Police Abuse

Speeding Cop Strikes, Kills Scooter Rider: Gets Cited for Careless Driving, Suspended for 120 Hours

Careless driving in Florida that leads to death usually comes with a driving suspension.

|

family photo

Silvio Portillo, a Port Orange, Florida, police officer, was going 15 miles over the speed limit while responding to a non-priority call when he struck and killed Andrew McIlvain in December, according to internal affairs investigators who handed him a 10 shift, 120 hour suspension. He was also cited for careless driving by the highway patrol. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports:

Portillo, who was driving 65 mph, was on his way to meet other officers after a call was received about noise coming from a house party, the investigation shows. The 39-year-old McIlvain was on his way home from work. Police Chief Gerald Monahan said the call Portillo was headed to was nonpriority.

McIlvain died on Jan. 4 at Halifax Health Medical Center. McIlvain was not wearing a helmet the morning of the crash and upon impact, he was thrown from the scooter, the investigation shows.

Careless driving is a civil charge in Florida, unlike reckless driving, which is a criminal charge and a prerequisite for vehicular homicide. A citation for careless driving that results in a death can lead to a suspended license. In Portillo's case, it just means 10 days off the clock. The victim's failure to wear a seat belt, mandatory in Florida, isn't always enough to prevent a vehicular homicide charge.

The McIlvain family plans to sue, and so the city could still be found liable for Portillo's actions. A deputy sheriff in California who was going 80 miles an hour without his lights and sirens on when he struck and killed two pedestrians plead no contest to vehicular manslaughter, avoiding jail time and keeping his job. He cost the county more than $8 million in settlements.

The cases illustrate the need to differentiate criminal charges from police discipline—the presence of, and a conviction on, the former, should not be required for more severe applications of the latter. A police job is a privilege, not a right, and giving local governments the ability, and incentive, to dismiss officers who display careless and reckless behavior, when but especially before they kill someone while on duty, is among the most effective ways to limit police abuse.

Advertisement

NEXT: A. Barton Hinkle on the Diversity Dilemma on Campus

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. One set of laws for the King’s Men…

    1. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8596 a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…
      http://www.work-cash.com

  2. “Whoops! Sorry – my bad”

    *continues driving*

    Nice

    1. He probably thought his car was his taser.

      It could happen to *anybody*.

  3. The victim’s failure to wear a seat belt

    On a scooter?

    1. mandatory in Florida

      Not just a good idea, it’s the *law*.

    2. Yeah, that was my comprehension. Did he mean failure to wear a helmet?

      1. I’m sure that’s what he meant.

        1. The question is whether or not he’ll read the comments and fix it. I’m guessing no.

        2. My guess is that, unless there’s a settlement, that will be the cop’s comparative fault defense.

          ‘Cause the guy could have lived after being smashed by a two-ton metal object careening at 65mph had he only worn a helmet.

        3. That’s probably what he meant, but helmets are *not* mandatory in Florida, so that changes the gist of the statement even more.

          1. I always think it is odd when I see people on scooters without helmets and I have to wear a seatbelt in my truck.

            1. Florida Man! Thank God!

              Are seatbelts for scooters mandatory in Florida?

              1. No. In fact a think being strapped into a scooter makes it harder to bail out in an emergency.

                1. Pshaw! That’s what they said about car seatbelts, too!

            2. As long as the people riding in the bed in lawn chairs are belted down, you are good to go.

              1. The law in Florida about riding in the back of a truck is, all seatbelt must be occupied before people can ride in the back. So if you have 2 seat belts the third person can ride in the back legally.

      2. I meant the victim in a generic vehicular homicide.

        1. Since the victim was riding a scooter, how does that apply?

  4. Silvio Portillo, a Port Orange, Florida

    Florida… I knew it.

  5. But did the officer get home safe? Because we know that’s what really matters.

  6. going 80 miles an hour without his lights and sirens on when he struck and killed two pedestrians plead no contest to vehicular manslaughter, avoiding jail time and keeping his job.

    Higher standards!

  7. So this guy is dead because of a fucking noise complaint? God damn it people, go knock on their door and talk to them like a fucking adult. If they really refuse to quiet down, just blast a ton of loud music right at their windows at 6 AM.

    A police job is a privilege, not a right, and giving local governments the ability, and incentive, to dismiss officers who display careless and reckless behavior, when but especially before they kill someone while on duty, is among the most effective ways to limit police abuse.

    Here comes dunphy…

  8. Other than policing and politics, I can’t think of ANY other environment in which these kinds of mistakes/crimes wouldn’t result in immediate dismissal and prosecution. I guess it pays to know where the bodies are buried.

  9. For the record, 15 over isn’t that fast, especially in the sticks in Florida.

    Still, though, if you drive carelessly and kill someone, you should be personally liable.

  10. A deputy sheriff in California who was going 80 miles an hour without his lights and sirens on when he struck and killed two pedestrians plead no contest to vehicular manslaughter, avoiding jail time and keeping his job.

    The judicial system has completely broken down. Revenge murder seems appropriate in this case.

    1. All the family will get is blood money. At taxpayer expense.

  11. I should have worn my cup before reading this one. Ouch.

  12. 15 over isn’t that fast, especially in the sticks in Florida.

    I agree. The part about running over people on scooters is what’s really problematic.

    1. Well, 15 over the limit, especially for a non-emergency, does make for a pretty good negligence per se case.

  13. OT:

    Holy fucking mostrosity, WTF?

    WTF?

    1. Fifty years for two counts of deliberate homicide?

    2. “I couldn’t bring myself to call you simply to say, ‘Hey, your father has finally showed up. Come get him out of my pig pen,'” Monica said while seated in court. “I couldn’t do it.”

      That’s understandable.

      1. The jury didn’t buy Monica’s claim that she shot Delicino five times in the head in self defense during a struggle in her barn

        That’s a quality defense, right there.

  14. Nothing about this seems all that unreasonable. If you are not driving 10 over the speed limit in most places, you are obstructing traffic. Nobody’s rights were violated, and he obviously didn’t mean to hit anyone. In other words, a mistake that anyone could make. A mistake that police are more likely to make than other people because their jobs require them to be driving with a purpose many hours each day.

    Depending on the exact circumstances, I would say criminal liability for speeding within the realm of normal for everyone on the road and causing an accident leading to death should not be a foregone conclusion.

    Civil liability is a completely separate matter. If he made a mistake that cost someone their life, then he is responsible and should be held liable. As should his employer since he was operating under their orders at the time.

    As for his job, that’s kinda borderline as well – depending on how reckless we are talking about. If he was just going too fast and came around the bend and hit a scooter that was going 40mph in a 50, well, I certainly don’t envision many of the denizens of HnR ever driving over the speed limit after midnight, but there are other people out there who might make the same mistake.

    I don’t put this anywhere near the category of shooting some guy in his pajamas during a midnight no knock raid or even pulling a gun instead of a taser. There is no larger systemic problem here – just a bad mistake that cost someone everything.

    1. Nothing about this seems all that unreasonable.

      Would a non-cop face the same? Some community service and a traffic citation? Pull the state’s cock out of your mouth.

  15. just a bad mistake that cost someone everything.

    Any other person who made the same “unfortunate mistake” could expect the same outcome, right, Shirley?

    1. With a decent lawyer? Its not unreasonable at all for citizen average to get a similar out come. 120 hours community service and a fine? Yeah, I can see that.

    2. With a decent lawyer? Its not unreasonable at all for citizen average to get a similar out come. 120 hours community service and a fine? Yeah, I can see that.

  16. Well the cop was wearing a costume I assume so what’s the problem? Justice is served, what more could people want?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.