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Doctor found guilty in cycling incident

November 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A doctor was found guilty on all charges in a road rage case that left two bicyclists injured.Former emergency room doctor Christopher Thompson, 60, was accused of deliberately ramming his car into two cyclists.

Thompson was found guilty on two counts of reckless driving; two counts of battery causing serious bodily harm; two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, with the weapon being his car; and one count of mayhem. He faces a possible 10-year prison sentence.

After the verdict, prosecutor Mary Stone asked the judge to revoke Thompson's bail.

"In terms of public safety, there isn't a cyclist in Los Angeles who would feel comfortable with this defendant out on the road," said Stone.

The judge agreed and ordered Thompson to be handcuffed and taken away.

Authorities say that Thompson was driving in Mandeville Canyon on July 4, 2008, when he yelled at two bicyclists for cutting him off. He is accused of swerving in front of the men with his red Infinity sedan, then slamming on his brakes, causing them to crash into the back of the car.

Thompson said that a group of cyclists "flipped him off" and used profanities before he overtook them in his vehicle.

Thompson also said he objected to cyclists blocking traffic by riding in tandem or running stop signs. But during his trial he denied threatening the cyclists and said he never slammed on his brakes during last year's incident.

One of the cyclists, Ron Peterson, went crashing through the rear windshield of Thompson's car breaking his teeth, nose and leaving his face scarred.

The second cyclist, Christian Stoehr, was thrown to the ground and suffered a separated shoulder.

Outside the courthouse, the two cyclists said the verdict is bittersweet.

"It was tough for me, to be honest, it's sad for both sides. I'm glad it sends a message to the community that it is dangerous and we have to watch out, but at the end of the day, I lost a lot of my time and my life, and he's losing a lot of his," said Stoehr.

Both cyclists say every time they get back on their bikes, they are haunted by Thompson's rage.

"More nervous, yes whenever a car comes by me still a year and three months later, I flinch, and even when I'm driving and I see brake lights in front of me, I flinch every single time," said Peterson.

Prosecutors argued that Thompson has a history of dangerous run-ins with cyclists on the same road.

Monday, two of those other cyclists came to court to hear the verdict.

"Like the sign says, share the road and be respectful of each other. If we do something wrong, you need to take responsibility for it, and I don't think he took any responsibility for it," said cyclist Josh Crosby.

"I've never come across something like this in my life; it was so deliberate," said another cyclist Patrick Watson.

Thompson is due back in court for sentencing on Dec. 3.


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