The driver charged in the January crash that killed a man walking a bicycle across Ivy Road has been acquitted.
After a short trial in Charlottesville General District Court on Thursday, Corey Michael Abdella, 54, of Charlottesville was found not guilty of reckless driving by Judge Andrew Sneathern.
The only person testifying in the case was the investigating officer who laid out a set of facts that, according to Abdella’s attorney Rhonda Quagliana, exonerated her client in the Jan. 12 crash that claimed the life of Isidro Casandro Martinez, 52, of Albemarle County.
“There was no evidence that Mr. Abdella had done anything to cause this accident,” said Quagliana. “It was just a very tragic set of circumstances.”
The incident occurred around 10:55 p.m. as Martinez attempted to cross Ivy Road near Foods of All Nations in the rain.
There, near Alderman Road, the roadway consists of five car lanes and two bicycle lanes.
Police initially described the incident as a bicycle fatality, but surveillance footage from a nearby building showed the victim walking a bicycle across the roadway, so it was reclassified as a pedestrian death.
That footage showed that Martinez was in the roadway for 27 seconds, according to the incident report. He started on the north side and diagonally crossed most of the roadway in a southwesterly direction. He was then struck in or around a bicycle lane sandwiched between two vehicle lanes on the southern side.
“That was the evidence that Mr. Abdella did nothing wrong,” said Quagliana. “He wasn’t speeding or driving distracted, and the other person was coming across the road at an angle when it was pouring rain and dark.”
Quagliana added that the investigating officer mentioned that a witness backed what Abdella told police at the scene: that he simply didn’t see Martinez.
About an hour after the incident, Martinez died at the University of Virginia Medical Center, according to police, while Abdella remained at the scene.
“He was very shaken and heartbroken that this accident occurred,” said Quagliana. “But the accident wasn’t his fault.”