Reckless driver guilty on all counts
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Friday, November 6, 2009

Reckless driver guilty on all counts

by Bjorn Haake at 11:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: General, Advocacy

Earlier this week, Christopher Thompson's jury found him guilty on all charges in a road rage incident that happened in July 2008. Thompson is accused of having passed two cyclists on a road in Brentwood, California, then slamming on his brakes to make them crash.

The seven charges included assault with a deadly weapon. Thompson was taken away and held without bail. "There's not a cyclist in Los Angeles who would feel comfortable with this defendant out on the road after this verdict," said Deputy District Attorney Mary Stone, the prosecutor, according to the LA Times.

Thompson, an emergency doctor, will be sentenced on December 3 and faces up to ten years in state prison. Additional charges include battery with serious injury and reckless driving causing injury.

Thompson had earlier bouts of road rage, but this was the first time he was tried for it. The incident happened on Mandeville Canyon Road, a winding five-mile narrow residential street with a posted speed limit of 30mph.

Thompson passed the cyclists without safe distance, then hit his brakes. Ron Peterson crashed into the rear windshield, breaking his front teeth and nose. He also had facial injuries that left permanent scars. The other rider, Christian Stoehr, suffered from a separated shoulder.

In court, a police officer testified that Thompson told him he wanted "to teach them a lesson." Thompson later denied making such remarks and instead claims that he passed the cyclists, then stopped his car further down the road to get out and take pictures of the cyclists. He said they swore at him and flipped him off when he told them to ride single file as he passed them.

The claim of having stopped the car and the cyclists riding straight into it with clear visibility seems far fetched and the fact that Thompson asked the riders to go single file shows he is not very familiar with the California Vehicle Code.

Peterson hoped that "this brings to light how vulnerable cyclists are out there." Stoehr was unable to work for several months, but was somewhat sympathetic with Thompson. "It's sad for both sides," Stoehr said. "I lost a lot of my time and my life, and he's losing a lot of his." Indeed. Please ride and drive safely.


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