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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)

one of the first posters said it right, the Doctor was in front of the bikes not behind them.
in my state the law is clearcut if you are following so close you cannot avoud running into a car that suddenly stops regardless of the reason then you are at fualt for tailgating!
all the bike riders had to do to avoud this whole incedent was to follow the law and share the road legally and that includes not tailgating.

Do you firebomb a car that changes without signaling? Shoot a pedestrian that takes too long to cross? You're the one in the sodding car, grow up.

Share the road.

Some of the attitudes demonstrated here are sickening. Using a car to willfully injure or kill anyone on the road, be they pedestrians, cyclists or other vehicle users is reprehensible and frankly is not a just response, even if the other road user has pissed them off.

As a recreational cyclist and car user I can understand the frustration of car users, but could never reconcile this with the good Doctor's actions. II don't know the road or community in question, but if it is a dangerous road for cars and cyclists then something should be done by the authorities responsible to rectify this. Vigilanty action in this regard should never be condoned.

Peter

Drivers seem to forget that on most roads, cyclists have the same legal right to be there as the cars and trucks. Yes, they most definitely should obey the law. I do not condone irresponsible riding such as two-file or not allowing cars to pass when it is a safe passing zone. However, they are permitted to use the roads just the same. If they are abiding by traffic laws, please be considerate to fellow man. Many cyclists do it for transportation just the same as you, so don't get all fussy because they're out there during rush hour- they have errands and jobs too, you know.

C'mon off it people.

Yes, many cyclists are arrogant, self righteous, inconsiderate, pretentious road-hogs who offer none of the courtesy to either drivers or pedestrians that they demand themselves. "Do unto others" hasn't sunk in yet.

However, that doesn't justify their attempted murder.

Personally, I find vocal RedSox supporters equally irritating, but that wouldn't be any sort of defense in court should I stick a knife in the throat of one.

You know, if "Car A" rear ended "Car B" as it stopped short, "Car A" would be at fault for following too closely. Why is it different for cyclists?

As a cyclist I am appalled that anyone would risk someones life just to teach them a "lesson". Honestly, where I ride no one knows the rules of the road, I have been nearly hit on more than one or two occasions. I know people who have been hit including a friend of mine who was killed just a few months ago. People, this has got to stop. Just remember, If you are driving a car and you hit another car you might have to pay for some repairs, if you hit me on my bike, chances are, I will die. Is it really worth the four seconds you might save while on your way to get your nails done to try to share a lane with me?

I sympathize with the good doctor. Why were the cyclists riding so close to his car that they could not stop or swerve? The level of smugness cyclists exude is extremely annoying. Cyclists feel that because they are "doing something for the enviroment" they have the right to force cars off of the road; witness the jackasses in LA that like to clog the roads suring rush hours.

Cyclists, you may have tons of smug and self-righteousness on YOUR side, but we have 2 tons+ of steel and rubber on OUR side. Stay in your lanes, obey the laws that you expect car drivers to and stop acting like twits on wheels.

I certainly hope the doctor gets off. The cyclists were obviously following too closely and probably planned to trash his car at the next light/stop sign. They got what they were begging for.

Name one logical reason why bicyclists would ride double-file while cars are behind them.

There is none!!

The only reason some bicyclists due that, is the control issues they have. (Kind of like the inner city kids who slowly cross streets as pedestrians, with their chins in the air, enjoying the fact they are purposely making cars wait.... or those neanderthals who drive 55 in the left lane of the freeway with a twisted sense of bogus self-righteousness... same thing).

The bicylists were behaving in a predatory fashion, and they got what they deserve, in a sense.

If the bicyclists would ride single-file, then everyone on the road would be able to get to go where they want, and without unnecessary delays.

I honestly can't see how anyone would sympathize with the doctor. I am a cyclist and riding on the sidewalk/bike path is often stupid. Speeds easily reached on a road bike are way too fast for anything but the road. Riding on bike paths is bad- too many dogs, walkers, and slower bikers means that you can't get a decent workout. Sidewalks are narrow, people turning onto the road with the sidewalk pull out too far and T-bone or get T-boned by riders.

