your right? Never. Second, think about the difference in speed of collision between a car going 40 MPH and a bike going 20 MPH in the same direction: 20 MPH. At the same speeds going in opposite directions, that’s now a 60 MPH collision. And I’ll bet you $1,000 without knowing all the facts yet that the facts will ultimately show that neither cyclist involved in this collision would have had a chance to “bail out” with a drunk driver coming at them at the high speed indicated by the substantial damage to the car.

I guess you’re right about the head on traffic Ned. I never rode my bike in a city or on streets with lots of intersections. In fact come to think of it, where I grew up, every main road had a wide paved bike lane and also a raised paved sidewalk. Younger children often actually road on the sidewalk when on a main road. Nobody minded, we all knew that the parents had probably forbidden the young kid to ride in the bike lane on the road! We actually approved of the young kids riding on the sidewalk where they were extra safe! Geez life and people used to be so nice. You’re right, apart from riding on a beach strand, I haven’t rode a bike (for real) for a long time.

You sound very impatient and dangerous. You need to live in LA. Responsible people in cars can co-exist with bicyclists, mail trucks, garbage trucks, and the guy on Santa Lucia Road. I’m personally inspired every time I see him and if you have half a brain in your head and aren’t driving like an idiot , you can safely cross over completely into the other lane to pass him as you would any other vehicle stopped or traveling slowly on a busy two-lane road with no shoulder. The rest of us do it.

“You sound very impatient and dangerous”

HUH? Right, that’s why I straddle lines and even cross them if necessary to be certain that I give bicyclist plenty of clearance. I might add that it requires slowing down to a crawl to do that safely so please watch with the insults. As for Bob in his wheel chair, I said what he is doing is dangerous. Yes it’s inspiring to see him wheel all the way up to the top of Santa Lucia but it doesn’t make it any the less dangerous for him and everybody else that has to pass in the opposite lane against traffic. What the hell is the matter with you today?

BTW obispan, you don’t even live in A-Town so I doubt that you encounter Bob very often. I drive Santa Lucia everyday and am always watching to be certain that he isn’t around the next corner or just below the next bump in the road. What about the people who don’t know about him? Will they be inspired or in a tragic accident?

Oh, and I forgot – the armchair lawyers. Yawn.

Drunk driving tragedies bring out the fanatical drunk-driving crusaders and bicycle stories bring out the self-righteous bike-nazis. They use tragedies like this – grave errors in judgment – to lecture us on the sins of driving under the influence and the wholesomeness of the cycling lifestyle. A woman made a grave error in judgment like people do every day and her grave error resulted in death, injury and incarceration.

So, for her “grave error of judgment” she should be treated like the murderer she is. Geez, you sure can rationalize anything away.

I am certainly what you would call a “fanatical drunk-driving crusader” because people operating vehicles under the influence are a danger to everyone.

I suspect that most of them, in relieving stress with booze, also anesthetize any consideration for others they might have as well as critical judgment of their own abilities to function. It is really simple: If you drink more than one average drink per hour, don’t drive until you have brought your average down below that. Better yet, if you know you’ll be drinking and want to be free to indulge, arrange for safe transportation in advance.

Any indulgences that brings your blood-alcohol level to .08 (or even close to it to be on the safe side — Ms. Velie) is and should remain a fairly serious criminal offense. The fact that it is fairly common behavior doesn’t make it right. Hopefully you won’t kill or maim someone or have someone close to you suffer because of impaired judgment from drinking alcohol. If you have to learn the hard way, I hope that you are the only one hurt by it.

Senseless loss of life…terrible situation.

I’ld like to see more road improvement around the county, which is a destination area, to better safeguard cyclists such as more effective lane striping and rumble strips and even barriers for high traffic/tourist zones.

Just because you operate a vehicle doesn’t grant you ownership of rights-of-ways…

…riding bikes is a VERY positive, social and healthy activity for society especially this county…and we need to make any and all reasonable improvements to mitigate its risks and the terror by these selfish losers.

My condolences to the families of these riders. This vehicle driver should not

have been driving and I hope they throw the book at her.

