So I was pointed to this page of the Yield To Life website by a member of the Bike Writers Collective. Apparently in an attempt to minimize what has the potential to be a 10-year sentence for Dr. Christopher Thompson his defense team is gathering letters and testimonials of support for what a good guy the former emergency room physician is who was recently found guilty of multiple counts in his road rage trial that resulted from his intentional actions July 4, 2008, in Mandeville Canyon that left two cyclists seriously injured.
To bolster its argument that Thompson be sentenced according to his crimes prosecutors are interested in receiving letters from the public to submit with a coming motion that support not letting Thompson off with a slap on the wrist. And so of course I sat down and pounded the following out to the DA’s office:
It is my hope that if the court must somehow refrain from throwing the book at Dr. Christopher Thompson, at least sentence him justly.
As a dedicated commuter cyclist who annually logs more than 6,000 miles across Los Angeles, I have been subjected to all manner of dangerous and threatening behavior from motorists, be it intentional or resulting from their inattention.
I was appalled when I heard about the horrible incident in Mandeville Canyon, and given the level of disrespect I can encounter when I ride, as well as law enforcement’s seeming predilection for discounting the rights of cyclists, I have to admit I was surprised not only that Thompson was arrested and charged, but that he was ultimately found guilty of his crimes.
For every conviction such as this one there are hundreds upons hundreds of car v. bike incidents that result in nothing being done, oftentimes with the blame being attached to the cyclist as if by default. In this rare instance of the blame being rightly attached to the motorist, I consider it the obligation of the court to send a message to the public by standing Thompson up as a loathsome perpetrator of the kind of aggressive and irresponsible behavior that cannot and will not be tolerated.
Thank you for your interest and for allowing me to share my opinion.
I would encourage anyone who wants to see justice done waste little time writing to the attention of Mary Stone at L.A. County District Attorney’s office at the following addresses:
District Attorney’s Office
Attn. Mary Stone
11701 S. La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045