Today Show interview w/ celeb. driver who killed cyclist.

  • Home
  • Today Show interview w/ celeb. driver who killed cyclist.
18 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

"This morning Matt Lauer, on the ""Today"" show, interviewed a teary former Miss America (2000), the wife of the former Lt. Gov. of Kentucky. We were supposed to feel sympathy for HER because SHE, driving, hit and killed a cyclist, a German woman who was the mother of four.

Yeah, sure, Miss America expressed all the right sentiments for the killed cyclist, but the transcript may not reflect the full measure of Lauer's solicitiousness of her and her seeking sympathy for herself. Read it and retch.


From the Today Show on November 17, 2003...

MATT LAUER, co-host:

It has been quite a year for former Miss America Heather French Henry,
one she probably wouldn't wish on anyone else. French first gained
national attention when she was crowned Miss America back in 2000. Her
platform was America's war veterans. French then became one-half of a
power couple when she married Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Stephen Henry.
But last month tragedy. She was at the wheel of her SUV when she hit a
bicyclist, killing her.

Heather French Henry, good morning. Nice to have you here.

Ms. HEATHER FRENCH HENRY (Former Miss America): Good morning, Matt.
Thank you.

LAUER: I called and talked to your husband just a couple of days after
this happened. I think you were in the room...

Ms. HENRY: Right.

LAUER: ...and he said you were just unable to even talk. Give me an
idea of what these last couple of months have been like for you.

Ms. HENRY: It was almost impossible to talk about, especially the first
couple of weeks. And, you know, even now, getting to come out now, is
more to help others who've been through it, and more so to say thank you.
Thousands of letters and e-mails from peo--all around the world that
people have been through the same situation. And a gentleman from
Australia e-mailed me and said, `This happened to me. You don't know
me.' And then, of course, the veterans work that I had done, it was just
so ironic, you know, having helped veterans for so long, trying to live
with the aftermath of war and death...

LAUER: And trauma.

Ms. HENRY: ...and now--and trauma--and now a lot of those veterans are
helping me.

LAUER: Let's talk about it. It was October 12th.

Ms. HENRY: Right.

LAUER: And you're in your SUV. And you're at a light waiting to make a
turn. The light turns green. Take me from there.

Ms. HENRY: It--you know, the hardest thing to live with is seeing her
face, her hand in the air and her screaming, `No,' and trying everything
you can to avoid an unavoidable accident. And it replays through your
mind all the time. You know, you swerve the car to the right, because I
was fully aware that there were cars to the left, and I had my daughter
in the back, and it was--there was just no way to get around it. And
then you stop...

LAUER: So you made--you made this turn. She was on a bicycle.

Ms. HENRY: She--it darted out from...

LAUER: Outside the crosswalk.

Ms. HENRY: Right, mm-hmm.

LAUER: And from what I understand, there was a lot of sun glare on the

Ms. HENRY: There was a lot, and not blinding sun I will say. But it
made me concentrate really hard. It's a very busy intersection. There
are six lanes of traffic going in and out of that area. And you're
always very aware of how much room you're taking in that turn, especially
in a truck with other cars there. And so I was paying very good
attention to where my car was actually going in that turn. And
when--it's just like when a child darts out in traffic to get a ball. I
mean, it's just--there's--your instinct is automatically, of course, to
swerve, but it was just--it was just no...

LAUER: You hit her with the center of the grill, basically. What did
you do immediatel"

Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)
Wait ... wait until ...

... her auto-biography comes out and she is hired by ClearChannel as a radio DJ.

Sympathy. For her? And her FUV? Why the hell does she need a truck anyway. SUV! The thing probably is clean as a whistle (marred only with some blood) and has never seen mud or hauled anything but her caracass.

_________________(Insert some nasty emoticon.)

Anonymous's picture
Sal (not verified)

She has to move on with her life...she struggles to get out of bed...vomitrocious.

Anonymous's picture
Chris T (not verified)
Just another example of...

"the victim centered thinking that is so pervasive in our American society; the ""oh please pity me, because I have been [abused, slandered, trodden on, pick your verb] sometime in my past.

I will not deny the emotions that Ms. Heather French Henry felt after the accident. But to get on national TV and replay the emotions in one breath, and say

""It was almost impossible to talk about, especially the first couple of weeks. And, you know, even now, getting to come out now, is more to help others who've been through it, and more so to say thank you.""

