Archive for Friday, April 8, 2011

Pickup driver sentenced for hitting bicyclist

April 8, 2011


A Douglas County judge Friday sentenced a Baldwin City man to serve 14 days in jail and 18 months on probation for striking a bicyclist with his pickup truck last July south of Lawrence.

“The sharing of the road is more than just a slogan here,” District Judge Michael Malone said. “It’s something that everybody needs to live and learn by.”

Malone also ordered Scott A. Young, 48, to complete anger management counseling and write a letter of apology to Rob Wilshusen, who suffered injuries to his shoulder, back and hip as a result of the July 15, 2010, collision on East 1400 Road — an extension of Louisiana Street south of Broken Arrow Park.

A jury in March convicted Young of reckless aggravated battery. Prosecutors had presented evidence that Young was angry about a group of cyclists being on the road. Several cyclists testified Young came upon the group, yelled obscenities at them and then struck Wilshusen as he veered closer to the right shoulder.

The defense had said Young regretted yelling at the cyclists as he passed them but that he wasn’t aware he had struck anyone because he was approaching a hill and trying to veer back into the right lane of traffic.

Defense attorney Rick Frydman said Young has been participating in anger-management counseling because his temper got the best of him that day.

“It’s an issue of controlling his anger, which I believe my client has a hold of that and will continue to work on that,” Frydman said.

Young apologized to Wilshusen, who did not attend the sentencing. Young also said he wanted to help educate others about building respect for one another on the road.

“Unfortunately the press uses these events to sell newspapers, and they don’t relay a vital message that really comes from this,” Young said. “And that is we’re all on this earth today, and without respect and compassion for other people, we all suffer.

“My message to everyone is what I’ve learned from this experience. Don’t let anger take control of your actions.”

Assistant Douglas County District Attorney James McCabria asked Malone to order Young to enroll in a driving school and for him to serve some time in jail.

Malone did not order Young to attend driving school because he said his anger was the root cause of the incident. But the judge did say Young was fortunate Wilshusen did not suffer more serious injuries and that he wanted to send a message to drivers with the jail time in the case.

“When vehicles and bicyclists collide, it’s not a fair fight,” Malone said. “So drivers must use great caution when they’re on the road.”

Young will be allowed to be released from jail for work during his two-week sentence that begins April 16. He also must pay court costs in the case, and the parties are still negotiating restitution, mostly through Young’s insurance.


Deja Coffin 6 years, 9 months ago

Believe it or not it's more then what one young man got after a hit and run accident that killed an individual. The Douglas County court system is a joke. While I've seen a few instances where a judge steps up and gives a fair punishment; more often I see people doing horrible, life changing things and barely getting a slap on the wrist.

pizzapete 6 years, 9 months ago

I was hoping they might suspend this guys license for a year or so.

Hudson Luce 6 years, 9 months ago

That's not within the court's jurisdiction, that's a decision made by the Kansas DMV.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 9 months ago

Reckless aggravated battery with a 4,000 pound pick-up gets you 14 days in jail. That's just unbelievable. If that driver killed him, would the judge given him an extra week? At an absolute minimum, he needs to lose his driver's license for the rest of his life. No one has a right to a license, it's a privilege.

Emily Hadley 6 years, 9 months ago

14 days is a disgrace, but he also gets to leave every day to go to work? What's the point?

He very easily could have killed Rob and others, and effects of those injuries will remain with Rob for the rest of his life.

The message that has been sent here is a shameful and dangerous one.

puddleglum 6 years, 9 months ago

14 days in jail, and he gets to go work also? you gotta be kidding me??? attempted vehicular homicide was the correct charge. This sentence is completely outrageous. How many more cyclists must die in this county before people realize the extent to which their actions can alter others' lives?
It is nice to hear the guy apologize and all that, but Rob is very lucky to be alive.
I can't imagine how I would feel if I had a loved one harmed by someone having a road-rage-fit while driving a pickup truck into a lane of bicycle riders. I can imagine the outcome, however.

compmd 6 years, 9 months ago

In Vice City, KS, you can do whatever you like!

topeka52 6 years, 9 months ago

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cato_the_elder 6 years, 9 months ago

While the defendant's actions here were out of line, when is law enforcement going to do something about bicyclists riding 4 and 5 abreast on our county roads and thumbing their noses at motor vehicle drivers who are trying to contend with the dangerous situations they routinely create?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

As long as they stay on the right side of the road, they present no more difficulty in passing than any other vehicle on the road.

