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Brentwood doctor pleads not guilty to injuring cyclists

Biker_2 A Brentwood physician who allegedly injured two cyclists last summer by slamming on his car brakes in front of them on Mandeville Canyon Road pleaded not guilty today. Prosecutor Mary Stone alleges that Christopher Thomas Thompson hit his brakes after a confrontation with cyclists who were riding down the narrow road.

The resulting impact flung one cyclist through the car’s rear window and the other to the pavement. Thompson, 59, allegedly told police during the July 4 incident that he stopped his red Infinity sedan in front of the cyclists to “teach them a lesson.” The physician complained that cyclists frequently traveled the residential street in Brentwood and that he was “tired of them,” Los Angeles police Officer Robert Rodriguez testified during a preliminary hearing last month.

Thompson is charged with one felony count of reckless driving causing injury and two felony counts of battery with serious injury, two counts of causing “great bodily injury” to the cyclists while attempting to commit a felony and one count of mayhem for other severe injuries to one of the cyclists. He also faces one count of misdemeanor reckless driving causing injury in an incident with another cyclist on the same road in March.

Thompson and his attorney are expected to move to dismiss the case next month; a trial has been set for March 6.

-- Joanna Lin

Photo: Special to the Times

Comments () | Archives (238)

Does CVC 21202 address narrow roads where there are no designated bike lanes?

Mr. Sullivan, you have to be kidding. Do you refer to golfers as Tiger Woods wannabees? Runners as Carl Lewis imitators? This means you get to try to kill them? I get very tired of skaters and walkers being all over the bike path. Even to the extent that I can no longer safely ride them. Does this mean that I get to assault them? You, sir, disgust me!

No matter what anyone's opinion is on bicyclists and their road presence/behavior on the road it was not the doctor's responsibility to "teach them a lesson" which could have cost someone their life. His comments to police explaining what he did should hopefully seal his fate in a court of law.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I can't believe that 1) this guy should be allowed to even plead not guilty; & 2) that some of you would actually condone or feel any sympathy for his actions.

I am not condoning the prior actions of the cyclists. Yes we have all been on the road with that arrogant guy or group in tights who take up the road and gives you the dirtiest look ever (on a nice day) if you say something to them. However they are entitled to the road just as we are in cars. Some of you don't realize that bicycle safety manuals actually says that when in dangerous situations (like a NARROW ROAD) that it is safer to just take up the entire lane. As much as I hate being stuck behind a bike, that does not give me justification to do the rider any harm.

I mountain bike and occasionally have to ride the road to get to the trail head, and until you have done it, then you will never understand what it feels like to have a vehicle approach you from behind that you can't see. You are only hoping and praying that they are paying attention.

As for the good doctor, he took an oath to save lives. His license should be revoked. He told the cops that he was teaching them a lesson by speeding in front of them on a descent and slamming on his brakes. It is a miracle that neither one was killed.

Just because you are bigger and stronger than a kid, does that give you the right to beat the crap out them when they make you mad? NO! Same thing applies here. You can not justify his actions just because the riders shouting profanities. Yeah what they did was wrong, but they didn't deserve this.

Knowing Chris Thompson, I am sure he did not mean any harm to the cyclists. Their riding patterns and habits are dangerous not only to themselves, but to others as well. I'm sure there are many people who can see themselves in his place in this situation. We all need to look at this from every side.

Wow, to all of you who think this is acceptable behavior:

A cyclist can in fact take up the entire road if they so choose. They are equal to a car by law on any road with the exception of a a highway.

Most cyclists stay to the side as a courtesy and a safety precaution.

By the way, please don't criticize cyclists for going fast or running red lights, when you do the same thing in a ton-plus of steel.

Hey Dee and James (the first two to post on this thread),

We all agree that bicyclists and drivers need to be more respectful, sure. But you both need to get on a bike and just try riding the streets of LA for yourself.

And also read up on CA driving codes while you're at it because you both haven't a clue what you're talking about.

Another Human Being

fact: the cyclists are two middle aged part time athletes - not two wheeled rebels dressed in spandex.

fact: the good doctor sped around the cyclists and slammed on his brakes. his own statements to the police establish his state of mind - infantile anger.

fact: the cyclests had brakes. a bicycle cannot stop as quickly as a car.

opinion: i applaud the DA for taking this incident seriously. the threat of prosecution and financial ruin should deter mr. sullivan, mr. marriott and the like from similar conduct.

