UPDATE: Bicyclist Hit-and-Run: 'He Had to Have Known He Hit Him'

Two men say they witnessed the crash and pursued the alleged drunk driver, a Long Beach fire captain, to his home. They describe a wild chase scene.

Updated with Long Beach PD correction on employment of Fawn Hines.

The Long Beach fire captain who allegedly struck a Seal Beach bicyclist last week in a drunken hit-and-run accident must have known he was leaving a body in the road as he sped away, according to two people who say they witnessed the crash.

The impact of the high-speed collision broke the windshield and nearly disabled Long Beach Fire Capt. John Hines’ Chevy Silverado, the witnesses said, adding that no fewer than three drivers chased Hines, honking and screaming at him to pull over, as he drove several blocks from the crash scene to his Huntington Beach home.

Billy Chisholm said he was a passenger in one of those pursuing vehicles.

“I was sick to my stomach the whole time,” Chisholm recalled. “He just hit him and left him to die like he was a skunk in the road. He had to have known he hit him because his truck was all busted up. That was a human being he left there to die. It’s not right.”

Chisholm said he was riding in a truck, two vehicles back from Hines, on Westminster Avenue east of Seal Beach Boulevard, when he saw a man go flying through the air. The driver with him also spoke to a Patch reporter but asked not to be quoted in this story.

“It looked like he flew 50 feet through the air, like a rag doll, and landed face down,” Chisholm said. “I can’t believe he is still alive.”

According to the Seal Beach Police Department, the cyclist, a 45-year-old man whom the department has continued to refuse to identify, suffered major head injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital where he was still being treated as of Friday. The hit-and-run took place about 1 p.m. on April 1.  After witnesses followed Hines home, police arrested him on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and felony driving under the influence.

Hines, 38, was booked at the Seal Beach Police Department and released on $50,000 bail that same day. Charges have not yet been filed with the Orange County District Attorney’s office, said Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

Hines is well-known in Long Beach fire and law enforcement circles. His uncle is a retired Long Beach fire battalion chief, his father was a fire captain and his wife, Fawn, is a Long Beach police officer.

(Long Beach police Sgt. Rico Fernandez said Tuesday afternoon that Fawn Hines was no longer employed by the department, and referred further questions to the city's civil services agency. Calls requesting more details were referred to human relations, then to city spokesman Ed Kamlan, and by 9 p.m. he said the police department would call the next morning. On Wednesday, Fernandez learned that he misspoke and that Fawn Hines remains with the department.)

In the moments after the accident, Chisholm said, he had a chance to look Hines in the eyes.

“We pulled up right next to him and yelled at him to pull over,” Chisholm recalled. “He just looked at us and kept on going. He tried to gun it, but his fan was busted.”

That's when Chisholm called 911 and updated a police dispatcher on the direction and turns of the ongoing chase. Hines pulled up to his Huntington Beach home, got out of his truck and confronted one of the other drivers, a woman wearing medical scrubs, Chisholm said.

Hines seemed agitated and kind of out of it, Chisholm added. Hines walked toward his front door, but then a Seal Beach police officer arrived and handcuffed him, Chisholm said.

Chisholm said he gave his name and number to the police dispatcher and left following the arrest. Police still haven’t interviewed him, but Chisholm said he hopes he will have a chance to tell investigators what he saw.

“I think he should be in jail right now—a normal person would be,” Chisholm said.