Get over yourself.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 9 months ago

Bozo, I'm talking about blocking one and a half lanes on county roads. Ask anyone who drives in the county. It happens all the time.

Perhaps if you had a driver's license you would know that.

puddleglum 6 years, 9 months ago

when will law enforcement do something about all of the drunk drivers out there? when will law enforcement do something about all of the speeders out there? when will law enforcement do something about all of the driving text-messengers? when will law enforcement do something about all of the inattentive drivers out there? when will law enforcement do something about all of the tax-evaders out there? when will law enforcement do something about all of the law-breakers out there?

well, anyway cato- finish your geritol and get back to the subject. Don't bring up topics that don't apply to this situation.

grimpeur 6 years, 9 months ago

Wow. You really have a knack for exaggeration.

Chelsea Kapfer 6 years, 9 months ago

I have never run into that, and I drive in the country everyday to get to work. Besides, I don't think there is anywhere you need to be in such a hurry that you can't wait and pass when it is safe.

puddleglum 6 years, 9 months ago

that's most likely due to one's underlying jealousy of watching someone in better physical condition than oneself, exercise-this is a proven trigger to erupt emotions. Beautiful people who continue being beautiful always make fat people feel bad about themselves.

I know this personally, especially because I am both beautiful and physically envied. I try to make people feel good about themselves by spreading my golden aura wherever I go.

But I tell ya what, I'm gonna help you out Cato. I will suggest something to you, that should be a mandatory law before anyone ever receives their first driver's license.

Go out and ride your bike-or borrow mine-and make sure you wear your helmet. Observe all laws-like I do. enjoy yourself-you don't have to be lance armstrong. and be sure to keep track of every car that breaks a law while you ride. more importantly (this part is easy) keep track of how many times some punk leans out their window and yells at you. Enjoy all the times motorist see how close they can get to brushing your shoulder. See with amazement how many people throw beer bottles, cans or trash at you for absolutely no reason at all-other than the fact that you are a nice juicy target for some low-life to abuse. Why would they do this? Because, they really hate themselves, and go through life miserable, always trying to drag someone else's life down to their level. Also, they are in a car or truck-so they are sure they can just drive away and get away with it. Oh, and they have no idea of the real consequences of wrecking someone on a bike.

But if you can go ride your bike for 10 miles a day, every other day-I bet your tune will change. Big-time.

puddleglum 6 years, 9 months ago

no bcman, golden rays of hope and joy are the only colors coming from my eyes. you have yourself a nice weekend. Jerry would've wanted that.

puddleglum 6 years, 9 months ago

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

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cato_the_elder 6 years, 9 months ago

Puddleglum, the bogus personal characteristics you disingenuously ascribe to yourself are completely inconsistent with the traits of the C.S. Lewis character whose name you've borrowed, a point you might want to consider. I'll bet that in reality you look a lot like old Puddleglum himself. Perhaps you've never read any C.S. Lewis and simply heard the name somewhere.

In any event, let's stay away from county roads this time. I suggest that you spend a day driving an automobile within the city limits of Lawrence and observe the large number of bicycle riders who routinely do the following:

  1. Never stop at a red light or stop sign.

  2. Weave through a line of cars stopped waiting for a red light to change and then run the red light.

  3. Weave through a line of cars stopped waiting at a stop sign and then run the stop sign.

  4. Make a left turn in front of a car that has already entered an intersection, forcing the driver of the car to slam on his or her brakes to avoid hitting the bicyclist.

