Monster Truck Mauls Pedestrian

by Bruce McEwen, February 22, 2017

Gladden

Kent Donald Gladden, 57, of Ukiah, has been accused of running over a pedestrian, Cindy Long, December 9, 2017 at approximately 7:40pm, in the driveway to the Overnighter Trailer Park at 700 E. Gobbi Street in Ukiah.

Testimony by Joshua Cooper, the Ukiah Police Department's  investigating officer, indicated that Mr. Gladden, high up in the command capsule of his two-story vehicle, may not have even been aware that his truck had half-consumed a pedestrian.

Judge Ann Moorman asked the officer, “It’s your opinion that because of the lift-kit and the size of the tires, that the person that hit and ran over her might not even feel it?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“And he might not even have seen her?”

“She [the victim] was only five-foot-two, and the top of the brush guard [i.e., the hood] was 56 inches [four-feet-eight] from the ground. So he may not have even seen her.”

After the monster truck had departed, Gloria Moscovito heard a moaning sound, and thinking it might be a wounded animal, walked over for a look. It was Cindy Long lying on the ground. Her legs had been run over. Ms. Moscovito called 911.

When Officer Cooper arrived he said he observed a female lying in the middle of the driveway. “She appeared to be in a lot of pain. She was moaning and bleeding from the legs.”

Ms. Moscovito approached Officer Cooper and stated that she knew the person who had run over Ms. Long. She led him to a fifth-wheel trailer with a large Ford truck parked in front of it only about 50 yards from where the injured woman lay moaning and bleeding.

“She wasn’t able to identify the make and model,” Cooper said, “but she said it was the truck that collided with Ms. Long and ran over her.”

Deputy DA Barry Shapiro asked the officer what he did next.

Cooper: “I knocked on the door to the trailer.”

Shapiro: “Did you get any response?”

Cooper: “Yes. A male subject came to the door.”

Shapiro: “Did you notice anything about him?”

Cooper: “He smelled of alcohol, his eyes were red and watery, his speech slurred.”

Shapiro: “Did you have any conversation with this individual?”

Cooper: “I advised him he’d been in a traffic collision with a person who had been run over.”

Shapiro: “How did he respond?”

Cooper: “He said he hadn’t driven anywhere recently.”

Shapiro: “Can you describe the vehicle?”

Cooper: “It was an oversize, off-road model Ford crew-cab pickup. It had the lift-kit and big tires.”

Defense attorney Vishad Dewan interrupted with an objection as to Officer Cooper’s expertise in these mechanical matters and a soliloquy ensued, a back-and-forth Q&A that the lawyers call “laying foundation” wherein Officer Cooper explained that before going into law enforcement he had worked as a auto mechanic, specializing in big pickup trucks.

Shapiro: “What did you do when Mr. Gladden denied having driven anywhere recently?”

Cooper: “I put my hand on the tail-pipe and it was still warm.”

Shapiro: “What, if anything, was the significance of that?”

Cooper: “Well, it was an after-market three-and-a-half-inch exhaust pipe, which causes it to cool down quicker. It had been raining, the temperature was about 50 degrees, and for the exhaust to still be warm it meant that the vehicle had been driven recently.”

Shapiro: “Any other indication of that?”

Cooper: “Yes. I felt the inside of the fender-wells and they were still wet, indicating that rainwater had been thrown up while the truck was being driven recently enough that they were still wet, the roadway being wet from the rain.”

Shapiro: “Anything else?”

Cooper: “The motor block and radiator were still warm. It had a big radiator for heavy loads – it would be difficult to overheat it — and for it to still be warm meant it had been driven recently.”

These monster trucks seem to have a mischievous, if not intimidating, expression, and it’s a common boast among their owners that they eat up several Priuses just for breakfast. Maybe this one went out on its own for a snack and ran over the lady on the way home. They seem to have an ego all their own, after all. And the windows are generally tinted so dark you can’t see whether there’s anyone inside or not.

Shapiro: “What did you do next?”

Cooper: “I went back to talk to the victim. The ambulance had arrived on scene and she was being treated by the EMTs. She kept repeating she’d been run over and was in pain. She was gasping a lot, having trouble getting words out. She pointed in the direction of the defendant’s trailer and said, ‘That guy ran me over’.”

Shapiro: “Did Ms. Moscovito provide you with a statement?”

Cooper: “She did. She said she was visiting a friend and had a view of the entrance to the trailer park. She observed Mr. Gladden enter at a high rate of speed. She heard a moaning sound after the truck passed – she said she thought it might be a wounded animal and walked over with her friend to see. It was her friend that located Cindy Long, she said.”

Judge Moorman called a recess and afterward, Mr. Dewan of the Office of the Public Defender began his cross: “So there was a ‘coating’ you testified earlier, of water on the roadway surface, and inside the wheel-wells?”

