Update on the Prosecution in the Road Rage Doctor Trial

laist_2.jpgRon Peterson, on July 4, 2008 Photo: LAist

DJ Wheels, an attorney who happens to be a bicycle rider, has been updating the folks at Midnight Ridazz on the ongoing case of the "Road Rage Doctor" as it is heard at the LAX Courthouse.  Wheels was gracious enough to summarize his posts on Monday and Tuesday’s hearings.  If you can’t get enough Dr. Road Rage, Ted Rogers has more at Biking In L.A.:

Ron Peterson was a great witness…calm, composed…said all the right
things when Swarth, the defense attorney, tried to corner him on cross exam. The presentation
of the pictures of his injuries and the blood on the back of Thompson’s
car was powerful stuff. They even brought in Ron’s broken Specialized
Tarmac. The damn head tube and fork were completely split off from the
top tube and down tube!

When pressed by Swarth on still being furious about the incident
and the injuries he suffered, Peterson calmly testified, "I just want
justice, that’s why I’m here."

On direct exam on Monday, Officer Rodriguez said that when he heard
Thompson say, "I wanted to teach them a lesson," he stopped
investigating it as an accidental traffic collision and called for
another patrol unit to investigate it as assault with a deadly weapon.

Tuesday on cross examination, Swarth was trying to establish that
Officer Rodriguez basically did a crappy investigation and jumped to
the conclusion that it was an intentional and deliberate act on the
part of Thompson based solely on his statement, "I wanted to teach them
a lesson."  Rodriguez is a veteran police officer and former Marine, so
he wasn’t cracking and repeated that it wasn’t up to him to follow up
and ask what Thompson meant by that statement because it was not
protocol. Another investigator would have to do that follow up.

Two doctors also testified yesterday. One who was actually at the
scene going home and stopped to help.   The other doctor was a plastic
surgeon who assessed Ron Peterson’s injuries a few days after the
incident. Not only did Peterson suffer lacerations to the face, but he
also had a broken nose as well as internal fractures to his nasal
passage.  Apparently, he still can’t feel his nose.

The last witness called yesterday was Patrick Watson, who had
reported a prior similar incident on Mandeville Canyon involving this
same vehicle and Thompson back in March 2008. He testified that he had
to bunny hop on to the curb twice to avoid getting hit by Thompson’s
vehicle. He also said that when another cyclist that was there yelled
at him to get out of the car and actually punched his car, Thompson
started to drive away and come right toward Watson, but then swerved
away and drove off.

Swarth is still cross examining Watson and will continue on
Thursday. (NOTE: Wednesday the courts are closed because of state-wide
furloughs.)

I dunno about Watson though. He looks sincere, but not as calm and
composed on the stand as Ron Peterson. Swarth is grilling him on stuff
he posted about the incident to his cycling club’s email list on Yahoo
Groups. Swarth is trying to point out inconsistencies and bias that are
pretty obvious in his email. The defense is probing into his state of
mind and feelings toward his incident and Thompson in order to suggest
that he has
a motive to lie and therefore not a credible witness. 

Swarth
will finish with Watson’s cross examination Thursday morning.  The
prosecution will then call the cyclist who was there with Watson during
the March 2008 incident, followed by another two detectives.  Friday
district attorney intends to call two expert witnesses. 

The defense may begin calling their first
witness on Friday if time and schedules permit.

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(I’ll be traveling until the early afternoon, so check back later for a full slate of original stories and Streetsblog syndication. – DN) Ron Peterson Talks About the Conviction of Road Rage Doc (Bike Radar) State Analyst: HSR Not Adding Up (LAist) Trial Starts for Road Rage Rapper David Jassey (DannyJWheels/Twitter) Joel Epstein: Stop Yawning […]

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