Pickup driver sentenced for hitting bicyclist
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.