Mike Ruehle April 21, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Nepotism In Police and Fire Departments Puts Public Safety At Risk http://www.ctnow.com/news/connecticut/hartford/hc-ubinas-nepotism0410-20110410,0,3517018.column
John B. Greet April 21, 2011 at 04:36 PM
I would argue that nepotism in police departments *can* put public safety at risk as this article clearly illustrates. When nepotism does put public safety at risk, we have access to legal remedies to that challenge, as I think this article *also* clearly illustrates. Because a community can also greatly *benefit* from positive aspects of nepotism (also referred to as patronage) we should avoid blanket prohibitions against this practice. LBPD, at least, does appear to have some restrictions in this area and these may, in fact, be citywide. To the best of my recollection, former LBPD Chief Lance accepted a service retirement when his son was appointed to the police academy. That Long Beach has clearly benefitted from the informal practice of patronage in its police department is, I think, inarguable. One need only look to such prominent Long Beach Police families as the Fosters, the Rose's, the Robertsons, and several others for clear proof of this. A blanket prohibition against the hiring of those kids-of-cops would also have severely diminished the overall quality of our public safety! Wherever police misconduct occurs it is wrong and those who commit it should be dealt with quickly and severely. But let's avoid throwing out the police babies with the bathwater, shall we?
Mike Ruehle April 23, 2011 at 04:20 PM
The Press Telegram is reporting City Hall placed Long Beach Fire Department Captain John Hines under unpaid suspension A WEEK AFTER he committed the felony DUI hit and run. The suspension runs until May 20th. It is also reported Jeffrey Gordon is the name of the person left for dead on the side of the road by John Hines. http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_17909664 All of this information is being supplied to the Press Telegram by a "reliable source" because City Hall and the Fire Department refuse to discuss it. The ONLY reason John Hines was suspended by the City is because the incident occurred and was publicized in Orange County. If this had occurred in Long Beach, it would have been covered up and Mr. Hines would still be working today, much like the Long Beach Police Officer who negligently mowed down and killed a mother of 3 small children in a cross walk and returned to his work his shift the next night. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Du16lUjOFE4J:www.allbusiness.com/legal/legal-services-litigation/15363400-1.html+%22Kathryn+Stephens%22+%22long+beach%22+attorney+%22police+car%22&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
Richard April 23, 2011 at 04:44 PM
"The ONLY reason John Hines was suspended by the City is because the incident occurred and was publicized in Orange County. If this had occurred in Long Beach, it would have been covered up and Mr. Hines would still be working today..." Once again, Ruehle employs his usual tactics. Make a bold, speculative statement, with absolutely no supporting evidence to back them up. If this was a court of law, Ruehle would have been tossed out a long time ago.
John B. Greet April 23, 2011 at 09:53 PM
Mr. Ruehle is certainly entitled to his opinions, however ill-founded in fact or unsupported by evidence they so often are. Neither the Fire nor HR departments are discussing Hines' work status or disciplinary measures because they are exempted from doing so as a matter of statutory law. Mr. Ruehle appears to prefer to be able to pick and choose from among the laws we should and should not follow. Mr. Ruehle seems to take great pleasure in routinely tossing out allegations against others for which he offers no proof and for which he is rarely held to answer. Capt. Hines has been arrested, booked and suspended without pay pending the completion of an investigation. He will no doubt face extremely serious criminal charges in the coming weeks and months. Yet Mr. Ruehle has already determined Capt. Hines is guilty, not having been at the scene and not having access to any of the physical evidence in the case. One can only hope that Mr. Ruehle is never allowed to serve on a jury in a criminal trial, for in his mind, apparently, no trials are necessary...Mr. Ruehle already knows everything he needs to know to render *his* verdict.
Mike Ruehle April 23, 2011 at 10:11 PM
According to Greet, "neither the Fire nor HR departments are discussing Hines' work status or disciplinary measures because they are exempted from doing so as a matter of statutory law." Your statement is laughable. Long Beach is one of the FEW cities that does not discuss work status or provide the names of officers involved in misconduct and officer involved shootings. The LA Times has recently written several articles on the subject. Most recently: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-newton-police-secrecy-20110411,0,2762886.column?track=rss It is common for cities other than Long Beach to state the work status of city employees under investigation for misconduct in order to assure the public the matter is being addressed. But not in Long Beach, where City employee misconduct and court settlements are covered up time and again while the offending city employee continues working for the city. This crap is continually covered up so the public does not find out.
