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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)

@1:24pm: I agree that there is something odd about the first two comments. Occurs to me it is equally (if not more) likely that they were written by LATimes staffers as a way of inciting a lively thread here and driving page views. I wonder aloud if this comment will be able to remain on the page long?

To everyone so concerned with the lack of adherence to bike lanes, use of sidewalks and lane splitting, please contact your local councilman and lobby for more bike lanes. I personally only know of four roads on the west side with bike lanes: Pacific, San Vincente, Venice and a mile and a half section of Santa Monica.

My favorite joke is Olympic Blvd marked as a "Bike route". I commuted from Ktown to Century City down Olympic for six months and was incandescently honked at, yelled at, spit at, buzzed, flipped off and otherwise intimidated. I've since moved to the non-bike lane, non-bike route 8th street where I get yelled at for running stop signs.

Make it simple.

Execute the doctor for his crime.

He can no longer contribute to society effectively so get rid of him as he poses a serious danger to us all.

What's next will he take out his hate on a patient during surgery?

John Towers

"My sympathies are with the doctor. Far too often I see pretentious idiots..."

Way to go James Sullivan, you support aggressive assault & battery simply because you dislike the way these people dress.

First, everybody was wrong.
I am a biker and think these bikers brought it upon themselves. It is crazy to think you have control of this road. I make huge accomodations to get away from dangerous traffic - have read too many stories of bikers exercising their lawful rights get cremed by a car, non-maliciously. I get my bike by car out far enough so I risk less chance of getting cremed by granny who can't see over the steering wheel. I have my aging father's driving to remind me what lurks behind the wheel of a car.

It is primarily the bikers fault, too elitest.

"Thompson and his attorney are expected to move to dismiss the case next month..."

That'll only happen if he's OJ.

Sam, do not worry. The top posts are "plants" by the doctor. 3 are written by the same person.

What I'm about to post is in no way approving of the doctor's actions. I live in Calgary and come a to LA once or twice a year and the first ride I do every time is Mandeville Canyon. When I first read the story and knowing the area I honestly felt with such a narrow road the cyclists didn't do themselves any favors by riding side by side instead of single file. Although they may be entitled to do so cyclists have to pick their battles. A bike is no match for a vehicle so I tend to suck it up and only purposely block traffic (for lack of a better term) when I feel the road conditions warrant it. It's very shady and can be bumpy and wet in places so I'm better off further to the left than crashing and then getting run over (which if the motorist stops will definitely delay him more than 15 or 20 seconds). On Mandeville I'll acknowledge a waiting vehicle and then wave him through when the road allows it. It's a bit of courtesy I hope the driver appreciates as much as I appreciate not being crowded.

I pay my taxes. I buy gas for my truck and contribute to the road funds through gas taxes. I have a valid DL. I help pay for these roads and their upkeep as a result. I also ride a bicycle. Under CA State Law, I am entitled to use of the road on a bicycle or in my car. Under CA State Law, cyclists are permitted to ride 2 abreast. Cyclists are permitted full use of the lane. Cyclists are required to obey traffic signals (and I do).

Regardless of any irresponsible behavior that preceded the incident, there is no excuse for the good Dr. in attempting (and succeeding) to injure cyclists.

We all need to share the road, responsibly.

How many automobile drivers die through the actions of cyclists?
How many nonmotorists perish through the actions of car drivers?

"Also, what law are you referring to that cyclist must ride single file? That is not a law." - Posted by: shane

Your wrong shane:

CVC 21202: Bicycles traveling slower than the normal speed of traffic must ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable except: when passing, preparing for a left turn, to avoid hazards and dangerous conditions or if the lane is too narrow.

The courts have ruled this means cyclist must ride single file. Chatting with your buddy is not an excuse.

When I drive my Hummer around Brentwood, I just want ALL of you girlie men in puny little BMW cars AND bikes to get out of my way!!!

If it is proven that the doctor did do what he is accused of, he deserves to be punished.

