According to a report from cyclist/attorney DJ Wheels, Dr. Christopher Thompson has just been denied probation and sentenced to five years in prison for deliberately injuring two cyclists in Mandeville Canyon on July 4, 2008, as well as threatening two other cyclists in a previous incident.
More details to come.
Update: Damien Newton reports on Streetsblog that Thompson received two years for assault with a deadly weapon, with a three year enhancement for causing great bodily injury.
[…] 8, 2010 · Leave a Comment BikinginLA is reporting Dr. Jekyll got FIVE YEARS. Details to […]
Does anyone know where Thompson (I guess we can stop calling him “doctor” now) will be serving his time?
How sad that this man is going to spend 5 years of his life wasted in prison. If I was biking and encountered some asshole driver who was raging at me and my group, for my own safety I would pull off the road and call 911. FOR MY OWN SAFETY AND THE OTHER RIDERS WITH ME. The cyclist that were injured perpetuated this entire incident by not pulling off the road and calling authorities. They deserved what they got, because they were being bitches and acting with a self righteous sense of entitlement in the face of a dangeround angry dumb ass Doctor in his car. I would never mess with a road raged driver on my bike. I would pull off the road and call authorities to protect my safety. Too bad these cyclist didn’t, see what happens when you’re stupid and act bitchy instead of putting your own safety first?
Sad? Really? One person intentionally and severely injures two others and you say it’s sad that he must pay for his crime? Amazing. Do you work for Blackwater?
Thank you for informing us as to what you would have done, as I’m sure your 20/20 hindsight of an incident that you did not witness will save us all from further harm. The sentence meted down to the good Doctor is, as you say, the authorities acting to protect our safety.
As you may or may not know, this is not the first incident Dr. Thompson has had with cyclists. How many times do you suppose other cyclists have done exactly what you’re prescribing only to be ignored by the authorties?
The judge and jury disagree with your position.
this is sad and I agree. Both parties were not thinking with their heads, but with their egos. All were hot heads and they let their uncontrolled emotions overtake their common sense. The bikers, do they need some cheese for all the wining. Okay, they were injured, we get it. But I do not see them as fully innocent in all of this.
Lupe, since when does flipping someone the bird give them the right to try and kill you? Tell me what law the cyclists broke that makes them guilty in this incident?
My guess is “bikerider23” is not a cyclist at all, but one of Thompson’s friends. That anyone would justify attempted murder is mind-boggling, and the only one acting self-righteous during that incident was Thompson himself. He was the one feeling superior and invincible and entitled.
The injured cyclist were participating in the entire incident, flipping him off, getting all huffy and mad. I would be annoyed and pissed off as well. HOWEVER, I would have NOT perpetuated or participated in any type of interaction, (even words), with a road raged wacko driver, (as is Thompson). I would have gotten off the road immediately (the safe and right thing to do), and off my bike PERIOD. As a result I would have been safe and unharmed. Let’s stop playing “victims” as cyclist here. The cyclist involved were hot headed, they were pissed off and acted stupidly by even engaging Thompson, as a result suffered injury. Both parties are assholes, let’s be real. 5 years is ridiculous and over the top, I don’t care what anyone says. Let’s face it folks, there are tons of self righteous, assholes in L.A.. If I encountered Thompson that day,I would not have continued riding in the street. Dumb move guys, dumb move, and you call it attempted murder. Thompson didn’t want to kill anyone, gimme a break. All parties involved were complete jackasses and hot headed idiots, if they all didn’t behave so badly this never would have happened. I have no respect for my fellow cycling community who are claiming “victory” today. I will no associate or compare myself with the two parties involved in this incident as a cyclist. This has more to do with a bunch of hot headed, defensive and immature cyclist and a wacko road raged asshole than it does the cycling community and it’s rights. Your safety is your own responsibility, stop being victims people grown up and take ownership for your outrageous actions, if you don’t you’ll end up either in prison for 5 years, or a broken face and shoulder. Sadly you all are acting like a bunch of monkeys supporting either side of these two dumb ass parties.
“I don’t care what anyone says. Let’s face it folks, there are tons of self righteous, assholes in L.A.. ”
Anyone care to take a poll as to whos name might be at the top of that list? ……bikerider23
It’s funny how defensive and fired up you all get. My point confirmed, cyclist are a bunch of hot headed assholes. I’m not one, thank god. ha
Actually, I think you just confirmed everyone else’s point.
Not one what bikerider23? Asshole or cyclist. I’m pretty certain you’re not a cyclist but you are an asshole. Just another asshole like Dr Thompson in fact.
Prehaps Bikerider23 could tell the world what he would consider a fair price if his front teeth were to be smashed out, his nose broken, his face ripped apart, his head rammed through a rear window and his sholder damaged to the point that it required multiple surgeries? All of this being done while he was lawfully using the public roads.
What price sir? What price?
$10 (USD not NZD ‘pesos’ preferably) the guy hasn’t ridden a bike since he was 14.
Also, ‘bike’ rider23 (a.k.a Thompson troll), so you get off your bike and don’t ride in the street again for the rest of the day, but you’re 20 miles from home. That’d be what, a 5-6hr walk?
Quite right your own safety is your own responsibility, however there isn’t a hell of a lot you can do when some dickhead chooses to use their vehicle as a weapon.
Forgot to add:
5 years sounds about right. Whats the law with parole over there? Will he have to serve his full 5 or will he get out after 2?
Hard to say. Did DJ Wheels get any info on when he’s eligible for parole? No doubt his lawyer will appeal (I expect that’s already underway).
Just got off the phone with Mr Wheels. Under California law, he’ll probably only have to serve half his sentence in custody, with the rest on probation. And with the current prison overcrowding, I’m guessing he’ll end up doing less that that, since he’ll be an ideal candidate for early release from the state’s perspective.