To me, this is all an act. It's just another talent contest for this pagent winner.

""It was almost impossible to talk about, "" ...well, who said that we wanted to hear from you? Tell me again, who do you think you are helping? FUV owners who have hit cyclists and killed them? What, are you going to start a 12-step program for ""others""? Give me a break. And stay off the air. Deal with your emotions at home.

She was probably advised to make this public act of contrition so that she would curry favor with said public, just in case that she would be charged with any violation of traffic law, or at worst vehicular manslaughter.

Meanwhile, the name of the deceased, the real victim -- a German national mother of four children, is not mentioned at all. Well Matt Lauer, did you agree not to mention her name so that you can get this ""exclusive"" with Miss Used-to-be-America?"

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Blaming the victim

"As Chris notes, the interview avoids more than mentioning the actual victim, the cyclist who was killed.

To use a grammatical metaphor, the victim is simply the direct object of the sentence, Miss America the subject -- the agent who acts and thinks (if you want to call it that) and, most significantly, feels. She has shaped the conversation to her own advantage. And of course, being dead, the cyclist can no longer talk back.

So rather than being ""victim centered,"" here's another example of America's culture of narcissism and celebrity entitlement. Adult morality and responsiblity are nowhere in sight. For me anyways, that's what most sickening about it."

Anonymous's picture
Chris T (not verified)
What is the victim's name?

"Thank you Carol. You said this so nicely, I have to repeat it:

So rather than being ""victim centered,"" here's another example of America's culture of narcissism and celebrity entitlement. Adult morality and responsiblity are nowhere in sight.

It sickend me as well, I just could not articulate it as well as you could.

As for the grammatical, Ms. French spins it so that she is the Object as well as the Subject. You can't get anymore narcacistic than that.

The implications of her bad karma have not even been considered.


Anonymous's picture
Michael (not verified)
Outside the Crosswalk

They keep making the point about the cyclist being outside the crosswalk (aren't we supposed to be??) I still don't get how a turning car had right of way over a bike going straight, unless she had an arrow????

Maybe some day Matt Lauer will be jay walking to/from Rock Center and a cyclist can flatten his sorry ass... maybe Katie will interview the cyclist about the horrors of it all

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
where to voice your displeasure
Anonymous's picture
richard rosenthal (not verified)
"Letter to ""Today"" re: it's woeful interview with cyclist kill

"Thank you, Evan, for those e-addresses. I just sent them the following note, and will put it in the mail to Lauer and to the show's exec. producer.



Re: Matt Lauer's interview, Nov. 17, with Heather French Henry, the former Miss America and wife of the former lieutenant governor of Kentucky who, while driving her SUV, killed a cyclist who was the mother of four children.

There is something fishy about her story:

I. She states the cyclist was not riding in the crosswalk. Of course she wasn't. In every jurisdiction I'm aware of, it is illegal for a cyclist to ride IN the crosswalk. Crosswalks are a continuation of sidewalks. Except for children, cyclists are generally not permitted on sidewalks where they pose a danger to pedestrians.

2. If she was the careful driver she states she is and was waiting at a traffic light with the sun glaring in her eyes, then, when it turned green, turned towards a crosswalk, as she states she did, how could she have amassed the force and energy she did in those few feet to have the grille on her SUV crushed as it was and force enough to kill the cyclist on the spot?

In any event, why was this woman given air time by you given the thrust of her appearance was an ugly, ugly plea on her part that we have sympathy for HER? She said the accident was unavoidable. It sounds to me as though it was avoidable if she had shown regard for the presence of cyclists on the road, or for pedestrians crossing in the crosswalk. Her asking us to pity HER is as good a working definition of ""chutspah"" as I've heard.

Don't you think you should redress having her on the air by having a widow/widower/child/or parent of the one of the 700 cyclists killed by drivers every year?

Lest you dismiss my note as a rant, it might suggest something of the writer to know the first film I produced was directed by Andrew Lack...yes, the just past president of NBC.


Rosenthal Advertising
245 East 63rd Street
New York, NY 10021
Tel.: (212) 371-4700
Fax: (212) 888-5088
E-mail:[email protected]

*The creator of the expression ""One Less Car,"" used by pro-cycling, transportation advocates worldwide.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Did you get a reply?

