Mandeville Canyon Road Rage driver Christopher Thompson sentenced to five years in prison
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Road Rage driver sentenced to five years in prison

by Bjorn Haake at 8:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Commuting, Advocacy
 

Christopher Thompson was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday. The doctor was convicted of assaulting two cyclists in Brentwood, California, by driving in front of them and slamming on his brakes, the LA Times reported. A judge described the case as a wake-up call about tensions between cyclists and motorists on Los Angeles' streets.

Thompson was clad in a blue prisoner's outfit and cried, as he apologized to the injured riders. Thompson was less apologetic in previous court sessions and blamed the cyclists for their injuries. In a change of mind he pleaded for peaceful resolutions in conflicts between cyclists and residents of the upscale residential street where the crash took place - which is probably the most positive part in this ugly case of road rage.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Scott T. Millington expressed doubts about the physician's remorse. He called on cyclists and drivers to respect each other. The California Vehicle Code specifically spells out that cyclists have the same rights and the same responsibilities as drivers of vehicles.

Residents of Mandeville Canyon Road, a winding five-mile residential street, had been enraged due to cyclists not following the traffic rules. At the same time, motorists are trying to pass cyclists when it is not safe to do so.

Thompson's conviction finally made him understand what he had done, prompting him to read a statement. He said that cyclists and canyon residents were at a crossroads. He then proceeded to cite the Bible and urged reconciliation and a resolution to the differences from both sides.

"If my incident shows us anything, it's that confrontation leads only to escalation of hostility and not resolution," he said. "You cannot fix the problem if you are consumed with affixing the blame."

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