  5. Ride without a clue through heavy automobile traffic towing infants behind them in makeshift carriers, a practice that I'm told is not illegal but sure as heck ought to be when an automobile driver can get a ticket for transporting an infant without securing the transported child in a baby car seat.

I could go on, but suffice it to say that you might be happier if you moved to Toronto. I crocodiled two of your brethren there on successive days during a visit some years ago when twice I quite innocently opened the door of my taxicab. They both acted like it was my fault, and one of them, a courier for a law office, threatened to sue me. I think you'd be very happy there.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 9 months ago

By the way, Puddleglum, chances are that I'm in much better physical shape than you are.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

" I crocodiled two of your brethren there on successive days during a visit some years ago when twice I quite innocently opened the door of my taxicab."

The first one might be chalked up to "innocence," assuming you'd never ridden in a car before, so you'd never learned that you should look before opening a door into what very well could be trailing or oncoming traffic. The second time is either cluelessness, or worse.

puddleglum 6 years, 9 months ago

cato, there are always people (motorists & cyclists) who break laws.

it is a fact of life. You notice cyclists, because you want to...take a look at motorists...they break laws all the time too. I can't defend cyclists breaking laws-but this thread was about the guy who intentionally drove into them and hit them with his pickup truck.

this is an act that should be punished, not a 14 day bed & breakfast sentence.

and yes, I am in better shape, and as no one will refute-I am totally more pretty than everyone else. get over it. it is a fact of life also.

again, go ride your bike in the city for 2 weeks and get back with me-you owe it to yourself.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

When was the last time you saw a cyclist getting a ticket for breaking a traffic law?

Katara 6 years, 9 months ago

  1. I witnessed one getting a ticket on the KU campus for running the stop sign up by the bookstore.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

So that would be 1 in 19 years.

Seems that traffic laws aren't being equally enforced, doesn't it?

gphawk89 6 years, 9 months ago

They do that to cyclists on campus every so often. In the late 80's a cyclist decided to run the stop sign at Jayhawk and Sunflower. He got pasted in the middle of the intersection by a friend of mine who was on a motorcycle. My friend was fine, his cycle a bit beat up. The cyclist ended up with several broken bones, a destroyed bicycle, and a ticket.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 9 months ago

This guy is a frustrated moron. Bet he is a tea bagger.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 9 months ago

No, Bozo, I chalked it up to having been beseiged by a bevy of idiot bicycle riders who were paying no attention to where they were going and consistently acted like they owned the road. That's why I suggested to Puddleglum that he might want to move to Toronto.

puddleglum 6 years, 9 months ago

marshwiggles prefer river towns. don't you read your c.s. lewis? yes I am thin, yes I am tall, yes my hair is not unlike straw.

but I am very pretty.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 9 months ago

Then perhaps you should live by the toxic swamp that's been created south of Haskell on 31st Street.

repaste 6 years, 9 months ago

koo koo bird. I would put money that I've biked around this town more than you and rarely see these things you speak of . I do see a bevy of aggressive and/or inattentive cars that put my life at risk. A few bikers are ignorant, most students, some county admins. Most of us are just trying to stay healthy, soak up some fresh air and avoid the big white suv, the one you might be driving.

repaste 6 years, 9 months ago

everyone is taught to look before you open your car door, you imply you injured those riders on purpose, road rage, you might have anger/control issues.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 9 months ago

No, not on purpose at all. If they'd been paying attention neither incident would have occurred.

And no, I don't drive a white SUV. In fact, I've never owned an SUV. Accusing me out of the blue of owning an SUV is proof of your bigoted view of those who drive automobiles.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

I saw a case in small claims court in which a car driver opened the door of his car on the traffic side of the road, and somebody driving by tore it off.

The fellow who opened the door was at fault - apparently the burden is on that person to pay attention.

