Not be a downer, but this deserves posting. It’s a few days old and I didn’t want it to compete against the xmas tree massacre post, but I wanted to get it up all the same.
Christopher Thomas Thompson, age 60, is a physician. He is also the CEO of a rather successful medical records company called Medical Data Exchange.
Or I should say, he was.
On the morning of the 4th of July 2008, angry that a pair of cyclists bombing down a hill at 30mph were slowing him down, Dr. Thompson yelled obscenities at them for blocking the road, gunned his car and passed them on the left within inches, and then stood on his brakes.
They slammed into the back of his car going well over 30mph.
Peterson went through the rear window of the car; the impact broke his nose, nearly severing it from his face, and shattered several of his teeth. More than 90 stitches were required to reattach his nose.
As Peterson lay on the side of the road, Thompson called 911, told the operator of the accident and added that the riders would probably “tell you they are seriously injured, but they’re not.” Thompson also told the first police officer on the scene that he intentionally hit his brakes in order to “teach (the two riders) a lesson.”
Dr. Thompsons defence team argued that he was trying to stop to take a photograph of what he believed was illegal activity by the cyclists when they accidentally slammed into the back of his car. They also argued that the cyclists were belligerent – while bombing this hill at 30mph – and may have fallen due to the inherent instability of bicycles in general.
Well that’s funny because upon hearing about it, another cyclist named Patrick Watson went to the Prosecuting Council with a police report he filed against Dr. Thompson doing the very same thing just a couple months previously.
Patrick Watson and Josh Crosby say they were descending the road in March 2008 when a motorist sped ahead of them and hit his brakes. Watson bunny-hopped a curb and rode onto a lawn while Crosby dodged into oncoming traffic.
Watson says the motorist made a second attempt to hit them and then sped away. He (Watson, sic) used his cell phone to record the vehicle’s vanity plate, TCH MDX, an abbreviation of Thompson’s medical records company. That plate was also on the back of a burgundy Infiniti driven by Thompson in the July 4 assault. While Watson reported the March incident to authorities, prosecutors declined to pursue the case at the time.
On Friday the good Dr Thompson was sentenced.
“Superior Court Judge Scott T. Millington sentenced Thompson to two years on the charge of assaulting cyclists Ron Peterson and Christian Stoehr with a deadly weapon and added a three-year enhancement because Peterson suffered serious bodily harm.”
The state of California has also suspended Thompsons medical license and is up for possible permanent revocation.
Primum non nocere asshole. 5 years? You got off light.
How fucking horrible.
I guess the thing to take away from this though is the proper way to deal with incidents like this. Try to keep from getting hurt, get out of the way as fast as you can, and document your ass off.
The laws of man may be on your side but the laws of physics cannot be ignored – fair or unfair. The laws of man are slow. The laws of physics are immediate. I don’t care how badass you are, or how in the right you are, or how outraged you are – you can’t take on a Honda with your bike. It’s just not going to happen. The only real thing you can do in situations like this is to get thyself out of harms way and try to record the plate to the best of your ability – AND THEN CALL IT IN.
Unfortunately the Seattle Police Department on the phone WILL make you feel like a crybaby shitheel for wasting their time with it – at least in Seattle***. But they will record it. It will be on record.
I’m not saying these guys could have ridden more defensively and avoided this situation. Not a chance. Maniac with a 200hp weapon on a narrow highway road with a grudge? Forget about it. I’m just saying, in general, for the rest of us riding in the day to day, you gotta take your survival into your own hands a little. I’d rather avoid a bad situation then try and rely on the American legal system to punish someone for fucking me up, possibly permanently.
I know how helpless you can feel on a bike when suddenly Big Metal Objects start swinging in your direction, intentionally or accidentally. In some of us it inspires the flight mechanism, in some of us the fight mechanism, in most of us quite a bit of both. In those instances you really have to keep your head and go immediately into documentation mode, like at the same time you go into survival mode. Because in this country, in our legal system, whomever has the most documentation wins. Your camera phone is your friend. A picture really is worth a thousand words in legaleese.
And let’s not forget the below.
The driver of the pickup that hit Kylie’s parents from behind then dragged them some 200 feet. No booze, so no charges brought forward.
Or THIS SHITHEEL who killed two cyclists in Dallas after admitting to having more than 5 drinks in him, and having smoked a bunch of weed. Two years they gave him.
If this is the same legal system you’re hoping to protect you with the threat of deterrence or punishment… well it seems like a poor place to put your bets if you ask me.
Please. Ride safe out there kids.
*** Truth is Seattle PD make you feel like a crybaby for calling in a car accident too, or practically anything not gun/gang related. Hello, there’s been a pretty sizeable car accident and the dudes in one of the cars are completely drunk out of their minds. Is anything on fire or is anyone hurt? Do you really need us to come out there? Really? REALLY?
Or remember when I got hit by a school bus full of school kids? TOOK SPD AN HOUR AND A HALF TO SEND A CRUISER. I called 911 three times. A State Patrol officer happened by and tried to get them to send a cruiser faster, nothing. Yes Mr Policeman come and do your job, I pay my taxes. Yes, seriously. If you can wander around and give me a ticket for not wearing a helmet or parking in a red zone neighborhood when I only have a yellow zone parking sticker, you can come out and document my getting run over by a fucking school bus full of fucking kids. Yeah. It still makes me angry.