The driver who killed three cyclists in the early hours of Sunday morning in Curridabat is free.
On Monday the Juzgado Penal de Goicoechea allowed the 32 year-old man, identified by his last name Mora Monge, free on condition that he sign in every 15 days, not leave the country and banned from driving.
What is firing up the social media is the report that the Fiscalia (prosecutor’s office) did not ask for preventive detention, as would normally be in cases of multiple deaths. However, the same occurred last week, the same court releasing the driver of the bus that killed two in a traffic accident on the autopista General Cañas.
It was early Sunday morning, minutes before 4:00am, when five cyclists were making their way to the Irazu volcano, in Curridabat on the old road to Tres Rios, when a vehicle struck four of them: three were killed, the fourth continues in serious condition in the Calderon Guardia hospital. The fifth cyclist escaped injury when seconds before she stopped to take a sip from her drink bottle.
A video security camera released on the social media shows the seconds before the incident, the cyclists appearing in the frame followed by a speeding vehicle seconds later. The impart was beyond the camera’s field of vision.
The driver turned himself in some 10 hours later, when authorities received an anonymous call telling them where to find the vehicle, a later model Mustang. As expected, a breathalyzer test resulted negative, results of the blood sample are expected to be the same. Police seized the vehicle and took the driver into custody.
A report by La Nacion reveals that the driver accumulated a total of 9 traffic infractions between 2003 and 2009. The facts are recorded on the Consejo de Seguridad Vial (Cosevi) website, however without details, the summary list of traffic infractions include damage to property, failing to respect a stop sign, several parking violations, driving without windshield, not having the vehicular inspection and having another person in arms while driving. No infractions were recorded after 2009.
“This Fiscalia was very sensible, it did not bow down to public pressure… This is a very different crime, although the result is appalling (…) It is a person with roots (in the country): he has a house, a job and family, that is to say, he does not have the minimum principle of flight,” said defence lawyer Jose Pablo Badilla.
The lawyer added that his client “is shocked, feels bad … If he left the scene it is because he was in shock”, saying he has spoken very little with his client because, “he is going through a great post-traumatic impact”.
Investigators say based on the physical evidence at the scene, the vehicle was travelling over 100 km/h.
The victims were identified as Mario Enrique Retana Pérez, 49; Lenin Manrique Ortiz Quesada, 46; and, Pablo Enrique Alcócer Alcócer, 54.
At the site a makeshift altar has been created, a cyclist t-shirt with the words “respect the cyclist” hangs by the rail fence, at the edge of the road three crosses mark the spot close where the three cyclists lost their lives.
Lucía del Carmen Mata Durán, 38s, who survived the impact continues in the intensive care at the Calderón Guardia hospital in San Jose.