Attorneys for Bob Riley did not waste any time in notifying a federal court that the former governor would be temporarily unavailable to testify in the ongoing Alabama electronic-bingo trial. Meanwhile, new details are emerging about the motorcycle crash that left Riley "awake" and "alert," but in critical condition. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Riley was injured in a motorcycle crash near Fairbanks, Alaska, on Sunday afternoon, and the story began to hit the Alabama press yesterday afternoon. Even before many Alabamians were aware of the story, Riley's attorneys had filed a motion stating that the crash had left the former governor unavailable, for now, to testify in the bingo trial. (See the motion at the end of this post.) Attorneys for defendant Milton McGregor had sought Riley's testimony, and a U.S. magistrate had excused the former governor--but left the door open for him to possibly take the stand later in the trial.
Michael Pennington and Matthew Lembke, of the Birmingham firm Bradley Arant, represent Riley and filed the post-crash motion. Bradley Arant employs Rob Campbell, Riley's son-in-law, and received millions of dollars in taxpayer funds during the Riley governorship. Dave Stewart, Riley's former chief of staff who has been quoted in news reports about the motorcycle crash, now works at Bradley Arant.
How was Riley injured? A report in The Gadsden Times states that Riley was returning from the Arctic Circle when the crash occurred:
In a daily incident report, troopers said they were notified about 4 p.m. Sunday of a motorcycle crash that occurred near mile 24 on the Dalton Highway.
The highway, a dirt and gravel road that runs north and south, was reported to be muddy at the time, troopers said. Riley's son, Rob Riley, said his father told him that it had started raining and his motorcycle hit a slick spot.
An initial investigation said that “Robert Riley of Alabama had crashed his Harley Road King” while returning from a trip to the Arctic Circle.
“A private auto transported Riley to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries,” the trooper report said.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that Riley was traveling with another motorcyclist at the time of the crash:
Bob Riley, 66, who retired in January after two terms as governor, was toward the end of a two-week solo motorcycle trip from Alabama to Alaska when he crashed his bike near Mile 24, according to Alaska State Troopers.
The accident occurred at about 4 p.m., while Riley was returning from the Arctic Circle, which is 115 miles up the 414-mile gravel and dirt highway.
Riley had been riding with another motorcyclist he had struck up a conversation with at a Fairbanks gas station, trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said.
Troopers have attributed the accident to muddy road conditions and do not anticipate issuing any citations, she said.
The Fairbanks newspaper reports a lapse between the time of the crash and the time it was reported:
The crash was not immediately reported to law enforcement because Riley was rescued by someone driving a private vehicle who passed him not long after the crash, Ipsen said. He arrived at the hospital at about 7:30 p.m.
NOTICE OF TEMPORARY UNAVAILABILITY OF FORMER GOV> RILEY