Slow-walking senior guilty, but 4 fine waived
BY DANA BARTHOLOMEW, Staff Writer
A court has upheld the jaywalking ticket issued to an 82-year-old Sunland woman who slowly crossed a busy boulevard, but waived the 4 fine - a Solomonic compromise in a case that drew outrage from around the world.
Mayvis Coyle of Sunland captured the attention of senior-citizens advocates - and pedestrians everywhere - after she was ticketed Feb. 15 for crossing busy Foothill Boulevard against a light. At the time, she was loaded down with groceries and walking with the help of a cane.
Superior Court Commissioner Jeffrey Harkavy of San Fernando issued his ruling June 20 after reading written testimony by both Coyle and the ticketing officer, and mailed it to Coyle last week. He found her guilty of jaywalking, but suspended the fine.
Coyle's son said his mother was mentally and physically exhausted by the case and publicity.
"It sounds like a compromise, like they're trying to save face," Coyle's son, Jim Coyle of North Hollywood, said of the decision. "We're grateful for everyone's support."
Mayvis Coyle - vacationing in Colorado and unavailable for comment - has maintained that the "walk" signal was illuminated when she began crossing the five-lane thoroughfare - a claim disputed by the unidentified Los Angeles Police Department officer who cited her.
Coyle said the motorcycle cop had told her, before issuing her the ticket, "You're obstructing the flow of traffic."
Coyle's case drew worldwide attention after a Daily News report that was blogged on the Drudge Report and posted on other news Web sites.
News of the judge's ruling drew a warm response Friday from local seniors advocates.
"How could she have gone any faster?" said Bill Daniel, chief executive officer of ONEgeneration, a senior-services agency with offices in Reseda and Van Nuys. "It just seems like we have to be more patient.
"Sometimes the police are wonderful, but sometimes they do the same thing the rest of us do and dig in on the wrong thing."
Marilyn Dalrymple, a retired writer and photographer who worked on the Antelope Valley Committee on Aging and chastised the officer in a letter to the Daily News, agreed the situation should have been handled differently.
"My husband's a retired deputy sheriff and I couldn't see him doing something like that," the 61-year-old Lancaster resident said. "The officer should have gone out into the street and assisted her. Giving her the ticket was carrying it too far. This put her through an awful lot she shouldn't have had to go through.
"This all could have been avoided if people had just been a little more understanding."
The LAPD maintained throughout the case that its officer acted appropriately and was looking out for Coyle's welfare. The department subsequently launched a series of pedestrian-safety workshops at local senior centers.
In addition, City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel worked to get the timing on "walk" signals lengthened along Foothill and several other wide city streets.
Staff Writer Brent Hopkins contributed to this report. email@example.com