Not only should this jackass of a doctor lose his medical license- he should lose his driver's license as well. After of course, a lengthy prison sentence. This jerk is a menace to decent people everywhere.

"James Sullivan" is very misinformed. I find it amazing that anyone could side with the driver of a car using it as a weapon against a bicyclist.
As a person who both drives cars and bicycles and motorcycles on the roads of Los Angeles and surrounding areas I can tell you that there is no "Law" that states that cyclists have to ride Single File, there is no law in California stating that. Riding a bicycle in traffic is spooky, people in cars with "Illegal" "Tinted Windows" so you cannot see their faces, so you have no idea if they see you and some that do just don't care. Yes a bicyclist might yelll something, but usually it is after being almost run over etc. Bicyclist have every right as automobiles on the streets in California, that is the law. As to how fast you have to be going to be able to penetrate the rear window of a car that slams the brakes on in front of you? I have no idea, but I don't think it is something that should be applauded. Shame on anyone condoning the use of a car to "teach a bicyclist" or anyone else for that matter a lesson.

I agree with Mel. Better behaviour is needed from cyclists, but if it doesn't happen, using a car to regulate the behaviour of cyclists is NOT the answer. Drivers, cyclists, lets share the space, sensibly and safely and respectfully of the rights of each other to be present.

I'm truly disgusted with the fact that someone in a car could truly value their life more than someone on a bike. And nor is it a persons right to hurt or come close to taking another persons life.
"Far too often I see pretentious idiots wearing tights who think they are Lance Armstrong riding bicycles recklessly." - James Sullivan
Not to stoop to your level, but next time I see a pretentious idiot wearing kaki paints driving a Lexus and talking a the cell phone, I will remember to hit him in the head with a baseball bat, right? Because that makes sense?

Though I don't condone slamming on one's brakes to teach obnoxious bike riders a lesson, I do understand getting fed up them. Unless you need to bike to work, school or for errands, I think bicyclers belong on a freaking BIKE PATH. Roads are for cars -- get off of them, recreational bicyclers. Go do your little riding in the park and stop annoying the rest of us with your ugly outfits and traffic-slowing, two-wheeling ways.

Nice people there in Brentwood. All around.

James Sullivan you wrote: "The fact of the matter is that these bicyclists were riding way too fast and were a hazard to everybody on that road. "

If these riders were riding too fast, then why was the doctor on their ass telling them to get out of the way so he could pass? That just shows that he was speeding down a residential street at an even greater speed, creating an even greater hazard to everybody on the road. Booya! Pwnd. RC sink this thread.

It seems that those who support the driver in this case do so because they identify with his irritation/anger/rage. Regardless of whatever irritation one might experience while behind the wheel of a car, one does not have the right to "teach" another a lesson. There seems to be a strong presence of entitlement culture among those who view cyclists as others who serve only to impede the progress of a car. Driving is a privilege maintained by among other things a sense of civility and the responsibility is an awesome one that should not be taken lightly.

Does anyone else find it ironic that some posters are complaining that cyclists slow them down by riding too slow, while others complain that the cyclists are riding too fast? These people have the mentality that anyone who drives slower than them is hogging the road, and anyone who drives faster is a maniac.

"Can an inference be made that the cyclist was traveling at a too high of a speed that to be considered safe for this small road? Imagine if it was not a cyclist but a person on a motorbike. Would that make a difference? What if was driving a car that rear-end the doctor's car? "

The doctor PASSED THE CYCLISTS. If the cyclists were going "too fast", and the doctor was going "faster"... after all as you say "Speed limits apply to all - cyclists, cars, motorcycles, etc. "

Wow is this amazing or what? The doctor felt it was his personal responsibility to take the law into his own hands and become judge and jury, and it sounds like some of you agree with him, since when is that okay? No wander this city, this state, this whole country is in a mess, everyone wants things their way and screw everyone else. I hope the doctor is charged to the fullest extend of the law and I hope everyone learns to share, share the road, the bike path and the responsibility for the consequences of our collective actions. I ride a bike often instead of driving, I add less pollution, use less gasoline and help improve my health, a further savings for all of us. Try it sometime.

Who is that doctor??? who do you think you are to teach anyone a lesson?Cars do not own the roads, ok! Cyclist have the same right to ride their bicycles in those road as any car driver! Are we all insane here? The funny thing is that some people actually support these types of unacceptable behaviors... So L.A

James Sullivan before you go ahead and state things as law, check the law first. Your ignorance is disgusting and you are wrong.

