L.A. doctor gets five years in bike rage case
January 10, 2010
An emergency room physician was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday for assaulting two bicyclists in Los Angeles by driving in front of them and slamming on his brakes. [Los Angeles Times]
Christopher Thompson, 60, was arrested on July 4, 2008, following the incident, which occurred on winding Mandeville Canyon Road, in the upscale Brentwood neighborhood. The assault drew national attention in bicycling circles and nearly 300 cyclists wrote letters and e-mails to Superior Court Judge Scott T. Millington, asking for a longer prison sentence for Thompson.
In issuing the five-year sentence, Millington described the case as a “wake-up call” about tensions between cyclists and motorists on Los Angeles streets.
“Government must be aware of the dangerous conditions existing on our city streets and the threat of injury to cyclists,” Milington told a packed courtroom.
The two injured cyclists testified in court that Thompson acted aggressively from the start that day. They said he honked loudly and passed by dangerously close, before getting in front of them and slamming his brakes hard.
One cyclist, Ron Petersen, hit the back of Thompson’s red Infiniti face-first, breaking his front teeth and nose. The other bicyclist, Christian Stoehr, suffered a separated shoulder after slamming into the sidewalk.
Thompson, convicted of mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon — his car — and other serious charges, had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years.