Richard April 23, 2011 at 10:46 PM
As usual, Mike, you continue to distort the facts. The LA Times piece you cited is an opinion piece, NOT a news article. In the link you inserted, it even says "opinion/commentary."
John B. Greet April 23, 2011 at 11:18 PM
Mr. Ruehle apparently finds the truth to be "laughable." I suppose that could explain, at least in part, why he has been proven to sometimes knowingly post false and misleading comments concerning various topics on this site and others. Mr. Ruehle's link is interesting and he has posted it before. But it in no way refutes the fact that I offered, it merely serves to deflect attention from that fact because, as we now see, Mr. Ruehle finds facts to be "laughable." Part of the reason cities like Long Beach choose to avail themselves of their statutory exemptions in the case of employees who have been accused of misconduct, may be because the investigations are often still in progress (as is currently the case with Capt. Hines) and, in the event the employee is ultimately exonerated, releasing such information prematurely would not be fair to the employee who, despite being a public servant, still has a right to fair treatment under the law from his or her employer. Mr. Ruehle seems to believe that this should not be the case also. A city reserving its legal right to restrict comment on such matters does not necessarily equate to a "cover up." It just suits Mr. Ruehle's biases to allege that it does.
Shore Resident April 24, 2011 at 03:53 AM
Mr. Ruehle has no problem with making potentially libelous statements either. If I were a public servant, and Mr. Ruehle made such statements about me I'd have his behind in court so fast it would make his head spin.
Mike Ruehle April 24, 2011 at 02:43 PM
According to today's Press Telegram article, Councilman DeLong is now blaming the Police for letting Panama Joe's go too far and overserving customers who impact neighborhoods. http://www.presstelegram.com/ci_17915810?source=rv What a hypocrite. DeLong supported Panama Joes entertainment license. Without DeLong's support for the bar in his District, Panama Joes would never have got their license. DeLong didn't suggest reducing the permit's operating hours to 10:00 pm. DeLong didn't suggest increasing the business license fee or entertainment license fee to offset the cost of additional police and fire to oversee the late night bar. DeLong didn't suggest anything to help the community and address the concerns expressed at City Council by local residents. What does DeLong care? He lives in quiet College Park Estates.
Richard April 24, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Hey Mike, since you're so fond of posting quotes, how about this one: "He added that his office and other city departments also need to work together better." DeLong is acknowledging that some of the blame lies with himself. He realizes that (unlike you) he's not perfect.
Mike Ruehle April 24, 2011 at 11:54 PM
I interpret that quote as telling city staff they need to do what his office tells them to do. I've had many, many, many discussions with DeLong in the past. There is no middle ground with him. It's either his way or the hiway. DeLong's version of "win-win" is when you do exactly as he says.
Richard April 25, 2011 at 12:28 AM
"There is no middle ground with him. It's either his way or the hiway." Ah, the irony is truly delicious.
Panglonymous April 25, 2011 at 07:45 AM
LB Press-Telegram 4/22/2011 http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_17909664 A Long Beach Fire Department captain arrested on felony charges of DUI and hit-and-run has been suspended without pay, a reliable source told the Press-Telegram Friday. [WHAT IS A RELIABLE SOURCE? PRESUMABLY, SOMEONE WITHIN LB CITY GOVERNMENT, JOHN HINES, OR A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND WITH WHOM MR. HINES HAS COMMUNICATED. IF IT IS SOMEONE WITHIN CITY GOVERNMENT, THEN THIS COULD BE CONSIDERED A STRATEGIC LEAK, FAVORING A PARTICULAR MEDIA OUTLET AT THE EXPENSE OF ITS COMPETITORS, DIRECTING INFORMATION FLOW TOWARD THAT CHANNEL MOST DISPOSED TOWARDS HELPING THE CITY MANAGE THE NEWS IN ITS INTEREST. THERE IS A MESSAGE IMPLICIT IN THIS PROCESS: RELIABLE SOURCES ARE RESERVED TO RELIABLE OUTLETS. RELIABLE OUTLETS MAY EXPECT CONTINUED REWARDS FROM RELIABLE SOURCES SO LONG AS THEY REMAIN RELIABLE. THE PROBLEM IS, OUTLETS RELIABLE TO POWER SELDOM OPERATE IN THE INTEREST OF THE PUBLIC.] Capt. John Hines, 38, of Huntington Beach, was arrested on April 1 in Seal Beach for felony driving under the influence and felony hit-and-run. [Seal Beach] Police said Hines allegedly struck a bicyclist on Westminster Avenue around 1:30 p.m. that day and left the scene. Criminal charges against Hines are expected to be filed next week, authorities said. [WHY NOT NAME THESE AUTHORITIES?] (more)
