By CRAIG FRELICH
CANTON -- The ex-wife of a bicyclist killed by an alleged hit-and-run driver in Canton Monday night is asking for support to assure that justice is done at a hearing Friday afternoon for the driver, who faces several serious charges.
Richard F. Morrow, 69, Canton, owner of The Meadows Restaurant on County Rt. 27 and a longtime management employee at the Best western University Inn in Canton, was pronounced dead at the scene Monday night after being struck by a vehicle as he rode along Rt. 27.
Diane Colbert, Morrow’s ex-wife, is concerned that responsibility for the accident will be put on Morrow.
A preliminary hearing is set for Friday at 1 p.m. in Canton Town Court for Daniel W. Lester, 28, Rensselaer Falls, who has been charged with second-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree vehicular assault, first-degree unlicensed operation, leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident, and driving while ability impaired by drugs with prior convictions, according to state police.
Colbert asks that people of a like mind “be present. No statements are desired, just physical presence. Disturbances, communications, and signage are not desired, just presence of concerned citizens.”
She says the $7,500 bail set for Lester is too lenient.
“The looming precedent is that walking or riding a bicycle in ‘bad weather’ in St. Lawrence County revokes a citizen's right to safety and liberty, and will be regarded as a worse crime than repeated offenses of unlicensed impaired driving,” Colbert said in a message asking for people to attend the hearing.
“The current political climate creates a potential for this case to be lost in the shuffle, if not swept under the rug. I am just asking for due process,” she said.
Lester was sent to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility on $7,500 cash bail, state police said.
“In spite of all this, his bail is set at $7,500, suggesting an attitude of leniency so far,” said Colbert.
She said she’s concerned that Morrow will be seen as being at fault for riding his bike at night in the snow, while a man with a “record of repeated offenses” will be let off easy.