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Austin Injury Attorney, Adam Loewy, Criticizes Sentencing in Bus Accident

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Tony Diaz, 39, was killed after being struck by a bus driver riding his bike on Jan. 28, 2019. (Fox 7 Austin)

Adam Loewy, a personal injury attorney at Loewy Law Firm in Austin, talked to Fox 7 Austin about the criminal case underlying his representation of a local family in a wrongful death lawsuit.

On January 28, 2019, Mindi Stafford struck and killed former Fox 7 employee Tony Diaz as he biked on the UT campus. She was driving a CapMetro bus at the time. She initially faced a charge of manslaughter. However, prosecutors reduced the charge to criminally negligent homicide.

Court documents show Stafford didn’t react quickly enough to passengers yelling for her to watch for the cyclist. She subsequently failed a sobriety test despite not having illegal drugs or alcohol in her system. Her backpack contained four prescription medications with side effects such as drowsiness, confusion, and dizziness.

Stafford agreed to a plea deal for seven years of deferred adjudication. That means she accepts responsibility for what she did but won’t have a criminal record showing an actual conviction. She will get to serve her sentence under judge-ordered community supervision.

Attorney Adam Loewy who represented the Diaz family in a civil case against the city and negotiated an undisclosed settlement, spoke to Fox News about the troubling result of the criminal case. He believes the woman should spend time in prison to think about her actions. After representing Diaz’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit and waiting several years for some resolution to the criminal matter, he doesn’t think a plea deal is sufficient.

“This is crazy,” Loewy said. “How do you drive under the influence in a bus, go into the bike lane, plow somebody over, and don’t serve a day in jail? I’m not saying that she needs to serve 20 years in prison, but maybe a month?”

The attorney claimed the plea sent a “clear message” that you won’t get in serious trouble in Austin if you get behind the wheel while inebriated.

A member of the Diaz family discussed the decision with Fox 7, explaining how some people might not think the sentence is enough to make up for Tony’s death. However, they are a forgiving family and accept the plea agreement.