In September 2013, Ashley Bell's vehicle collided a bicyclist on Coffee
Road. The collision mortally wounded the bicyclist and Bell was charged
with vehicular manslaughter for what the police described as "distracted
driving." Now, 19 months later, Bell has been acquitted of the charge
due to the investigation and diligence of her defense attorney, Kyle J.
Humphrey. Both Bell and Attorney Humphrey spoke to The Bakersfield Californian
about the decision and what Attorney Humphrey believes was a misguided
case against Bell.
The victim was Tony Ray Rumple, 47. Examiners found that he died of acute
head trauma from the collision. Even though Bell was neither drunk, high,
nor speeding at the time of the collision, police and prosecutors zeroed
in on the fact that she was on the phone—speaking to her friend
via ear buds, which is allowable by law. She was promptly charged with
Attorney Humphrey and Bell recounted to the paper how the prosecution tried
to characterize Bell as a frantic single mother, who, in a moment of stress,
veered into the bike lane and killed Mr. Rumple. Attorney Humphrey, however,
saw things differently. Citing coroner reports and interviewing medical
experts, Attorney was able to firmly establish that Mr. Rumple was a meth
user who was not only high at the time of his accident, but showed signs
of habitual use. Due to the lack of reflectors, his bike was in violation
of California Vehicle Code at the time of the collision.
Asserting all of this evidence, Humphrey was able accurately portray the
contributing factors of the collision and counter the state's case
against Bell. Talking to
The Bakersfield Californian, he says he's surprised there was ever even a trial for this accident
in the first place. "In this case there was no crime," Humphrey
told the paper. "The prosecution was the crime."
Finding Justice Even in the Face of Loss
Attorney Humphrey and Bell maintain that the loss of Tony Ray Rumple is
a tragedy, but that when an incident is purely an accident, criminal charges
are not called for. Attorney Humphrey blamed what he called a "bloodlust,
vengeful, vendetta society" for the unfounded charges against Bell.
"Government is big and all-powerful, and we need to protect the rights
of the individual," he told the paper following the court decision.
Bell, the mother of three, is grateful she does not have to be separated
from her children to serve a jail sentence. Still, she believes that Rumple's
death will weigh on her for the rest of her life. "No one feels more
terrible than I do," she's quoted saying.
If you have been accused of a crime, then it is absolutely essential to
seek competent and proven legal representation for your defense. At
The Law Offices of Kyle J. Humphrey, our legal team has over two decades of legal experience and has built
its reputation on aggressive strategies, client advocacy, and high profile
You do not have to face this difficult time alone.
Contact our team today.