July 4th Road Rage Crash Grabs Police and Media Attention

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Yesterday LAist broke the story, with graphic images, of a road rage-caused crash between two experienced cyclists and an emergency room doctor with a bid of a trigger temper.  Unlike past incidents, the mainstream media jumped on this story with graphic images making the story more “viewer friendly.”  KNBC and CBS2 both ran stories on last night’s news and the Bottleneck Blog and KFI 640 both have stories online. 

The power of the camera had a lot to do with the story gaining traction beyond the blogosphere.  Compare the coverage of this incident with the coverage the crash involving Randy Cruz received last May.

LAist tells the story in depth, but basically a motor vehicle driver, outraged that he was being asked to Share the Road, sped past some cyclists and slammed on his brakes; using his car as a weapon to critically injure the cyclists.  Ron Peterson had no time to swerve and ended up with his face slamming into the car’s rear windshield.  The other cyclist, Christian Stoehr, had more time to maneuver and escaped with an assortment of cuts and bruises.  Both cyclists are accomplished racers who know how to safely maneuver on the road.

When a third cyclist attempted to stop the doctor from leaving the scene the driver laid into him with curse words and threatened to drive over his bike.

The LAPD arrested and charged Dr. Christopher Thompson who was released on $30,000 bail.  No trial date has been set, but the Chief of Staff for Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the councilman in the area where the crash took place, assured LAist readers that, "The investigation will be handled by [West Los Angeles division] Detectives, who are seeking a criminal filing. When LAPD updates us on the progress, I will be sure to share that information here."

If you haven’t seen them yet, some of the more graphic images from the crash are available after the jump.

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Images: LAist 

  • that doctor is a world class a– —-.
    i hope the riders recover fully… and then press charges. that guy should be taken through the ringer.

    someone should hook these guys up with the bicycle lawyer.

  • This is such a horrific story. I cannot believe anyone could do this, let alone an emergency room doctor. They should take away his license to practice because clearly he has no regard for human life when he feels (and wrongly so) inconvenienced. They shouldn’t be charging him with assault, they should be charging him with attempted murder.

  • This is a purported eye witness account, either by “chunk”, or forwarded by “chunk”, on the Midnight Ridazz message boards. It would seem to give a more moderate picture of what happened . . . but I don’t know.

    Subject: July 4th Road Rage

    This is a description of what happened.

    The mood was great as we all had a great, safe and uneventful ride to the top of Mandeville Cyn. We then all left at different times down the Canyon. My friend Ed, was riding about 40 yards ahead of me. I was traveling at approximately 25 mph. I was then passed by 2 cyclists, Ron and Christian, who I have seen many times before on our weekly rides in the South Bay and these Holiday rides. I would estimate their speed at probably 3 to 5 mph faster than myself. They slowly pulled ahead of me and when they were about 50 ft. in front of me, a car started approaching from my rear with it’s horn blaring intermittently and passed me in a very aggressive way. The red Infinity, which was traveling at a speed that I would estimate to be between 40 to 45 mph, passed around to my left over the dividing line with it’s right side tires still in the right lane. I would guess the car to have been about 3-4 ft. away from me on my left. My position was just to the right of center of the lane. Ron and Christian were ahead of me and Ron was close to the center of the lane and Christian was to his right. The car continued on the same line and as it approached Ron and Christian, it passed them and then immediately cut in front of them in an intimidating deliberate, aggressive way. The driver was about 3-5 ft in front of Ron
    and Christian, who then yelled out to the driver in startled amazement and the driver then abruptly and with no notification whatsoever, slammed the brakes of his car. Ron immediately slammed into the back endof the car impacting the trunk portion and shattering the rear windshield with his face.

    Christian, who at the moment just prior to impact was about 2 feet behind and to the right of Ron, attempted to stop and hit Ron’s bike and flew over the trunk of the car to the left into the opposite lane of traffic. I immediately applied my brakes to stop at the scene. The time lapse from the car veering into their path and the impact and crash was about 2-3 seconds. As I approached the car
    about 4 to 5 seconds later, Ron was leaning against the trunk
    motionless, bleeding profusely from the face, his hands over his face, clearly in shock. Christian was lying on the ground moaning in severe pain.

    As I was holding onto Ron, the driver got out of his car and
    approached towards us. I yelled at him in utter amazement “Why did you do this? What are you doing, get the fuck away”. He was aggressive in his response saying, “Don’t tell me what to do”. I said to him “Look what you’ve done, get away.” I then yelled at him to turn his car off.

    He again said “don’t tell me what to do.” I again ordered him in a very
    terse and commanding tone to turn his car off, which he then did. I then sat Ron down and headed towards Christian who was lying on the ground in severe pain. I looked at his shoulder and it was protruding out which appeared to be either a dislocation or broken collar bone. Cars then approached and I went to the first car and the woman driver already had her cell phone out and ready to give me. I called 911 and told the operator that we need an ambulance, that there were severely injured cyclists and the police, as a blatant crime of assault with a car had just happened.

    About 3 to 5 minutes had elapsed at this point when numerous drivers and neighbors had stopped and were assisting in the
    care of Ron and Christian. When I walked back to Ron, a gentleman named Bruce Rogan was tending to him. He was making a suggestion about hiscare when the road rage driver interjected something about what to do regarding Ron’s care saying he was a Doctor. The man attending to Ron then stated that he was a Doctor also. It was about 10 minutes later that Fire Department Paramedics personnel arrived and took over the care of Ron and Christian. I then walked over to Christian, who by this time was on the side of the road in a neighbor arms. She was comforting him until paramedics arrived. Her name was Wendy Lynch. Christian was in
    obvious pain and I could see his shoulder bone protruding and he was stating that he felt like he was going to faint. Wendy stated that she and her husband were walking their dog when she heard the commotion of the “accident”. She pointed out her husband about 50 to 100 yards away slowing traffic approaching the scene. About 5 minutes later, the first of many LAPD arrived. I was subsequently asked by paramedics as I was walking around to assist in holding Ron’s head stationary as the rescue personnel were concerned about possible neck injuries to him while they applied a body brace. I was also asked a few minutes later to assist in keeping Christian’s arm still as the paramedics applied stabilizing straps to him.

