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It's going to Court!!! Here's an update...(30 posts)

It's going to Court!!! Here's an update...JL
Sep 20, 2001 5:39 AM
In my prior post, I described my harassment by a driver on Sunday. You can read it here: "It's not just SUV's...".

I was apprehensive about charging the guy and away on business, until yesterday. Shortly after arriving home yesterday, the police officer called me to give me an update on the situation. The license plate had been valid and he had called the man. He said the guy didn't start off on the right foot and immediately started asking questions and making statements like: "Am I being arrested?", "I'm not talking without a lawyer.", etc. The officer stated: "Then I guess you did do something wrong, since you're acting defensive." The officer told him he was just hoping to receive the man's side of the story. The guy started to give it and then realized what he was doing and said (again), "I'm not talking anymore without a lawyer." The officer then ended the phone call, knowing it wasn't going any further.

The officer and I discussed the situation, and I finally said: "Let's charge him." I can easily get the time off, no matter how many continuances occur. This guy has apparently given other officers, in the same township, problems in the past. He didn't know if the guy was stable, but suggested he'd probably show his true colors in court. Especially, if this is how he acted on the phone with an officer.

My wife is now worried about the guy finding our house and our safety, but I don't think we need to worry about that myself. I'm a little nervous about riding in that area though, and I hope we (the officer and myself) haven't set off a time bomb for another cyclist. But the fact that he was so defensive, convinced me to pursue the charge (I think it's disorderly conduct or harassment). I'm typing up a document with my version of the event and sending it to the officer today, because this could take a while to make it to court. Hopefully, I'll have more a month or so (officer's suggested timeframe) from now.

Happy riding.

re: It's going to Court!!! Here's an update...Nessism
Sep 20, 2001 5:51 AM
If you are truely going to court on this, you should not post any further updates of this case on the internet! No offence intended.
I don't understand this advicejtolleson
Sep 20, 2001 6:04 AM
As a lawyer I can't think of any reason you can't discuss this issue in this community forum, knowing only that whenever you describe what happened (to us or anyone else other than your own lawyer if you had one, which I don't think you do) your statements are fair game to the "other side."

Lest this advice make you think you've done something wrong, I'd say take all your guidance from the DA's office and GO GET 'EM.
I don't understand this adviceJL
Sep 20, 2001 7:50 AM
I don't have a lawyer, as I think the DA would be mine in this case, No?

As far as my statements, I've only described the incident/follow up. Stranger things have happened, but I don't think this guy (maybe his lawyer) would be on this board.
The DA!jtolleson
Sep 20, 2001 5:38 PM
He (She?) isn't truly "your" lawyer in the traditional sense of the word. For example, things you tell him aren't covered by the attorney-client privilege, and his duty ultimately is to "the people" where normally it would be exclusively to you.

But yes, in the criminal justice system, he's your guy. He'll tell you what to do, when to do it, how to access victim's assistance if you need it.

And I'd lose not one second of sleep over the board.

Our thoughts are with you!
Very important distinction, which is the source of muchbill
Sep 21, 2001 10:41 AM
consternation -- he does not work for you, he is not trying to do your justice. I think that this misunderstanding is the cause of much heartache over "victim's rights." Whatever rights victims have in our system are the result of policital compromise -- technically, the victim is society, no more you than I, and the criminal code.
time bomb driversclub
Sep 20, 2001 6:07 AM
some years ago a motorist repeated tried to force me to crash into parked cars with his car, there was no provocation, he just went after me with no words exchanged. got his license number, cops charged him and we went to court, he lost. a week later he shot his wife and himself dead in a parking lot where she worked.
Darwinism worksTed the Horseman
Sep 20, 2001 6:22 AM
One less idiot in this world...sorry about the wife though although she did marry this loser.
Not nice. (nm)Dog
Sep 20, 2001 6:28 AM
I suppose you thinkTed the Horseman
Sep 20, 2001 7:26 AM
Suppose you think this mental defect should be coddled? I think he did the world a favor by offing himself. Sounds like it was way too late and the guy was a ticking time bomb. Too bad he had to take someone with him is all I can say.
Dog is rightcyclopathic
Sep 20, 2001 7:41 AM
it is not about the guy it is about you
your comment makes you no different
Dog is rightTed the Horseman
Sep 20, 2001 8:16 AM
How so? I pay my taxes. Give cyclists a wide berth, and have never killed anyone. I'm just stating what others are afraid to say.
domestic violenceDog
Sep 20, 2001 7:42 AM
There are many victims of domestic violence who blame themselves for what happens to them. Despite the "sorry about the wife" comment, you implied the wife "chose" this guy, so she had it coming. That's not nice. But, we stray. I'm done.

