Here's a crime drama, tragedy, and farce — all in one play.
First comes the crime perpetrator, Martin Erzinger. A well-heeled wealth manager in Morgan Stanley Smith Barney's Denver office, Erzinger handles more than a billion dollars in private assets and describes himself as "dedicated to ultra high net worth individuals."
Now, Dr. Steven Milo comes onstage, and the drama quickly turns to tragedy. Milo, a surgeon and father of two from New York, was bicycling in Colorado near Vail last July when — WHAM! — he was struck from behind by Erzinger. Instead of stopping to render aid, the money man sped away in his Mercedes-Benz.
Erzinger's car was damaged by the crash, so he finally had to pull over and call the Mercedes service center to have it towed. But he didn't ask for an ambulance to check on the poor guy he'd just run over.
As Dr. Milo later noted, "Erzinger struck me, fled, and left me for dead." The doctor did survive, but he suffered spinal cord injuries, bleeding from his brain, knee damage, and disabling spinal headaches. He faces multiple surgeries, plastic surgery, and "lifetime pain."
Next, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert enters from stage right, and high tragedy devolves into low farce. The DA announced that he was dropping felony charges against Erzinger, instead only citing him for two misdemeanor traffic violations.
Why? Because Erzinger is rich! Noting that this money handler could lose his prestigious Morgan Stanley position, the compassionate prosecutor said, "Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger's profession, and that entered into [my decision]."
Wow, what a humanitarian!
I'm guessing that a felony conviction would also have pretty serious job implications for any low-wage working stiff who nearly killed someone and then drove away — though I doubt that the district attorney would give a damn in that case.
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.