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.