domestic violenceTed the Horseman
Sep 20, 2001 8:19 AM
No that's not what I meant. I really am sorry about the wife. The truth is that most of these situations the wife is co-dependent with the perp. Cops come to arrest him for beating her (and I'm guessing with this guy's temper it had already happened) and the wife blames the cops and not her husband who just beat her. I never blame the victim, but I'm sure there were warning signs long before this happened. Just wish the idiot had the sense to take himself out and leave the ex wife alone.
time bomb driversTig
Sep 20, 2001 7:17 AM
You should never feel responsible for that guy's actions. You didn't drive him to take his wife's life. There were obviously some deep, dark psychotic issues within him that were going to bust out violently no matter what happened around him. I'm bet you already know you are not responsible. I'm sure it still bothers you all the same.

We are each responsible for our own emotions, actions, and reactions. How many times do others or we say, "he/she made me mad"? Sure, someone else did something, but we chose to react with anger or some other way. I'm as guilty as the next person! Watch several different people react to the exact same event and we can see the different ways of handling it. I know this all sounds like some junk from Oprah or something, but it is also the truth. I'll get off my soapbox now before I fall off. I just wanted you to know most people would never blame you for what that idiot did.
I don't feel responsibleclub
Sep 21, 2001 5:41 AM
you misunderstand, I'm not saying his actions and subsequent court appearance drove him to commit murder/suicide. just pointing out the unstable mentality of folks who come after you on the road. sorry about his missus, but damned glad he blew himself away.
re: It's going to Court!!! Here's an update...Lone Gunman
Sep 20, 2001 6:23 AM
You're taking the right course of action. The guy obviously feels he is above the law. He is the same guy who is smarter than everyone else (in his own little world), the same guy who belittles little league coaches from the stands(because it makes him feel superior), who feels that a civil servant works for him because he is a tax payer. He is a minor bully who has probably gotten away with his bad boorish behavior all his life because few have had the nerve or stomach to stand up to him. Unfortunately as you will probably find out, this incident will not change his attitude or behavior. He will go out and rant and rave to anyone who will listen to him about how he is being persecuted. Have you thought about using the press to get this guy's name out in print over this incident?
I agree, Lone G.rollo tommassi
Sep 20, 2001 7:09 AM
especially those Little League bulllies ;)
Seriously, though, although we hear too many bad stories about cyclists and trying to work with the police, this is a case of the system working, and we should continue to build upon positive relationships such as this.

You know, it may really make the Officers' day if you show him our posts and let him know how much the community appreciates his consideration of you and this case.
Drivers 245,674,753, bikers 1. (its a strart!)Underdog
Sep 20, 2001 7:20 AM
I want to say thanks to JL. Your individual case is represting a lot of people. Good luck.

Two questionsDINOSAUR
Sep 20, 2001 7:29 AM
Two questions:

I've investigated cases like yours. When the case is presented to the D.A. it will come down to two things:(1) Can identity the suspect? (2) Are Any independent witnesses?

Good luck, people like this should be prosecuted. I'm not investigating your case over the internet, but in the real world I see a couple of loopholes. You should proceed at any event as in the very least it will hopefully teach him a lesson. Perhaps the officer could request that he be reexamined for his drivers license? Sounds like he doesn't belong on the road. There is no excuse for what he did, in Ca it would be considered assault with a deadly weapon.
Two questions (some answers)JL
Sep 20, 2001 7:44 AM

I've read here you're a former officer, so I understand your curiosity. Here's some answers:

1) The only thing I could identify of the driver was it was a male. I believe he had a mustache/beard and probably caucasian. I was definitely close enough, almost hit the car, to get his license plate though. If you read the prior post describing the incident, you'll see he repeatedly stopped/started and tried to force me off the "shoulderless" road.

2) Unfortunately, there were no witnesses. No cars showed up for a few minutes after this incident started, and they just wanted to get around this jerk. I discussed this with the officer and he thought, after the his phone discussion with the man, that the driver would possibly show his "true colors" in court. I thought about this a lot since Sunday, and decided to press the charge after discussing this again with the officer yesterday.

