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Physician convicted in cycling case

A physician accused of deliberately injuring two cyclists by slamming on his car’s brakes on a narrow Brentwood road last year was convicted Monday of assault with a deadly weapon, mayhem and other serious criminal charges.

The three-week trial of Dr. Christopher Thompson drew close attention from cyclists, many of whom viewed the case as a test of the justice system’s commitment to protecting cyclists.

Thompson, wearing a dark blue suit, bowed his head as the verdicts were read. He faces a possible prison term.

Prosecutors alleged that on July 4, 2008, Thompson stopped his car after passing the two cyclists and shouting at them to ride single-file. One cyclist ran face-first into the rear windshield of the doctor’s red Infiniti, breaking his front teeth and nose, and leaving his face scarred. The other was sent hurtling to the sidewalk and suffered a separated shoulder.

A police officer testified that Thompson told him soon after the accident that the cyclists had cursed at him and flipped him off, so he slammed on his brakes “to teach them a lesson.”

Thompson, a veteran emergency room physician, testified that he had never meant to hurt any of the cyclists. He said he and other residents were upset at unsafe cycling by some riders along Mandeville Canyon Road, a winding, five-mile residential street that has become an increasingly popular route for cyclists. But they had struggled to identify problem riders.

Thompson told jurors that he stopped his car so that he could take a photo of the cyclists he had overtaken and believed he had left enough room for them.

Prosecutors alleged Thompson had a history of run-ins with bikers, including a similar episode four months before the 2008 collision, when two cyclists told police that the doctor tried to run them off the road and braked hard in front of them. Neither of the riders was injured.

-- Jack Leonard

Comments () | Archives (143)

What kink of doctor is this?
I hope they just toss him in the county jail where he will become jailbait for the mass of scum which resides there.

I can't say I'm sad about this; vigilante 'justice' against someone that merely annoys you is barbaric -- and let's be real, having to drive slowly to keep from running over cyclists is no more than an annoyance. No one gets to decide on their own who's entitled to the road and who isn't.

Someone ought to organize a bike parade in front of his house.

The wording in this article bothers me. The issue here is the judicial system's commitment to protecting *people*, not cyclists. Cyclists don't need any special rights. They are people and should be treated like people, and they deserve the same protections as other people. If someone injures them or kills them, that person should be charged appropriately. It's shouldn't matter if one person is in a car and another is on a bike. Assault is assault and negligence is negligence, regardless of whether the perpetrator or victim is a driver, a biker, a pedestrian, or a person holding a gun.

the elitist cyclists and the doctor.

there is no doubt that the cyclists thought they had the rigt of way on a public street. The doctor was innocent of any wrong doing except getting a little peed off with aggressive and arrogant cyclists. One way to solve these problems is to have the cyclists come under the Motor Vehicle Code - register their cycles; pay a fee for a license to ride them on a public thoroughfare, make sure they take a cyclist test at the DMV office - in other words treat them as any vehicle using a public street. In this case the scyclists should be held at fault for not having controll of their vehicle and failing to rearending the vehicle in front.
[email protected]

But he's a doctor!! :(

I suppose it doesn't matter since he will probably go to jail, but his medical license should be revoked: Primum non nocere.

YES!! Good stuff. Hopefully, jail time will teach this doctor a "lesson"!

Chris Thompson has been a friend of mine for over thirty years and I have never known him to be any thing other than a gentleman. He is smart, energetic, creative, hard working and an ER doctor who has saved countless lives over more than three decades. So, the rest of us in LA had better be careful not to come into contact with a filthy mouthed, road hog biker on our way to work. Because, with the Justice system we have today, we are all now at risk.

Share the road!

Good luck in prison Thompson. Your anger management issues will be sorted through right quick!

Christopher Thompson - embarrassment to those of us in emergency medicine that he is - nonetheless has a ways to go before he gets himself listed among the 237,000 other MDs already identified as "Questionable" or "Dangerous" by the National Practitioner Data Bank. Understand, doctors don't automatically make this list for simply running down bicyclists & deliberately causing great bodily harm. They have to do something really serious . . . like, say, encouraging vitamins. The fact that this medical idiot appears wholly incapable of controlling his road rage, will not particularly impress the California State Medical Board, either. They've been protecting these egotistical maniacs for decades. When it comes to criminal doctors, they take the same tack as the State Medical Board of Texas, which recently came to the conclusion that MDs who sexually molest children are not all that bad either.

The sad fact is, our health care system is infected with thousands of "medical maniacs," and their peers have no interest whatsoever in weeding them out.