As said before, bikes have a longer stopping distance than cars, and cyclists don't have instant reflexes. If I cut you off in my car and then slammed the brakes on, chances are you'd hit me.

Wilma F says the doctor had a good reason to slam on his brakes and try and kill two people. What is that reason? They were riding bikes on HIS road. I can not figure a good enough reason to try to kill two people for riding bikes. I have commuted to work on a bicycle and most of the drivers go around me but there are too many who just don't care and pass within a foot or less of me. This is ridiculous. I am trying to get to work, same as them. Why should I die to save them 5 seconds on their commute. I would put it to any one who has sided with the doctor who intentionally caused bodily harm to truly make sense of his actions. Why is it ok to try an kill someone for riding a bike? Would it be ok to run down a pedestrian for trying to cross the street? The "doctor" took actions that any person must see that could have resulted in the death of two people. This is ridiculous and he should go to jail.

Cliff - Did you even read the article? He pulled in front of them and slammed on his brakes.

Debi & Wilma F. - Your doctor friend will hopefully get what he deserves. A nice, long jail sentence. Just because he is a doctor and he had a momentary lapse in judgment, does not justify him trying to kill 2 cyclists. People that commit road rage need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

And this is not his first time to do this! It's unfortunately the first time it has resulted in injuries, however. Here's an article that describes another incident between him and some cyclists:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bikers12-2008dec12,0,147065.story

So, for all those people who are siding with the "good" doctor, are you really so ignorant to keep siding with him after all this evidence keeps coming out? I bet you all supported OJ too when he was acquitted.

How is he getting in trouble because bicyclists hit him from behind? Its not his fault they were too close and traveling too fast to stop.

If the bicylists had been in a car they would have been at fault, no doubt about it. People defending bicyclists are saying they have the same rights as people in cars, which is true, but they should abide by the same rules also.

The bicyclists slammed into the back of his car, clearly not obeying the law (following too closely) and even though they were hurt, they should be charged, NOT the doctor.

I'm having a hard time stomaching some of these comments. The naked hostility and blood-thirsty calls for violence directed at bicyclists here is shocking.

And over what, exactly? Because they are "pretentious idiots wearing tights"?!! Wow! Some of you people are just pigs.

Not only that, you are all dishonest little miscreants on top of it. Most of you sniveling cowards don't actually entertain level of the depraved indifference toward life that the criminally degenerate Dr. Thompson exhibited.

So, go ahead and prattle against the healthy, fit and mobile who make you feel small and inadequate. People are reading these comments and laughing in your faces.

For all of the people trying to blame the cyclists for tailgating:

THE DR. WAS BEHIND THEM, IRRITATED AT THEIR SPEED, THEN PASSED, CUT THEM OFF AND PROCEEDED TO SLAM ON HIS BRAKES PURPOSEFULLY TO "TEACH THEM A LESSON."

He intentionally created the accident. The cyclists were NOT tailgating, they were simply riding. A car can stop much faster than a bicycle! This doctor should be thrown through a cars back window! I hope he loses his drivers license and his medical license. What a worthless human being! Motorists have a ton of metal surrounding them with the addition of airbags and other safety devices in case of accidents, where cyclists do not. Have some patience and think about the life you might be saving or taking when driving near cyclists, just as you would around pedestrians! Showing a little humanity is a lost art...

His only misdeeds were to admit he was tired of these stupid road hazards and stop to give assistance to these jerks who deserve their pain.

Lets do the right thing here, let Doc go, charge the bike twits and ban non-powered vehicles from public roads/sidewalks/spaces.

And BTW bike jerks next time you get on someone's butt remember what happened to these guys, and wonder if you are next. I hope you do it to me.