Panglonymous April 25, 2011 at 07:45 AM
The bicyclist, identified by [Seal Beach] police as Jeffrey Gordon, 47, of Garden Grove, was admitted to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center with head trauma. [THE PATCH HAD BEEN AFTER THE VICTIM'S IDENTITY FROM THE OUTSET. WHEN FINALLY IDENTIFIED BY SB POLICE, WHY WAS THE NAME PROVIDED ONLY TO THE PT?] He has since been released in good condition, according to hospital officials. [HOW SERIOUS WERE HIS INJURIES? HOW LONG WAS HE HOSPITALIZED?] Long Beach civil service rules allow [BUT DO NOT REQUIRE?] the city to suspend an employee who is accused of committing a felony for [EXACTLY?] 30 working days [M-F?, I.E., 30 WORKING DAYS = APPX SIX CALENDAR WEEKS?] while officials conduct an administrative investigation. Within that period, the city must determine whether to return the employee to work, fire him or take other disciplinary action. "He has not been working since the day of the occurrence," the source said. "He's been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation." The official suspension didn't go into effect until about a week after the April 1 incident [WHEN?] and will end May 20, [30 WORKING DAYS FROM FRIDAY APRIL 8 - THE DAY TV NETWORK NEWS BEGAN COVERING THE STORY AS IF IT HAD JUST OCCURRED] the source said. [ http://losalamitos.patch.com/articles/bicyclist-suffers-head-trauma-after-being-struck-by-an-allegedly-drunk-hit-and-run-driver#comment_528698 ] (more)
Panglonymous April 25, 2011 at 07:46 AM
Officials with Long Beach Fire Department and the Human Resources Department wouldn't discuss Hines' work status or disciplinary measures this week. "We're not able to comment on specific personnel matters," Human Resources Director Debbie Mills said. "Of course, it's the city's policy to investigate all allegations of misconduct." [HOW DO THEY FEEL ABOUT INFORMATION BEING RELEASED BY A RELIABLE SOURCE?] If disciplinary action is taken against Hines, he has the right to appeal the decision to the Long Beach Civil Service Commission. Hines may face criminal charges by next week, according to Seal Beach police spokesman Sgt. Steve Bowles. Police are still finishing their investigation before turning it over to the Orange County District Attorney's Office. "They're definitely in the final stages of preparing all the paperwork and completing the investigation," Bowles said. "We should get all the paperwork over to the DA next week." [THIS INFORMATION PROVIDED TO ALL OUTLETS VIA PRESS RELEASE?] (more)
Panglonymous April 25, 2011 at 07:47 AM
Witnesses to the accident told police that the bicyclist was traveling east in the bike lane on Westminster Avenue near Bolsa Chica Street when a Chevrolet truck swerved into the bike lane and struck the cyclist while going about 60 mph. [WHAT WAS THE SPEED LIMIT?] The collision caused the cyclist to be catapulted from the front of the vehicle, landing on the dirt shoulder of the roadway, police said. Witnesses followed the vehicle and driver to a residence in Huntington Beach, where the driver was arrested, police said. [WHO WERE THE WITNESSES, WHAT DID THEY SAY? READ THIS ARTICLE ON THE PATCH TO FIND OUT. APPARENTLY, THE PT DIDN'T HAVE THE TIME. OR SOMETHING.] [NO OTHER OUTLETS REPEATED THE PT'S RELIABLY SOURCED UPDATED INFO FROM WHAT I COULD FIND. PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG.]
Mike Ruehle April 25, 2011 at 02:52 PM
It appears the City of Long Beach only releases information to the media outlet that spins the information in the best possible light for the City. In my opinion, impartial news is an alien concept to the Press Telegram. The PT has become a PR organization for the expressed purpose of promoting the city of Long Beach and reports straight to City Manager Pat West.
John B. Greet April 25, 2011 at 04:07 PM
I have also had many conversations with Mr. DeLong concerning many public policy issues upon which we do not always agree. In every case he has listened attentively and with courtesy, respect and due consideration. Perhaps this is the case because I, in turn, offer him the very same consideration, courtesy and respect. When we disagree I do not berate him. When he follows a public policy path that differs from my personal preference, I do not accuse him. For better or worse, Mr. DeLong represents an entire Council District, comprised of tens of thousands of residents and, as well as possible, he must find a reasonable way to balance the needs and preferences of a true majority of them with all of the other legitimate interests within the district, including those of businesses which, whether Mr. Ruehle likes it or not, are also a very important and necessary part of our community. The fees and taxes they pay, the products and services they offer, and the many local jobs they provide are all aspects *essential* to the overall health and well-being of our community. Mr. Ruehle represents *himself.* Whenever someone disagrees with him, he insults them. Whenever someone suggests a path other than that which he advocates, he berates them. When he finds facts he does not like, he misrepresents them. When he can find no facts, he manufactures them. The louder, more insulting and more disingenuous Mr. Ruehle becomes, the less people listen. He is often his own worst enemy.