Cooper: “Yes, that’s correct.”

Dewan: “What was the posted speed limit?”

Cooper: “I don’t know, not right off the top of my head. But I think it’s probably 30.”

Dewan: “Inside the trailer park?”

Cooper: “No, that would be less, but, again, I can’t remember what it is.”

Dewan: “Wouldn’t a vehicle have to slow down to negotiate the turn in to the trailer park?”

Cooper: “Yes, and there’s a slight gutter.”

Dewan: “And a speed bump?”

Cooper: “There’s no speed bump.”

Dewan: “Did you happen to check any other trucks in the park, to see if they’d been recently driven?”

Cooper: “No.”

Dewan: “Did you smell alcohol on Ms. Long?”

Cooper: “Yes.”

Dewan: “Did you ask if she’d had any alcohol to drink?”

Cooper: “I did not.”

Dewan: “Did you give her a PAS [alcohol screening] test?”

Cooper: “She was in no condition for that.”

Dewan: “But she pointed to my client’s truck and said ‘That guy ran me over’?”

Cooper: “Yes.”

Dewan: “She didn’t use his name?”

Cooper: “No.”

Dewan: “Did she tell you how fast he was going?”

Cooper: “I didn’t ask. It’s been my experience that most people generally have a hard time judging how fast a vehicle is traveling.”

Dewan: “But Ms. Moscovito said he was traveling at a high rate of speed?”

Cooper: “Correct.”

Dewan: “Mr. Gladden said he had had alcohol to drink, but only after he got home, didn’t he?”

Cooper: “Yes.”

Dewan: “And you yourself thought he could have run over Ms. Long and not been aware of it?”

Cooper: “Yes.”

Moorman: “Your opinion was that because of the lift-kit and the big tires the person that hit her might not feel it?”

Cooper: “Yes, Ma’am.”

Moorman: “And that he might not have even seen her?”

Cooper: “She’s only 62 inches and the top of the brush guard is 56 inches off the ground. So he may not have even seen her.”

Moorman: “Ms. Long is five-foot-two?”

Cooper: “Yes, Ma’am.”

Shapiro: “What about Ms. Long’s clothing? Let me show you this photograph, Officer Cooper. Is that the jacket she was wearing?”

Cooper: “Yes.”

Shapiro: “And it’s gray with a pink liner?”

Cooper: “Yes.”

Shapiro: “And she was wearing these blue jeans, a blue plaid shirt and her shoes were grey, white and pink — all fairly bright-colored clothing, isn’t it?”

Cooper: “Yes, that’s right.”

Shapiro called Officer Thomas Corning: “Where were you on or about 7:41pm, December 9th?”

Corning: “I was dispatched to a traffic collision with a pedestrian. Sergeant Christopher Long sent me a text message and a photograph of a to-go box of Mexican food, along with a photo of the defendant, and I was advised to go to Taco Loco in the Pear Tree Shopping Plaza and see if the food came from there.”

Shapiro: “What did you find out?”

Corning: “The food came from there. An employee said, Yes, it was ordered earlier that evening, and that when he – the defendant – came to pick it up, he wasn’t happy with it – about 7:30 he came back and complained. He then drank a beer while they fixed it, then he left.”

Prosecution rested. There was some talk about Mr. Gladden’s blood-alcohol level, but since he was at home when arrested Shapiro didn’t seem to be pursuing a DUI case. Instead, he wanted a charge of enhancement from a prior accident Gladden had been in added on to the charges of causing great bodily injury while driving too fast for the conditions.

Dewan: “Your honor, the case against my client relies heavily on conjecture. There was an ambiguous statement that he was going at a high rate of speed, but there’s no evidence of that, other than Ms. Moscovito’s say-so.”

Moorman: “In the first place, I don’t believe she said ‘high rate of speed.’ People just don’t talk like that. She probably said he was going too fast, or something like that. So I’ll discharge him on the 2001 prior — it doesn’t matter that he’d once been in an accident. But I’m going to hold him on the driving too fast for the conditions and causing great bodily injury. And I don’t mean just the weather. If he was not able to see that well, that because of the size of the vehicle he couldn’t see a woman in bright clothing, who was in front of his vehicle, or close enough in front of it to get run over, even at night, then he shouldn’t have been driving that fast. We’ll have this back in two weeks for arraignment on the information.”

2 Responses to Monster Truck Mauls Pedestrian

  1. malcolmlorne Reply

    February 23, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Though his photo might imply differently, Mr. Gladden appears to have the superhuman power to time travel into the future and commit his misdeed in December, 2017!
    Malcolm Macdonald

  2. Chris Campbell Reply

    March 10, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    this guy should be condemned to drive a golf cart. with little tires. for ever.

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