Still, I find it a little hard to believe the police officer's statement that the doctor admitted that he wanted to teach them a lesson. Why would he admit that to a cop? Although not all cops are dishonest, many are horribly dishonest and will say anything to make a case. Do you think that Rodney King or the BART victim would have gotten any justice if it were not videotaped?

Also, in Berkeley, where bicycle "activists" are trying to close all streets to cars(like Communist China or North Korea), a bicyclist "activist" tried to sue an elderly couple saying that they ran over him. He showed a photo of his bike under the couple's car. Fortunately for the couple, someone had videotaped the incident and showed the bicyclist deliberately placing his bike under the car even when he was not hit at all.

But having said that, in this case, there was really no reason for the doctor to stop like that other than to cause harm to the bicyclists, and if I were on the jury, he'd go to jail for a long time.

I think this case shows the type of people who live in Brentwood. I think these people deserve each other. Where I live, cars and bicycles respect each other. Cars will always let other cars cut in, and bicycle riders generally will move aside when cars are trying to pass. I'm so glad that I don't live in Brentwood.

I am from Northern Cal. I ride my bike often and share the road with cars. I have had to go to intersections and walk my bike to get across as drivers refuse to yield at all. It without a doubt is so dangerous to ride a bike in so many parts of LA that after buying a bike while I am working in LA I just shipped it back home. I HAD to ride on the sidewalks. Some claim that bikes should not be allowed on roads. A bike is an environmental way of transportation, lessons smog, is healthy for the rider and is low cost. Not providing bike lanes or reasonable trails is shame and at some point the cities should be liable for the safety of the rider just like pedestrians. Bikes can go fast down hill and I have done this as well, but never is it safe to tailgate a car, bus, motorcycle or bike rider. Safety MUST be observed first. A bike is very safe until you are struck by a 4000 pound and up car. There should be a much higher responsibility for a driver when they injure a pedestrian or cyclist.
In addition to massive fines that should be levied there should be a loss of license for the negligence of drivers involved in these accidents. The amounts of faces I have to watch say "sorry" as they cut you off while you have the right away is way too high. This driver should be jailed, lose his medical license and pay a heavy price for "teaching these riders a lesson". I hope long before more deaths occur the county of LA will act on and install more ways to get people moving safely by other modes of transportation. Would not most of the readers of LA TIMES want less traffic, and smog. Plus the weather here screams ride a bike and get out into the sun....

As a PEDESTRIAN I meet enraged drivers who honk at me when I am in a crosswalk on a Walk signal, who miss me by maybe a foot when they turn behind or in front of me at 10 mph, who turn right while looking left, who come to stop in the middle of the crosswalk for a red light, etc. I believe these idiots are the same ones who object to bike riders on the streets "getting in their way" - I'm afraid there is no puncturing their self complacency and self righteousness - to survive you just have to be as defensive as possible, as a pedestrian, a cyclist or a driver. I have also noticed that frequently the worst drivers are in expensive automobiles. They seem to have a sense of entitlement, of being above traffic laws AND the laws of physics! Hopefully the judge in this case is a cyclist! Maybe the good doctor will have a better understanding of life if he gets a taste of jail!

I know Mandeville Canyon Road well. Speed limit is 25 mph. Dr. probably trying to go 45 mph. He passed them and CUT them OFF!

Cyclists ride this road because it is a dead-end road, much less traffic than almost any other road in LA. 6 miles up, and 6 miles down, a great workout, plus with access to mountain bike trails at the top.

Why do cyclists wear bright clothes? So they are VISIBLE to motorists!

I only wish I could ride my bike to work. In Boston I used to, even through snow. Here, I am scared of the motorists. The oblivious ones and the aggressive ones.

This is not a threat. Be careful what you do.

Moderator, at least add these sorts of comment up. The Doctor has made a grave mistake.

Automobile drivers must share the road. Bicyclists pay the same taxes everyone else does and have every right to use the road without fear from some inconsiderate schmuck in an SUV bent on running them down because they are in a bigger more powerful vehicle.

