Brazilian who ran down cyclists to find out today if he will be jailed prior to trial
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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Brazilian who ran down cyclists to find out today if he will be jailed prior to trial

by Shane Stokes at 6:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: General, Advocacy, Injury
 
Drove his car into group of riders prior to fleeing scene

Critical MassA 47 year old Brazilian banker is thought likely to be charged with attempted murder after ploughing his car into a group of cyclists involved in a Critical Mass demonstration in Porto Alegre last Friday. Ricardo Neis was held up by the mass group of riders and, as is clearly visible from camera footage taken at the scene, accelerated and drove his car through those ahead of him.

He hit an estimated 20 riders at high speed but, miraculously, none were killed. A number were badly injured and taken to hospital afterwards.

Neis claimed afterwards that he was threatened by the riders, who banged on the roof of his car and broke his wing mirror. Previous claims that windows were smashed are unfounded. Camilo Colling, one of the members of the ride who spoke with Neis moments before the incident, told Terra Brasil that they asked him to drive carefully, warning him that women and children were in the group ahead. He said that Neil replied, “yes, but I’m in a hurry.”

He hit the accelerator soon afterwards and ploughed into those ahead. He drove off and abandoned his car, removing the licence plates in order to try to escape detection.

“I am terribly upset with everything that happened. I very much regret what happened to them all, but I had no other alternative,” he claimed in an interview with the O Jornal publication . “I was being attacked, they broke the mirror," he said.

The mirror has been confirmed as damaged, but it will be difficult to validate his version of events, as it could also have been broken by the impact of many bikes being hit by his car. Chief police investigator Gilberto Montenegro has described his story as ‘fanciful.’

“It can be clearly seen that he ran over several innocent cyclists simply because they were blocking his way," prosecutors Eugenio Amorim and Lucia Callegari said in a statement yesterday.

Montenegro told reporters that Neis was aware as to what would happen when he acted as he did. “He assumed the risk (of hurting people) when he used his car as a weapon,” he said.

Neis entered a psychiatric clinic yesterday, saying that he is experiencing stress. He will find out today if he will be taken into custody prior to a trial.

His 15 year old son was reportedly in the car with him at the time of the incident.

Critical mass demonstrations are held in cites around the world on the final Friday of each month. They are intended to make a point that the roads also belong to cyclists, and to encourage more to use it as a form of transport.

Footage from the incident is available on You Tube, but makes for disturbing viewing.

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Picture: Previous Critical Mass event in Hungary

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