Red-Light Runner Gets 45 Days in Death
By Brooke A. Masters
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday , May 11, 2000 ; B07
It was the kind of traffic violation that Washington area drivers commit every day.
Roseller "Larry" Enguillado, 41, was heading to the District to pick up his
wife when he blew through a red light on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Enguillado wasn't going that fast. He wasn't drunk. He had a perfect
driving record. But that moment of inattention on April 15, 1999, had deadly consequences.
Walter "Skip" Walsh was in the crosswalk that day. While biking home to Del
Ray, in Alexandria, from his job at the Environmental Protection Agency,
Walsh, 41, had stopped at the light on Slaters Lane. But when the light
changed, he pushed into the parkway, according to witness testimony.
Enguillado's 1992 Toyota Previa minivan slammed into Walsh, who bounced off
the windshield and flew into the air. He punctured a lung and died three days later.
Enguillado, a civilian employee of the Department of Defense, was charged
with reckless driving and failure to obey a traffic signal. Yesterday, he
was sentenced to 45 days in jail and two years' probation and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
"This case has bothered me greatly," said U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa C.
Buchanan, who had jurisdiction because the accident took place on federal
property. The sentence, which was unusually harsh for reckless driving by a
driver with a previously clean record, "is for punishment" and to deter
other drivers from making the same mistake, Buchanan said.
"This was no unavoidable accident," Buchanan said. "If he had not run the
red light, Mr. Walsh would be here today."
Prosecutors and U.S. Park Police told Walsh's wife, Julie Miller, that they
believed Enguillado, of Accokeek, was to blame, Miller said. But they did
not think the evidence would support the much more serious charge of
involuntary manslaughter, she said.
Though several witnesses said the light had been red for several seconds
when Enguillado came through without hitting his brakes, one witness gave a
conflicting account, according to court records. Enguillado has insisted
that he was not at fault. He testified at his February trial that the light
was green and he had broken no traffic laws.
Miller, who was left to raise her toddler son alone, said she accepted the
prosecutors' decision to pursue a lesser charge. "It was clearly his fault,
and he made a stupid mistake. . . . [But] I don't believe his conduct