Does God have curious ways of making sure that corrupt SOBs pay for their misdeeds? I'm starting to think the answer is yes after learning earlier today that former Alabama Governor Bob Riley crashed his motorcycle in Alaska.
Riley used his long-planned motorcycle trip as an excuse to escape testifying (so far) in the ongoing federal electronic-bingo prosecution in Montgomery--a sideshow that was caused almost entirely by Riley's pathological desire to shut down gaming that would compete with his Mississippi Choctaw financial backers.
U.S. Magistrate Terry Moorer, in a decision that was both legally and ethically dubious, allowed Riley to get away without testifying. So what does the former governor do with his good fortune? He goes to Alaska and darned near kills his silly self.
Riley is alive, but he did not get away unscathed among the abundant wildlife of the American North. Riley crashed on a gravel road near Fairbanks, Alaska, and here is how The Birmingham News reported the results:
Riley, 66, lost control of his Harley-Davidson motorcycle while traveling on a gravel road north of Fairbanks. He suffered 7 broken ribs, a broken clavicle and a punctured lung, according to Rob Riley, his oldest son.
Rob Riley said he spoke to his father late Sunday. He said doctors told him his father would be hospitalized for at least several days.
"He's pretty banged up, but he's fine," Rob Riley said. "He's disappointed because this isn't the way he wanted to end the trip, but otherwise he's in good spirits."
Interestingly, certain members of the Riley clan don't seem to be in a big hurry to visit their fallen "leader":
Rob Riley, a lawyer in Birmingham, said he was leaving this afternoon to fly to Fairbanks, and that his mother, former First Lady Patsy Riley, would fly up later this week.
“God was watching out for him,” Patsy Riley said in a statement released by the family. “We feel blessed because it could have been so much worse.”
Patsy must be worried, but it sounds like she's going to wait for super-saver airfare to Alaska.
One can only imagine the guffaws that must have erupted among defendants in the bingo trial upon hearing that Bob Riley and his macho image had crashed--and almost burned. A few key questions come to mind: Was Bob's pompadour 'do mussed in the crash? Did his cowboy boots get scratched?
I wonder if chief defendant Milton McGregor imagined Riley being thrown from his bike, where humans could not see him, screaming helplessly as grizzly bears fed on his miserable carcass. If McGregor did not imagine that scenario, I sure as hell did.
Here is more delicious irony: A long-time Riley watcher tells me that the motorcycle excursion almost certainly is a smokescreen, that it's not the "Bob goes back to Nature" tour that is being portrayed. Our source says it probably is about meetings with oil magnates, Russian or Canadian gambling honchos, or foreign interests who might be interested in bankrolling another run for public office.
Did Bob Riley's lust for power and cash almost get him killed? Hmmm.
Some Riley haters, of which I definitely am one, probably thought, "Damn, why didn't he buy the farm?" But that never entered my mind. I want him to be in fine shape when Lady Justice finally locks her jaws around his neck--so he can feel some of the pain he's helped inflict on others.
It's certainly possible that Bob Riley never will be held accountable for his monstrous crimes. But I still hold out hope that a just God is paying attention and will eventually bring Big Bob to his knees.
If and when that day comes, Bob Riley might look back on his motorcycle crash as "the good old days."