Me neither.

Anonymous's picture
Justin (not verified)

"even after lamely proclaiming ""I'd never watch the show again"" - not that I ever have"

Anonymous's picture
robin (not verified)
sounds like PR to me

"She mentioned her work with the veterans several times...and within the first minute or so...just to show she really is a good person.

And he was leading her into all the ""right"" answers...very objective reporting, Matt!"

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
another suv runs over and kills another cyclist - url


Man Killed In Hit-And-Run Accident In Sunnyside


Police are searching for a hit-and-run driver who killed a man early Wednesday morning in the Sunnyside section of Queens.

Jaime Gonzalez, 21, was riding his bicycle home from his job as a deliveryman when he was struck by a white Cadillac Escalade on Northern Boulevard, at the intersection of 43rd Street, shortly before 2 a.m., police said. The SUV fled the scene.

Gonzalez was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital, where he died.

Police urge anyone with information about the hit-and-run to call the confidential hotline Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS."

Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)

... bites the dust. RIP.

I just don't understand why most folks would drive an FUV! Not a SUV, but FU ... V - a truck framed, 2 ton plus, step-up-entry monstrosity. OK, a larger, safer vehicle, but a truck ! And more and more of them. And most with questionable drivers.

I know the Caddilac Escalde - a real hybrid - a Caddy truck!!! There is a hospital-white one in my neighborhood - and it's a pick-up truck. It has a little bed in the back, maybe 3-4 feet wide. I don't know, fill it with a few bodies and cycles? OK, this driver may not be a bad one, but the vehicle itself - a luxury, pick-up!! With a fairly useless, small flat-bed!! A giant, local urban use get-a-round. Sheesh - gas and parking!

OK, end rant - and my point - giant vehicles are IN, so is cell-phoning. Get out the way kid on a bike. Not everyone one cares!

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Poor Heather!

"H.F.H. says, ""And part of the hopes of coming on with you and being on with others on national, I'm hoping that that family hears that, you know, this was not an accident that I just walked away from and just started my life over again."" Well, why not just tell them directly?

Lauer does ask her why she hasn't contacted the victim's family in Germany. She answers, ""I just don't think that either party we are really ready yet for that. I mean, it's a struggle enough for me to get out of bed."" So she has the energy to get out of bed in order to appear on national TV on the Today Show and Oprah, but not to make a telephone call.

This is all understandable: poor little beauty queen has a guilty conscience. But don't cry to the world, sobbing about how much pain that conscience is causing you. Life is not the fairy-tale you've been living in until now. You make mistakes, you pay the penalty, even if that penalty is only guilt eating away at your peace of mind.

And why is it that the press have never described the accident clearly? It's always about the victim being outside the crosswalk. Is there a conspiracy of silence here?"

Anonymous's picture
Lynn B (not verified)
Cyclist-aware driving

"Ranting and raving, when your life is at stake is not such an unreasonable response!
These news are getting me more and more furious.
Careless driving abounds in regular cars as well as SUVs.No matter how much you follow safe and aware riding, cars drive recklessly.
Twice in the past 3 weeks I was lightly ""hit"" by a car.
First, I was riding across Park avenue on a green light when a car turned and ran into me. The car was ""nice"" enough to stop and check that I was OK.
On another day, going North on Park avenue, a car actually swiped my left side. It did not stop.
In both cases, I was unharmed.
... but could have been.
I could not have been any more careful.
But the cars could have and should have been.
Drivers Licences, drivers' education,
Road Signs-
Tickets to offenders-
What to do?



Anonymous's picture
Yogi (not verified)
What to do?

There's safety in Numbers. More people riding means higher visibility for cyclists in minds of drivers.

Promote safe cycling- encourage friends, coworker, and neighbors to use bicycle as mode of transportation.

Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)
More depressing Stuff about cycling fatalities

Take a look at the first story in the current issue of T.A.'s on-line newsletter:

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Put Link on NYCC Homepage?


In the article is an efax to Speaker Silver and Senate Leader Bruno. While it may not do much, it only takes a minute to complete. Could we get the link on the NYCC Homepage?

cycling trips