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Archive for Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baldwin City man to face trial in bicycle hit and run

November 11, 2010

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A Douglas County judge on Wednesday ordered a 48-year-old Baldwin City man to face a trial for a July 15 incident in which a Lawrence bicyclist was injured south of Lawrence.

Defendant Scott A. Young pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated battery, criminal damage, reckless driving, failure to report an accident and leaving the scene of an injury accident.

During an afternoon preliminary hearing, two Lawrence bicyclists said an angry driver drove up from behind them on East 1400 Road about 6:30 p.m. and hurled obscenities at the pack of seven riders. East 1400 Road is an extension of Louisiana Street south of the city.

Then cyclist Benn Stover of the Lawrence Bicycle Club said the driver of a black pickup truck drove forward to the front of the pack, swerved over and struck the lead rider, Rob Wilshusen, who fell to the side of the road.

“I have no doubt in my mind that it was intentional,” Stover testified. “I have to say that the amount of movement toward the front rider wouldn’t be able to be taken into anything other than intention to hit him.”

Wilshusen testified he heard another rider scream at him to watch out before he saw the truck next to him. After attempting to lean against the truck to hold his balance, he said he thought the right front wheel ran over his front bicycle wheel. He eventually fell to the shoulder of the road.

“I knew I was going down. I knew he was so close. I could literally lean into him,” Wilshusen said.

He said he suffered abrasions to his shoulder, back and hip. He had a hematoma on his left hip and sore ribs. Wilshusen said Wednesday he still has problems with back soreness.

He also testified the accident caused severe damage to his equipment and his bicycle frame.

Stover said the incident occurred as the southbound riders and the truck’s driver were approaching a crest in the two-lane county road.

Prosecutors revealed Wednesday that Stover later picked Young out of a photo lineup. A Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy who interviewed the defendant about the incident testified that Young acknowledged exchanging words with the bicyclists.

The deputy said Young told him he didn’t recall striking any of the riders but that he heard a noise as he passed the riders.

“He indicated that if he did make contact with a bicyclist, it was not intentional,” deputy Phil Mathis said.

Young’s attorney Rick Frydman argued the damage to Wilshusen’s bicycle and equipment was less than $1,000, which would have made the count a misdemeanor. But Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone said the issue could be argued at trial.

Malone scheduled Young’s trial for Feb. 28.

Comments

skinny 4 years, 1 month ago

He has a good attorney and will beat the charges against him. If not he'll get the charges dropped to a simple misdemeanor. Bet?

Take_a_letter_Maria 4 years, 1 month ago

"After attempting to lean against the truck to hold his balance, he said he thought the right front wheel ran over his front bicycle wheel. He eventually fell to the shoulder of the road."

If Wilshusen actually said this, look for the attorney to point out that the cyclist initiated contact. Not a wise move Rob.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

His lawyer (a really nice guy, btw) probably will point that out. But if someone tries to hit you, and you try to block it, that doesn't mean that there was no assault.

Take_a_letter_Maria 4 years, 1 month ago

I wouldn't know Mr. Frydman from Adam, but the argument to be made would be along the lines of the defendant was not trying to hit anyone so there was nothing for the victim to block. The victim's own over-reaction could be to blame for result of the incident.

Before the cycling community jumps on my back, I am NOT claiming this is what happened or that the defendant is innocent. I'm simply saying that if Mr. Frydman is a good attorney then the statement made by Mr. Wilshusen could very well be the thing that is used to create a level of doubt necessary to find him not guilty.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 1 month ago

If the evidence otherwise presented here is accurate, that claim won't fly. The only reason he was even in a position to consider leaning against the truck is that the driver attempted to run him off the road, and that's about the only defense a cyclist has in such a situation.

hail2oldku 4 years, 1 month ago

Add that statement to "Stover said the incident occurred as the southbound riders and the truck’s driver were approaching a crest in the two-lane county road."

And I can see where the defense would argue he was just trying to complete his pass and make sure he was in the proper lane when cresting the hill. Dude could get off with nothing more than passing in a no passing zone.

Get a jury trial with a couple of anti-bicycle folks on it and you may very well be right Maria. I'll keep my money right where it is Skinny, thanks for the wager offer.

shanep 4 years, 1 month ago

Let the punishment fit the crime. All monetary damages should be paid, then he should have to lie in the road while all the cyclists present that day run HIM over. If you don't like cyclists, that's fine, but is there really need to bring harm upon another individual just because you don't like their chosen form of recreation??

lawrencenerd 4 years, 1 month ago

He didn't recall hitting the rider but heard a noise as he passed them? What a crock of BS. You don't total a bicycle with your car without noticing.

boltzmann 4 years, 1 month ago

Man, it must not be fun for you to me such an unpleasant individual.

parrothead8 4 years, 1 month ago

Who cares? Your argument is, essentially, that you and your time are so important that you just can't take the time to slow down and pass someone safely if they aren't conforming to rules of the road. Not to mention, your argument is based solely on something you made up, that "they were taking up the whole lane," which is impossible for you to know unless you were riding with them (doubtful) or you were in the truck that hit them (equally doubtful, as I would guess we would have heard about that.)

You have no idea why cyclists may be riding three abreast at times. Maybe there was a dead animal they had to swerve around. Maybe there was a pothole, although I know that's impossible to believe on the fine roads we have in Lawrence.

The point is, it doesn't matter if they are being irresponsible. You're being just as irresponsible if you hit them. Two parties being irresponsible doesn't make the world any better.

ft020870 4 years, 1 month ago

There are rules that need to be followed by cyclist just as autos, I have found that alot more riders are out there and they dont have any concern for any type of rules and think that they dont apply to them when they are on their bikes. i see it every day i work out by clinton lake. when i bike i move over.. why because i dont want to get hit by an automobile. drivers and riders just dont be stupid. if you are dumb enough to play chicken with a car and you are on a bike then good luck and can i please put out an insurance policy on you..... signed.. rider and driver

ToriFreak13 4 years, 1 month ago

if the cyclist leaned into the truck...he provoked his own consequences. share the road doesn't mean cyclists get a free pass...they have to be just as defensive...you know the truck has to pass your large group on narrow roads. i bet you don't stand your ground against a moving vehicle again lol

hail2oldku 4 years, 1 month ago

Dude lost both his jobs in the same day?

Sorry, couldn't resist.

oldbikeman 4 years, 1 month ago

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oldbikeman 4 years, 1 month ago

For those satisfied this was a simple accident or that it was the victim's own fault. Not reported in the JW but included in yesterday's testimony was the actual exchange of words between Mr Young and Mr Stover before the encounter with Mr Wilshusen. Mr Young to Mr Stover through his open passenger window -- "You dumb mother ------, get off the ------- road". Mr Stover to Mr Young -- "Thanks, Bye'. Mr Stover explained to the court that he and other seasoned cyclists have learned that responding in kind only fuels what can easily explode into a dangerous situation. Finally, did Mr Young testify that Mr Stover spoke offensively to him? No he did not. Only that -- "They may have exchanged words".

Jacks_Smirking_Revenge 4 years, 1 month ago

Sing with me now... "Why can't we be friends, why can't we be friends...."

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