And as long as the general public turns a blind eye to physician rape, drug dealing, murder, kidnapping, organized crime and Medicare fraud in the billions, well, don't expect much to change. And miscreants like Thompson, who ought to be stripped of his license and sent to prison, will instead experience this little legal spat as a mere speed-bump in this career as a caregiver.

"America's Dumbest Doctors" indeed.

The jury system worked. This guy is a menace as are many others out there who try to hurt bicyclist, joggers, etc.

We need to continue to hear about the outcome of this conviction. Many cyclists (including myself) were skeptical because we felt the justice system was going to fail us yet again. The conviction does not mean much unless this man is made to truly pay for his wrong doing. He needs to understand that his actions have consequences! Full Stop.

Riding a bicycle, motorscooter or motorcycle on public streets is a serious risk. You are a horse among elephants, and invisible to motorists in their 3000 pound mobile living rooms, who are fiddling with cell phones, complex radio dials, and weird navigator screens. --- Wear an orange safety vest so the idiots can see you. Then there are those malicious types who lose control when they see some slow-moving object in their way and try to kill you.

Cyclists do not care how self-righteous they are, in the name of "their rights". They are rude. They do not follow the driving rules like they should and slow down traffic. Cyclists are a menace when it comes to the open road. Cycling is best in parks, beach bike lanes, areas where their behavior does not cause accidents and disobey DMV rules. They never stop at the stop signs or the red lights, unless forced to because of a police car nearby, or the traffic too heavy for them to shoot across your car in a sudden manner.

Cyclists do not care how self-righteous they are, in the name of "their rights". They are rude. They do not follow the driving rules like they should and slow down traffic. Cyclists are a menace when it comes to the open road. Cycling is best in parks, beach bike lanes, areas where their behavior does not cause accidents and disobey DMV rules. They never stop at the stop signs or the red lights, unless forced to because of a police car nearby, or the traffic too heavy for them to shoot across your car in a sudden manner.

Bicyclists, motorcyclists, motor vehicle drivers. What difference does it make. Everyone needs to stop thinking that they have some kind of special priority rights to the road! This time the cyclists only suffered physical injuries, the next time it could be death! Wake up people and start driving and using the roads like there are others out there too!

What possible risk could a cyclist cause a person encased in a 4000lb vehicle? None. The only risk is when said person does something stupid and puts themselves, other drivers, and the cyclists at risk.

Cyclists have the legal right to be on the road, in a lane of traffic, riding side by side. Human beings have the right to not have their lives put at risk by the malicious actions of others.

Cyclists ride in packs on roads so as to be treated as an equivalent entity to the cars, trucks, SUV's, busses, etc ... if a group of 5 or 10 or however many cyclist ride in a group, you have to pass them when it's SAFE to pass ... riding in a strung out single file line merely invites cars to drive past without maintaining a safe distance. Also, cars are likely to cut in or turn through lines, assuming that once "past" a cyclist, that person no longer exists or can turn and brake as quickly as a car.

@Mike Jamieson

Behavior like this doesn't come out of thin air. Christopher Thompson has been endangering cyclists for years, and up until now he's gotten away with it. Up until now, the police and the courts systematically ignored the complaints of threats and intimidation towards cyclists.

If you're truly his friend, then I suggest you steer him towards anger management classes instead of supporting and enabling this behavior. If this really is out of character for him, maybe he should have a full neurological workup too.

It is a comfort to finally see justice served in Los Angeles. We all pay taxes in this city and we all have a right to the roads.

It's a shame that this sad situation only seems to fan the flames of "us vs. them" rather than raising awareness that when we are using our public roads - drivers, cyclists or pedestrians - we need to be more careful and considerate of each other.

He "should" face jail time. Period. He was found guilty, is a menace to society in his vehicle and temper, and caused trauma to fellow human beings. There are other Doctors that would love to have his spot, so the ER can still go on with out him.

Stop Signs. Psh. We're all welcome to break the law. Cyclist run red lights, Motorists exceed the speed limit, Pedestrians jay walk. Everyone has free will and "bends" the rules. It's causing danger to others that is a crime against humanity, regardless of the vehicle. Stop whining about cyclists running Red lights and Stop signs, we're are welcome to do the same, matter of fact we do... that's why they call it a "California Stop".

Cyclists on group rides who take up a whole lane of traffic and who are going the normal rate of speed DO NOT violate the law. Take a good look at California Vehicle Code section 21202(a).

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