Help D.A. Mary Stone Keep the Road Rage Doc Behind Bars

11_3_09_ct.jpgHe's behind bars now, but should he stay there? Photo: Los Angeles Times
Next Monday, District Attorney Mary Stone will file her motion recommending a prison sentence for Dr. Christopher Thompson, the "Road Rage Doctor" who intentionally used his car as a weapon against recreational cyclists on Mandeville Canyon on July 4, 2008. With her motion she'll also hand over a packet of letters of support for stricter sentencing from a community that has been effected by Thompson's aggressive act.

So here's the deal, you can email a letter of support to Stone at mstone@da.lacounty.gov. She stressed that the best letters open with a description of who you are and why you care before going in to other details. For example, you could say, "I'm a writer who focuses on transportation issues and I spend too much time writing about the tragedies created by unsafe driving."

Stephen Box also writes that this provides an opportunity to incorporate two planks of the Cyclists' Bill of Rights. Article one states that cyclists have the right to "travel safely and free of fear." Article Four states that cyclists "have the right to the full support of our judicial system and the right to expect that those who endanger, injure or kill cyclists be dealt with to the full extent of the law."

If you need more inspiration, you can read my letter after the jump.

A major hat tip to Ross Hirsch who did the majority of the legwork on this article.

To Whom It May Concern:

I'm a writer who focuses on transportation issues. I spend too much time writing about the tragedies created by unsafe driving. It seems that every week I have to make a choice on whether or not to write another story about an unsafe driver mowing down a defenseless pedestrian or cyclist. However, no matter how heart-rendering the story, no crash story has held my attention as had the prosecution of Christopher Thompson.

Typically, the reaction of drivers who cause a crash is either remorse or a desire to hide. Thompson's sense of self-pride about his actions, a view that has disgustingly been defended by too many members of the car-driving public, was completely shocking. Bragging on his cell phone to the dispatcher. Talking tough to the responding officer.

That Thompson has become a symbol to both unsafe drivers and cyclists of the worst instincts of the car-driving public is immaterial. That Thompson's unsafe driving caused serious injuries on two cyclists is reason enough to convict him. That he did so intentionally and proudly makes him deserving of jail time.

If we don't hold him accountable to the fullest extent of the law for his actions, what threshold would an unsafe driver have to meet to be deserving of jail-time? He didn't just cause a crash he did so with purpose.

All of us, safe drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, will be more safe with Thompson behind bars instead of behind a wheel.