December 12, 2009 was a day when Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) had their yearly Christmas toy run and during that run, Richard “Hat Trick” Schroeder, (a member of BACA) was killed when an automobile failed to yield right of way at an intersection. 39 year old Trena Mitchell’s failure to yield caused Schroeder to collide with the right rear side of Mitchell’s Honda Accord as she pulled in front of him, throwing him over the car. He landed 93 feet away from the collision, which resulted in his death.
1. Mitchell receives SSI funding because she is legally blind and has never had a drivers license
2. Mitchell had 2 warrants out on her for previously driving without a license
3. Mitchell had 4 children with her, one of which was a 2 month old infant that was not restrained in a car seat
4. The child was injured in the accident, resulting in a 1 week stay in the hospital for head trauma
5. Mitchell’s 18 year old daughter was a licensed diver and was in the car – so there was no practical reason for Ms. Mitchell to be driving other than blatant disregard for the law
6. Witnesses report that Mitchell was giving her children instruction (at the scene of the accident) to get the infant car seat out of the trunk to hide the fact that the child was not restrained
7. A city of Waco traffic analyst confirmed that if both the green light and left turn arrow were displayed, Schroeder would have had to run a red light. He said if Schroeder went through a yellow light, Mitchell would not have had a green arrow.
8. Waco police officer who investigated the deadly crash testified that at the scene of the accident Mitchell told him that she had a green light and thought she could make a left turn before the motorcycle entered the intersection because she had plenty of time. She also told the officer Schroeder must have gotten there faster than she expected because he was speeding
9. Another witness, who was several car lengths behind Schroeder at the time of the accident, said he’s sure the light for the line of traffic was green
10. Ms. Mitchell was supposed to wear glasses but wasn’t wearing them at the time because her nephew broke them. Ms. Mitchell chose to drive anyway, even though impaired
Mitchell’s husband Greg testified he taught his wife to drive in parking lots, but said she has never had a driver’s license. He also testified that his wife isn’t incapable of getting a driver’s license and said he was aware his wife had been driving without a license for three years, but they did not have time to get her one. When asked if she’s legally blind, he said, “well technically; she can see about half a football field and can spot me in a store parking lot.”
It took jurors less than an hour of deliberation to return a guilty verdict and the sentencing phase of the trial is scheduled Thursday morning (August 19th) at 8:30 AM. State District Judge Ralph Strother allowed Mitchell to remain free on bond, but cautioned her about the consequences of failing to return to court Thursday.
Approximately 25 motorcycle riders attended the trial. Some wore their colors, including Christian Motorcycle Ministries however; the members of BACA chose not to wear their colors. All bikers respectfully and quietly observed the proceedings.
Mitchell’s Aunt adamantly and dramatically called the entire trial racist telling a KWTX television reporter (on video):
“If it had been a black man riding that motorcycle and a white woman killed him; we would not be here today! Do you hear me?”
In June, she told the same television reporter:
“This is nothing – – let me repeat it, nothing short of an old fashioned, organized through the judicial system, lynching! Mr. Schroeder’s gone; I’m so sorry about that but I still say she don’t deserve to go to prison.”
One commenter of the KWTX.COM Waco article said perhaps that it is very true; that had the races been reversed, they indeed “would not have been here today” as Ms. Mitchell’s Aunt accused. The commenter pointed out the possibility that had a blind white woman killed a black motorcyclist:
“. . . . it would not have been in state district court, but rather federal court. That black woman, who is so willing to play the race card, would be calling it a hate crime.”
At the end of the day, the facts spoke for themselves and a jury of 12 found Ms. Mitchell guilty of Manslaughter and can be sentenced to probation or anything from 2 to 20 years in a Texas State Prison.
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