The incident is bad enough, but what is horrifying to me is the reaction from some who think bicyclists are "stupid" and "arrogant" and other forms of unflattering beings by riding down hill on a road which cars apparently "own". Road rage can be found among the two wheelers (yes with tights) and four wheeled motorists alike. Interesting how many times "tights" are metntioned by previous posters, as if that makes a behavioral statement by itself. In any case, the story is more complicated then mentioned, the car passed the cyclists instead of driving behind until everyone got down the hill. The cyclists were NOT chasing cars, these two in particular were there because of a breakdown that had separated them from the pack. The good doctor wanted to teach them a lesson........wonder what he wanted them to learn, certainly not driving responsibly. Let's just maim or kill anyone that irritates us....that'll teach 'm!!

Glad to see so many opinions on this topic. I am a little disturbed to see so many motorists having a sense of entitlement to the streets of LA and to drive as fast and reckless as they want through out the city.

What I see in these events is that some people feel that it is acceptable to harm people to settle disagreements. To those who think one can just slam on the brakes in traffic and cause harm to another vehicle, bike or car, that is just wrong and illegal.

I would not have to worry about anyone seeing this doctor, since it is nearly certain her will lose his MD license.

I have the freedom in this country to engage in any activity that I please. Cycling is a choice that many americans make,as a form of excersise.While you may not like it, that is too damn bad. The cyclists were completely in the right. it IS legal for them to be on the road, it IS legal for them to take the entire lane.a cyclist has the same rights as a automobile.just because some rich jerk of a doctor has a control issue does NOT give him the right to try to kill, harm ,injure ,scare, or other wise assault anyone.
while I understand that some of the posters ,who are siding with the dr. are doing so to insite. some of them seem to be genuine. while unbelievable as that may seem, you have a right to your opinion. and I to mine. however mine is backed up by law. yours is backed up by ignorance and stupidity. you complain that cyclists are foul mouthed and arogant, lets see how polite you are when some "nanny driving jr. to preschool" is running late and forgets that the thing on top of the bicycle is a human being and starts to crowed them with 3000 lbs. of steel. and your concerned about a little foul language?
you violate our rights and put us in fear for our very lives , because you are putting on your makeup or sending an email while you drive from your black berry. or because you are running late for coffee with the girls , or you are a rich dr. who's had enough, or is tired of it.
Freedom, I have the freedom in this country to engage in any activity that I like too.just as you have the freedom to come on hear and open you small mind and sound like a self centered idiot. while I actually have laws that protect me from people like the dr. there should be a law that would protect the rest of us from having to listen to the uninteligent drivel that is your uninformed opinion. do us all a favor, buy a bike and go ride it in front of the dr.

You can't safely ride a bicycle down a canyon road on the road shoulder. Assuming the bicycles were occupying the lane, just how fast do cars on this canyon road need to go? Apparently way over the speed limit. Cars usually have to suck it in and be patient if it's another car in front of them traveling the speed limit, but as soon as it's a bike it's now somehow a challenge and a threat. Cars are deadly weapons, isn't that why drunk driving laws and penalties have been increased over the past twenty years? Anyone who thinks causing a man's nose to be almost completely severed off is a just reward because cyclists wear bright clothing and swear obscenities might need some serious help.

If as someone said the cyclists were going too fast , then why would they be blocking traffic by riding in the middle of the right hand lane?
There is NO excuse for this idiot to try to cause harm to the cyclists. No where did he say he was threatened in any way by them.

these are serious felonies, particularly the mayhem. on the plus side for the doctor, when he gets out of where he's going for 5-10 years, he'll be able to flatulate in a crowded elevator and there will be absolutely no sonic clue as to who did it. i believe the internet abbreviation for this is pmita.

I agree that people who drive nice cars tend to be jerks. I find BMW drivers to be the biggest jerks. Mercedes too, but less so. But I find people who drive Mini Coopers and Scion also to be pretty annoying drivers too. I think there definitely is a correlation because certain types of people preferring certain types of cars. You always know that a Cadillac sedan will be going 10 miles below the speed limit. It's usually driven by 80 year old white couples. The same goes for 1980s Toyota Tercels which are usually driven by 60 year old Chinese women. It's like dog owners who look like their dogs.

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