    Shortly thereafter the police officer approached me for my statement.

    chunk
    07.8.08 – 1:40 pm

  • Anyone wanna start a betting pool on exactly how many years of anal prison rape the Dr. will get?

  • SDTriathlete

    This ’emergency room doctor’ should get his medical license revoked as he obviously is trying to add patients to his list. Why do drivers not understand that cyclists are ok to have on the road and passing them or having to slow down for a few seconds is no big deal? Where are we supposed to ride? Even the bike lanes are in such crappy shape and never seem to be maintained by the city, so it’s hard to stay in those when they do exist. Usually they are littered with rocks, glass, construction debris, tire parts and garbage. Many roads are on my ‘do not ride’ list as it is, but you can’t plan for jerks like this. Some people are just plain idiot jerks.

  • So much for the Hippocratic Oath.

  • …often confused with the Hypocritical Oath.

  • Marshall Goldberg

    Marshall GoldbergA close friend of mine was out here from Vermont and rented a bike on April 25. He was riding on Temescal Canyon around noon — that’s the last thing he remembers — when he was found on a curb with multiple rib fractures, a smashed clavicle, concussion, bleeding brain, and permanent hearing loss. Months and several operations later he is still recovering. Doctors are convinced he was hit by a car; the injuries were too severe from just falling off a bike. Obviously, it takes a disgusting human being to hit a guy on a bike and then ride away, but as is clear from the story about the riders on Mandeville, bike riders see that type of person all the time. No witnesses came forward when my friend was hit. By any chance, did anyone on this site see or hear about anything that day? It was the Saturday in April that was unseasonably warm, around 100 degrees by noon. Please e-mail me if you have any information. It’s not only a matter of justice; my friend is still grappling with how someone could do such a thing to anyone, especially to him. Thanks.

  • Bob

    I find it horrifying that these two guys were essentially attacked by the driver. They didn’t deserve that, and I don’t condone the drivers actions. He should be prosecuted.

    What bothers me is how much responsibility these riders may bear in bringing this incident upon themselves. They were reportedly blocking the road by not riding single file. In fact, the eyewitness account I just read stated that they were in the middle of the road And it has been reported that when the driver shouted an insult at them, one or both shouted back at him.

    This incident is yet one more example of the all too common road rage. But, it also sheds a very negative light on inconsiderate bikers, or groups of bikers, who essentially take over a road, and impede the safe flow of traffic. Yes, us bikers every right to use the road. But common sense and common courtesy dictates that if we are going slower than the flow of traffic, or much slower than the typical automobile would travel on a road, we should move over and allow automobiles to safely pass us. I have been riding for over 20 years, and have never experienced any problems by adhering to this simple principle.

    Please, think of that the next time you are in a large group of bikers, riding 5 or 6 wide, riding much slower than the flow of traffic (blocking traffic). And don’t be so surprised when motorists honk at you to move over, or when they become upset when you act as-if it’s your right to ride in the middle of traffic at 20MPH.

  • Bob

    In the end, I hope some good comes from this. I hope that an example is made of that driver with a stiff punishment. And, I hope that more riders will take Darwinism into account, and realize that there are crazy people out there, who will react to and punish them for being inconsiderate riders.

  • Marshall,

    That’s awful. I’m sorry to hear that. I hope that your friend recovers fully, and that you find some information.

  • CHARLES WALSH

    This doctor needs psychiatric help along with lots of community service but jail time will do little to correct his way of processing and dealing with his surroundings.

  • Junior

    They ran into the back of him. They were thus following too closely and should be charged for the damages to the doctors car. It’s the law.

  • Mark Turnbull

    I live in the Midwest. But if I lived in LA I would make a banner that read, “I Brake For Cyclists” and put it in this guy’s yard. I’m not trying to say someone else should do it, it’s just what I would do.

  • That’s an awfull story. I hope the cyclist will recover health and the doctor will stay in jail for a veeeeeeeery long time.

    A french cyclist from Paris.

  • Bob

    HAHAHAAHA…did he have tight shorts on? I hope there are more of these accidents.

  • RPO

    damn that sucks.

  • wow that is really terrible

  • This is an ugly accident. Hope that both the cyclists and the doctor is fine.

  • Terry I

    These guys fared better than if it would have happened with me. I would have run over them and taken off. Fuck bicyclists that start crap and act like that. If I thought I could get away I’d REALLY teach them a lesson. The idiot picked a fight and physics won! The doctor should sue him for damaging his car and wasting his time!

  • John

    Just for the record. The driver was sentenced today to 5 years in prison.

  • Coops

    Terry most bikies would just punk you in a toe to toe so quit the big talk little man…;-)

  • oohyeah

    Bob and Terry don’t ride, and now they can’t because they’re too fat and miserable. So they cruise around in their gas guzzlers hating people who have the motivation to get in shape, looking for blogs like this to express their self-loathing.

  • george

    What’s with Bob and Terry, are they retarded. Maybe someday a semi will slam on it brakes in front of them and they will know how it feels

  • I hope all of the people involve are fine. This guy’s a doctor – a life saver – but he did what he did knowing fully well that his action placed another person’s life in grave danger. I guess road rage can consume even the sanest among us.

    Dan F.

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