Former CapMetro driver sentenced for 2019 death of cyclist on UT campus

Raiyan Shaik, General News Reporter

A former Capital Metro driver arrested in 2019 for fatally striking a cyclist on UT campus pleaded guilty to criminal negligent homicide in early February.

Former bus driver Mindi Stafford was sentenced to 250 hours of community service and seven years of deferred adjudication, which is similar to probation but allows defendants the opportunity to keep their conviction off their criminal record. The 2019 accident occurred when Stafford accidentally merged into the bike lane, resulting in the death of 39-year-old cyclist Anthony John Diaz. Reports say Stafford was slow to react as passengers warned her about the cyclist. After the accident, police stated that Stafford failed a sobriety test but was not under the influence of any alcohol or illegal drugs.

“I think it’s a travesty of justice,” said Adam Loewy, the attorney who represented Diaz’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit. “It’s a disgrace that she’s not going to serve even some time in prison, and it’s very disappointing.”

While initially charged with manslaughter, Stafford accepted a plea deal with prosecutors for the lesser charge. However, Stafford’s previous lawyer doesn’t agree with the deal.

“I thought Ms. Stafford was not guilty and should have tried the case,” Stafford’s former attorney Charlie Baird said. “(Stafford) was not aware that the bicyclist was there. She was not aware that she was about to run over him. Without that awareness, I just don’t believe it was a crime.”

According to FOX 7 Austin, one of Diaz’s family members said “she can understand why some people think seven years deferred adjudication is not enough time to serve for Tony’s death, but their family is very forgiving and okay with the plea deal.”