But, I do share your experience of most bike riders in Lawrence.

grimpeur 6 years, 9 months ago

And both of you are commenting in the wrong article.

topeka52 6 years, 9 months ago

Cato, get back to the point of the article. The driver who intentionally ran into a bike rider and was sentenced to a mere 14 days (nights) in jail. You appear to have a bigoted veiw of bicyclists.

ConcernedCynic 6 years, 9 months ago

Scott Young used his truck as a weapon. Was it taken from him? If you shoot or stab someone, the police take your gun or knife from you, so why not a truck?

brewmaster 6 years, 9 months ago

I've witnessed numerous individual bike riders and "apparelled" group riders that deliberately ride in the middle of the road, ride through stop lights and stop signs, and generally exhibit grossly irresponsible and unsafe bike riding conduct. It is clear that the purpose of such conduct is to provoke and taunt motorists into an altercation.

My point is that the bike riders sometimes...many times...have malicious intent, too.

ConcernedCynic 6 years, 9 months ago

I seriously doubt that bicyclist deliberately intend to get run over by a truck. Besides, from all accounts, these bicyclist were obeying the law. Scott young obviously was not. Scott Young used a weapon to attack someone... 14 days for aggravated assault and battery is pathetic.

puddleglum 6 years, 9 months ago

now we have malicious cyclists!

I've heard it all.

grimpeur 6 years, 9 months ago

Ah, yes, you pretend that cyclists are maliciously trying to provoke you so that it seems less cowardly to, say, act maliciously or with vigilante intent, using your car as a weapon against any cyclist you observe who is breaking the law. Is that what you're getting at with your "malicious" bull? That leads easily to how just by being in the roadway, cyclists are deliberately attempting to harass and provoke motorists. And that slowing down to yell at them, or buzzing them with your car at full speed, is okay? That's what you think, right?


Sorry. Riding single file two abreast is not malicious or provocative except in the eyes of certain motorists. And let's face it: the truth is that cyclists riding four breast (in their own lane) are no more dangerous than two abreast except when certain motorists are present to pretend that they (the motorists) are being provoked.

What a loser. How bout you don't come in here with this weak crap again, hmmm?

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 9 months ago

Carrying a gun is something cyclists should take seriously.

When you life is being threatened, you have every right to defend yourself.

puddleglum 6 years, 9 months ago

Now we talkin'! I do carry-and suggest that every cyclist do so as well. Ruger LCP .380 is a good choice-very light weight. Another fine choice is the Taurus TCP .380...I carry a .357 mag, of course. 2 loads are shotshells for fun & games: the others are all critical defense hollow points.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

What's ironic is that the vast majority of cyclists about whom there are legitimate complaints look at cycling the same way the most vociferous complainers do-- it's not a "real" vehicle, so they don't need to follow any rules (and cyclists deserve no respect.)

Until we all begin to take cycling seriously, and treat cyclists with respect, it will remain a source of annoyance. But I'll take that annoyance over the extreme danger represented by the 1/4 of the motoring public who should likely have their licenses revoked.

Hudson Luce 6 years, 9 months ago

Unless the cyclist signs an agreement not to sue Mr Young as part of the restitution agreement, Mr Young could be on the wrong end of a nasty civil law suit, and the standard for determining liability is "preponderance of the evidence", i.e it's more likely than not that Mr Young intended the consequences of his action. On top of which, his insurance company is likely to drop him like a hot potato after this is all over, and he'll have a fun time getting insurance after this - and it is required by law to have liability insurance in effect before driving a car in the State of Kansas.

BaldwinDad 6 years, 9 months ago

I still don't see how any of this compensated the victim....14 days in jail is a would have been better to make him give 14 days of his income to the actual victim who now has to pay to feed, clothe, educate and provide medical services for the same man that almost killed him.

All you people on this forum calling for this person to go to jail for a longer sentence are truly ignorant. Yes, are criminal justice system is a joke...since it only exists to support itself not to keep us the public safer.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

Good points.

Restorative justice is a much better idea than punitive justice, for exactly the reasons you mention.

The guy who hit the cyclist should have to pay for any medical bills he caused.

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