Mike Ruehle April 25, 2011 at 04:45 PM
For those who are unaware, retired police officer John Greet has been Councilman DeLong's defender, lackey and lobbyist for as long as Councilman DeLong has been in public office. Whenever ANYONE questions DeLong, officer Greet immediately becomes the comment board police. Officer Greet also is the comment police whenever someone questions Long Beach police misconduct. The bond between DeLong and Greet is obvious because officer Greet continues to lobby for DeLong even after DeLong blamed the police for letting 2nd street bar disturbances get out of hand. Greet would have been all over anyone else who suggested the police were at fault for anything. http://www.presstelegram.com/ci_17915810?source=rv
John B. Greet April 25, 2011 at 04:53 PM
Just as I said: "Whenever someone disagrees with him, he insults them. Whenever someone suggests a path other than that which he advocates, he berates them. When he finds facts he does not like, he misrepresents them. When he can find no facts, he manufactures them."
Mike Ruehle April 27, 2011 at 06:55 PM
Long Beach Fire Department Captain John Hines was charged today by the ORANGE COUNTY District Attorney's office with felony DUI hit and run. Attached are links to articles from the Orange County Register (OCR) and the Press Telegram (PT). http://www.ocregister.com/news/beach-298095-hines-alcohol.html?amp http://www.presstelegram.com/breakingnews/ci_17940123 Notice how the OCR provides information not cited in the PT. For instance: 1. The PT says nothing about WHERE Hines got drunk. The OCR indicates Hines got drunk in Long Beach at "Schooner or Later." 2. The PT does not named the person mowed down by Hines and left to die. The OCR idicates the person's name is Jeffrey Gordon 3. The OCR indicates Hines was originally released on a measly $50,000 bail. The PT says nothing about this.
John B. Greet April 27, 2011 at 09:04 PM
When Mr. Ruehle is right, he is definitely right. The OCR seems to routinely cover most news stories in greater depth and with greater specificity than does the PT. That said, when Mr. Ruehle characterizes Hines' $50k bail as "measly" he neglects to mention the fact that the bail granted was *fully compliant* with the current Orange County Bail Schedule for the offenses for which Hines was arrested.
Donna Burns April 28, 2011 at 09:25 PM
If it weren't for Mike Ruehle we would be in the dark as to alot of wrongdoing in L.B. I applaud his hard work, informative posting, and for being on the RIGHT side of the law, unlike some of Long Beach's "finest".
John B. Greet April 29, 2011 at 01:15 AM
Ms. Burns I must respectfully disagree. Many individuals and news organizations (including the Patch) routinely report upon a lot of wrongdoing in LB. But only Mr. Ruehle, and a few sycophantish followers, resort to knowingly posting false and blatantly misleading comments in reporting their information or in support of their pre-determined conclusions. When Mr. Ruehle strays from simply reporting his (sometimes excellently researched) information and from offering well-reasoned and courteous opinions and, instead, begins posting comments that are sometimes so blatantly false as to be libelous, or when he asserts information that he knows (or reasonably should know) to be untrue, or when he asserts information in a manner that is so clearly misleading with the intent of convincing others to his points of view, or when he resorts to the offering of insult, and dismissiveness and denigration toward those who dare to disagree with him, then he is not on the right side of the law nor is he providing any sort of constructive or productive service to his readership or to our community as a whole.
Richard April 29, 2011 at 03:10 AM
Mike Ruhle is your guy if you're one of those people who believe that everything bad in this world is the result of a conspiracy.
Panglonymous April 29, 2011 at 03:53 AM
Here's one for you, Richard: John & Mike could be in cahoots. Wouldn't that be a knee-slapper? ;-)
Richard April 29, 2011 at 03:56 AM
Grassy Knoll all the way, baby. :)
John B. Greet April 29, 2011 at 04:21 AM
Yip, Pan, you've found us out. The Patch actually pays us all to stir the pot and generate interest...
Panglonymous April 29, 2011 at 05:22 AM
Well, if they paid the bloggers, they wouldn't be able to pay US, so, um, buck the floggers, with all due respect...


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