You see Officer, a chipmunk ran out in front of me so I attempted to stop.. and that why Lance is stuck to my trailer hitch.

looks to me as if the cyclists were unable to stop within an assured clear distance ahead. how dumb must you be to ride faster than you can safely stop.
Darwin gets points on this one.

> You know, if "Car A" rear ended "Car B" as it stopped short, "Car A" would
> be at fault for following too closely. Why is it different for cyclists?

It's not different for cyclists. However, if Car B pulled in front of Car A and slammed on it's brakes, then it would be Car B's fault. And that's what happened in this case.

Just because car A rear-ended car B, that doesn't mean that car A is automatically at fault.

> Name one logical reason why bicyclists would ride double-file while cars
> are behind them.

Two bikes side by side are no wider than a car. To pass a car, you make sure it's safe, and when it is, you change into another another lane, pass, then return to your original lane. Passing one or two bikes, in a line or two abreast, is done in exactly the same manner. You don't share the lane with the bikes -- that's their lane. You find your own. Just like you would with a car.

Now, if the lane is extra wide, then the cyclist may ride far to the right, to give a car room to share it with him. But that's his choice to make, not yours. Controlling the lane helps keep cyclists safe from cars who would unsafely try to share it with them. (Cars, being bigger, don't usually have a problem with other cars trying to share the lane with them.) Riding your bike in the gutter (far to the right) is very dangerous -- not only is there usually trash and obstacles and such there, but cars will enter the lane and crowd you out of it (perhaps run you off the road!) and you're also less visible off to the side -- they may not even see you as they do it.

So there's one logical reason. And another? The law permits it.

Now, your turn -- name one logical reason why they can't.

I ALWAYS ride armed. Little snubnose in my jersey pocket.

Never know when some crackpot infantile doc will try to hurt you. I just wish I was there; woulda saved a lot of trouble to all.

One has to wonder how he treats his patients whom he gets tired of seeing too in order to "teach them a lesson." It also appears that this man did NOT comply with state law related to his medical license that requires him by law as a licensed doctor to provide medical aid at the scene -- of his own creation. It is obvious that this man should serve time behind bars and loose his medical license; however, America does have the best judicial system that MONEY can BUY which means that he more than likely will get community service, probation, and his car insurance company will pick-up the medical bills.

Michael is the case in point. What he said!

If you are slower then the speed limit and you block me from achieving my perfect nirvana of 4 wheel speed than you have no right to be in my right of way.

I don't think the doc did anything wrong. He appears to have applied the brake and sundry thugs rear ended him because they were following too close. You know what the law says? It says that any person who rear ends the person in front is at fault.

Every single rider in critical mass should die a horrible tragic death at least once. They deserve more but it is so hard to arrange the resurrection and it is always complicated by somebody or other.

I can't believe some of the things all of you are saying. The doctor purposefully pulled in front of the cyclist and slammed on the brakes so that they would crash into him. To teach them a lesson.

Regardless of how you all feel about bicyclists, pulling in front of them and slamming on the brakes is just unacceptable. He could have killed someone. Why don't you all read the actual blog entry to find out what happened.

He admitted to the police what he did. You would think that a doctor would know what could happen to a person when they suddenly slam into the back of a car. There's just no excuse.

Kudos to the Los Angeles D.A.'s office for treating this like the serious crime that it obviously is. Thompson deserves all the hurt that just application of all pertinent laws can bring his way. If justice prevails, he'll spend a very long time in jail, thus making the roads safer for the rest of us.

I ride my bike pretty much everyday. I can see how some people could get annoyed with with us, them trying to go the speed limit and me barely pushing 25 mph. But there's another thing to remember, I'm riding a bike that weighs 15 lbs, you drive a car that ways in upwards of a ton. If I hit you, maybe its just a dent. if you hit me i go to the hospital, which did happen to me last summer, a guy in an suv cut in front of me and i ran into him, even though here in oregon we have bike lanes. So please just take it to heart, even thought we may not be able to go as fast as you don't take it out on us.

 
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