Your comment is full of assumptions that you do not know are true. Check your facts and stop wasting our time.

I'm a cyclist just moved out to San Diego from Chicago and I must say there is something seriously upsetting with some Californians, get off your high horse!! What's even more comical is that most of you who like to nag and are rude to others are not native Californians.

The ROAD does not belong to only CARS!! Motorist need to learn how to share the road. I am not one of those cyclist with tight shorts who snooty about their ride for a workout.

I am a bike commuter, who often rides with regular comfortable clothes, sunglasses, my long hair down and with the wind and carry a backpack. I don't flip the finger or yell profanity, but i will yell LEARN TO SHARE THE ROAD.

I am a beautiful woman who enjoys to commute on her bike. not all of us are riding for a workout, this is our commute, we are not just going let you ugly motorist deny us that right.

I follow traffic laws and at times i must take the entire right lane for my safety too. Its down right atrocious that motorist think we are taking up the road or in their way.
Perhaps if you just tried an alternative way to get to your 5 miles or less destination you might see it another way.

Parents, you really don't know if your child will turn out to be and love cycling, you should be the most considerate and for the rest of you, go and visit Chicago, the 3rd largest city in the country and a city that supports bikers. You might have a heart attack or a change of heart when you see so many cyclist commuting on the streets of Chicago in the spring, summer and fall.

I hope this man gets charged and sent to where he belongs, clearly if this doctor needed to intentionally cause injury to those cyclist because they where taking up "his road, " he must be going through some crazy mental dilemma and I would not want to have Mr. Thompson work on me or give me medical advice. I hope the judge sees his ridicules insanity.

It made me profoundly sad to read the first two comments. Really? It's ok to try to kill someone on a bicycle? The selfishness of some people and the unwillingness to try to get along in a big crowded city.

This Dr should spend a month or two in county jail and have his medical license revoked. On my first day of med school, we were taught the definition of a medical emergency.

"When another human being is in pain".

Let's look at facts:

1. Bicycles have as much right legal right to be on the road as cars. (So, Dee, when you say bicyclists "won't move to let cars go on their way," let me ask you: how many cars have you seen move over to let bikes "go on their way"? Cars and bikes have equal rights on the road. (No, I am not a cyclist.)

2. Yes, some bicyclists have attitude. So do many car drivers. Everyone would do well to exercise mutual respect: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

2. The doctor presumably took the Hippocratic Oath, which admonishes "to do no harm." Seems like slamming on your brakes with bicyclists directly behind you has a good chance of doing harm. Perhaps the doctor should not only be prosecuted but investigated by a medical panel about his suitability to continue to practice medicine?

3. The doctor was allegedly quite forthcoming with the police about his dastardly motivations. Now he pleads not guilty "of *any* wrongdoing"?

On a side note, I wonder whether he helped administer first aid to the cyclists who were injured? I don't remember seeing that in any of the articles I've read on this matter.

As a mother of a cyclist killed during a training ride on the road by a meth-fueled freak I feel the need to reply . My son was a 31-year-old in the medical field also, just like Dr.Christopher Thompson was supposed to be --as in trying to save lives, not injure or kill.

Apparently Dr. Thompson didn't take his oath seriously. "DO NO HARM." (My son didn't need to take such an "oath" because he lived by those words. Nobody needed to have him swear on a bible.) Dr. Thompson, according to the reports I have read went "out of control." He was pissed off because they...many cyclists had pissed him off so much he decided to just put on his brakes to let them know who was "KING OF THE ROAD."

Not being a cyclist Dr. Thompson ended up injuring cyclists who have as much riight to the road as Doctors do. Are you listening, Dr. Thompson? But not as much as Emergency Vehicles. Whoever is riding a bike or driving a vehicle should know the rules. Apparently Dr. T. didn't know (maybe, maybe not) the devistation he would produce by just putting on his breaks. What a freaking idiot. Didn't he have to at least take Physics 101 to become a physician?

When my son was killed there was the ability to write to the judge. I'd love to write a letter to this judge and tell the judge that what I, as a citizen and cyclist would recommend is 1) time in jail with compensation to the family and/or have him ride a bicycle on the streets where he injured those cyclists for one year. Maybe 20 hours a week for one year with an ankle bracelet to make sure he's doing it.) Just to let him know what it's like to be on the other end.

This might not be a bad idea for all judges to take to heart.

P.S. If anyone knows how to write a letter to this judge, count me in but I need an address.

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