I've written a description, my version, of the events and I'm sending it to the officer, upon his request. This could take a while to make it to court, especially in this township.
Two questions (some answers)DINOSAUR
Sep 20, 2001 8:04 AM
I've seen people who have been convicted because they have totally pissed off everyone in the judicial system. He sounds like a prime canidate. I'm on your side. I used to memorize license plate numbers take selective enforcement action, if you get the idea. One backfall of being retired. I'm lucky as I live in a location where by and large folks are courteous to cyclists. Have you checked to see if their are any cycling organizations in your area that can offer you support and guidance? Numbers speak larger than words.

We had a case in our county where a cyclist became invovled in an altercation with a driver of a motor vehicle and the driver ended up running over and partially paralyzing the cyclist. You very well might be saving someones life down the road. It sounds like your suspect is mentally impaired.

You are taking the correct course of action, I'd do the same thing...
Do you mean the local bicycle clubs?JL
Sep 20, 2001 8:17 AM
The ones with monthly plannned rides. We have plenty of those and the Bicycle Coalition of Brandywine Valley (PA) (I think that's the name), which is supposed to "fight" for cyclist rights.

I don't know if he could recognize me versus another cyclist in all that lycra, helmet, glasses and stuff. I'm avoiding this particular area for a little while though, just in case.
I worry for other cyclists in the area, but there's not much I can do to help there, that I know of. I see at least one or two on this road on days that I'm on it. I just hope when he gets his summons, it doesn't set him off. Though, the call from the officer last night could have done that one already.
Do you mean the local bicycle clubs?DINOSAUR
Sep 20, 2001 8:35 AM
I was thinking in the line of a Bicycle Coalition, but I couldn't think of how to spell coalition (it's early for me). Often they have attorneys available that can help you process your case and monitor it as it proceeds forward in the judicial system.

Yes, good idea to avoid that location at that particular time of day. You will be riding with eyes behind your head for awhile I'm afraid.

Ride safe
Definitely talk to the clubs in your area.gust-of-sun
Sep 20, 2001 9:24 AM
If other cyclists have encountered or been harrassed by the same guy it would only strengthen your case. Local clubs could be your connection to the other cyclists. The clubs might also give other cyclists a warning about the area you were riding in. It might keep another incident from happening.

just my $.02
you're probably saving someones life down the roadcyclopathic
Sep 20, 2001 7:37 AM
a few years back I was clipped by side mirror
luckily it was a car /not truck or RV/ with folding mirrors.. it sent me flying to the ditch
I wish I got the license plate # of that SOB
ApplauseRich Clark
Sep 20, 2001 8:52 AM
Since I ride in some of the same areas as you, I can only doff my hat and applaud your resolve. I hope you succeed, because it could be my number written on this guy's bumper next.

If there's anything an ordinary civilian can do to help, let me know.

Sep 20, 2001 9:36 AM
You are one those people I was thinking about. Especially, since I know you ride some of the same roads.

FYI, the area was Goshen Road heading south towards West Chester. I had just crossed Rt. 252 and was below the parking area for the walking trail that runs along Goshen Road. I don't know where he went after I turned around, but I'm avoiding this "upper" area Goshen Road for a while. At least around lunch time on weekends.

Happy, safe riding.

Make sure his insurance knows about thisAndy
Sep 21, 2001 4:55 PM
You should notify his insurance company about this incident. The police can look it up on their DMV system. If he's going to harass people, he should pay the price.
Might not be possible...DINOSAUR
Sep 22, 2001 7:11 AM
I'm not familiar with PA's DMV system but in California auto insurance information is not available through DMV records. You are required to furnish proof of insurance when you pay your yearly vehicle registration fee, but other than that they keep no records. Yes I know, bad system. Perhaps because PA has a smaller DMV system they keep track of this information. Unless he has been involved in an accident I don't think his insurance company can take any action. Best recourse would to have the officer request a re-exam of his operators license. Then again, different state, they probably have a different system.
A tidbit of information: The CHP is very strict in Ca on vehicle registration violations. The CHP's budget comes from the registration fee fund. An expired tab is noticed, and enforcement action is promptly administered. A sure way to get pulled over...