For all the bicyclist that want more space on the road, buffers, rest stops, special pavement, etc. etc. I say let’s start taxing bicycles and requiring an annual license as well as a tax on the bikes. When you buy a bike you should have to register it and pay an annual fee. Everyday I see cyclists that do not observe their bike laws like staying in their lanes, riding three and four abreast, flashing through intersections, etc. I have never seen a cyclist get cited. More enforcement and more contribution and stay out of my driving lane as I don’t want to pass you in the oncoming lane.

Safe driving to all riders and drivers!

They were riding on a beautiful day right where they were supposed to be and someone with your attitude slobirdbrain plowed into them. Your driving lane??? says it all.

SLOBIRD was expressing his/her frustration with the (very)few bicyclists that seem to flaunt the motor vehicle laws. And that same frustration is shared by many.

This tragedy was brought about by an apparent drunken driver. Could just as easily have been a pedestrian, an oncoming car or even the driver herself.

When he said “my driving lane” I’m sure he meant the lane intended for autos….not bikes.

Amazing how many people like you NorCoMod don’t know the law. Roads are not intended for autos alone. Strange that people resent cyclists, I’m convinced it has nothing to do with the inconvenience or danger to drivers- a bike can’t endanger a good driver. I gave up ridding 3 years ago when I discovered this driver against bike rage here, pumped up my tires and was going to give it another go today until I read the news. And the comments- very sad.

True, but STOP SIGNS and RED LIGHTS are also there for Cyclists, who many of them often completely ignore. So the knife does cut both ways, though this is hardly the place to discuss this.

My condolences to the families and people involved.

Your complaints have NOTHING to do with a drunk driver running down bicyclists riding where they were supposed to be riding. Poor old rOy, just has to complain about somebody doing something, doesn’t he?

Glad you gave it up. It kinda sounds like you’re part of the problem as perceived by the drivers.

Very sorry for all involved in this incident.

Everyday I see motorists that do not observe their traffic laws like staying in their lanes, riding three and four abreast, flashing through intersections, etc. I have never seen a motorist get cited.

In the first place, you are somewhat misinformed as to the laws regarding cyclists — a common enough situation among those who think that their right to the road supersedes that of cyclists.

The law requires that cyclists ride as far to the right “as practicable” and then goes on to make several notes about situations where it is “not practicable” to do so. These include when the pavement on the right is too rough or laden with debris for safe travel, when their are obstacles (i.e. parked cars,) when the cyclist needs to turn left or to continue straight where a right-turn lane is present and when doing so encourages faster traffic to make unsafe passes. Generally, whenever doing so is not safe.)

When these conditions exist, the cyclist has as much right to the main road as any other vehicle — like it or not. If YOU want cyclists to be out of your way more often, YOU should fund alternatives that are more attractive to them. Otherwise, learn to adjust your attitude.

As for cyclists behaving irresponsibly and breaking other laws, I will agree that both more enforcement and education are needed. Perhaps there should be at least one roving city bike cop whose primary responsibility would be enforcement against wrong-way biking and running stoplights and signs as well as other violations. After an initial courtesy ticket period, the punishments could include fines, bike traffic school, and mandatory licensing of the bike.

The bike registration requirement generally has several practical obstacles that prevent it from working effectively and requiring it of all cyclists would generate more headaches than income.

Totally tragic, hopefully the defenders of Karen Velie are thinking twice. Driving under the influence kills.

Yikes. Foot: meet mouth.

Very poor form. Very small of you.

A murder charge would have been more appropriate.

Yea, but without malicious intent, to what end? Would it be justice to let off a violent criminal gang banger who stabs somebody out of jail sooner than this drunk POS…space in our penal system is $$$$$….who do you think we want to take up jail space?

….its easy to say, but $$$$ to enforce…I say spend the $$$$ on road improvements….Goddard has to live with this the rest or her life…a living hell.

A sad reality of alcohol, medications, cell phones, impatience +++ and vehicles.

“Goddard has to live with this the rest or her life…a living hell.” Perhaps, but so does the family of the bicyclist through no fault of their own.

Starting that car while allegedly impaired, constitutes malicious intent in my mind. The continued impaired highway carnage has got to stop Murder would have been the appropriate charge

And selfish people who want to have it all, all the time, and to heck with a bicyclist who’s in the way.