As for where he’ll do his time, I’m guessing Lompoc. But that’s just a guess at the moment.
Isn’t Lompoc a Federal prison?
You’re absolutely right. I was basing my guess on a friend of a friend who was sent there from this area, but now that I think about it, he may have been convicted on federal charges.
That’s what I get for not doing my research before shooting off my big mouth. Mea culpa.
I just read some of the responses over at LA Times and a couple at StreetsBlog and it never ceases to amaze me the lack of understanding of the law, the understanding of the law of physics and the complete lack of human compassion for someone else.
I think one thing you’re failing to notice is that the cyclists were traveling downhill at 30 miles per hour. Do you really think they had time, starting from when Thompson honked at them to when he passed them and braked, to slow to a stop and pull off the road? This whole incident probably occurred in the space of 10 seconds.
I agree with you on your poorly expressed point that as cyclists we have to be vigilant for our own safety and that we should not allow angry drivers to provoke us; HOWEVER, all of us have, at one point or another, reached our limit of crap we can take and end up yelling an expletive or flipping the bird. I’ve only done it twice in my entire bike commuting career, and both times I was entirely fed up, I had the right of way, and I regretted reacting afterwards.
If you’ve never had this experience then you either are not a cyclist who rides the streets of LA (maybe you stick to secluded bike paths only) or you’re extremely new to the road. You seem extremely quick to pass judgement though. You say you’re upset with “your” fellow cycling community because they’re claiming victory: are you aware that very few of us are claiming a victory? We all recognize that this was a confluence of events–Thompson’s record of harassment, a righteous DA, and good police work–and luck. Furthermore, most of us recognize that everyone lost in this situation. A doctor lost his career and his life as he knew it; two cyclists were severely injured and probably psychologically scarred; a community lost an established ER doctor; and very probably the tension between motorists and cyclists will now increase. But these ramifications are not our fault as cyclists, they are Thompson’s fault. Don’t blame the victim’s or the community supporting them because the perpetrator has to pay for his crime.
Even if we claim victory, it’s not to crow over motorists or Thompson, but to rejoice that the law–police, DA, and a judge–recognized our right to the road and protected us.
One more thing regarding the sentence: if you ever get a gun pointed at you by a doctor or someone else with an education, we know now that you don’t mind if we don’t waste money prosecuting them in your defense.
“Even if we claim victory, it’s not to crow over motorists or Thompson, but to rejoice that the law–police, DA, and a judge–recognized our right to the road and protected us.”
That’s exactly it. Lets be frank about this, it doesn’t matter who, it is more the fact that for once the cycling community actually got its day in court unlike other countless other incidents which usually don’t get past the local officer waving the driver on their way.
Is there be any suport for a reduced sentence in exchange for a large P.R campaign with the doctors face repeatedly showing up on all the T.V stations delivering the message “I got five years because I didn’t like cyclists! They have rights. Leave them be. Its not worth it!” Or something to that affect.
What do you think guys? We might be able find one small positive from this ugly situation.
Unfortunately, Dave, once he’s been sentenced, it’s a done deal. The sentence could be reduced on appeal, but not modified otherwise.
Personally, I wish California law allowed for more creative sentencing, so he could be required to work in the prison infirmary, or made to treat uninsured cyclists for free after his parole. But that’s not an option under current law.
Thanks for the input. My thoughts are that a couple of weeks from now evrybody will forget about this conviction and go backwards to buisness as usual… that is until the next knucklehead does a repeat. It would be nice to keep this conviction front and center in every drivers mind. Our short attention span doesn’t give much encouragement that it will. It would be nice to find a way.
I can’t argue with that, Dave, people do tend to have very short attention spans these days. It would be great if we could find a way to turn this into a positive. Keep thinking of ways to make that work, and I will as well. Maybe one of us will come up with something that will work — without pissing off more drivers.
I just wanted to add that for as many angry car driver arguments that have floated around the web on this, I have thoroughly enjoyed the sane driver comments that come up about 1 out of every 10, which go something like: “um, I’m not a cyclist, but it’s clear what this guy did is criminal. In regards to jerk cyclists, just because they break the law, doesn’t mean you can. Why all the anger? Just slow down and take the 5 seconds to pass safely.” (paraphrasing)
The few comments I see like that make me feel better about cycling in LA.
Dancer, if it makes you feel any better, my experience is that the overwhelming majority of drivers out there share that positive attitude. It’s just a very vocal minority that feels the need to make threats online — and a very small minority of those insane enough to act on those threats.
When I ride, I try to make a point to focus on the thousands of drivers who drove courteously and passed safely, as opposed to the one or two jerks who didn’t.
I try to focus on the same thing, but it seems like everyday I have a close call…I think the scariest thing is being passed too closely. I can predict people making right hooks in front of me or people who won’t stop fully at a red light or stop sign, but the jerks who pass me so closely that their mirrors almost take me out, I can never see them coming…I guess I should grow eyes in the back of my head. Oh wait, they would be covered by my helmet. =)
Over the years, I’ve developed a sense for cars coming up behind me. Between the noise and sheer weight of 2,000+ pounds on my ass, I can almost always tell when there’s one coming too close.
Key word being, almost.
My only advice would be to develop an ear for wheel and engine noise. And either get one of those little mirrors that attach to your helmet, or learn to look over your shoulder every few seconds, just as if you were checking your blind spot behind the wheel.
I learned by finding an empty parking lot, and practiced looking over my shoulder while I rode along a painted line until I learned to look back without veering off that line.
The thing that really puzzles me is that all drivers are quite happy to wait 4 minutes for the traffic lights to change(I timed it at a local intersection)but some get insenced if they have to spend an extra 10 seconds to get by a cyclist.Very strange. And while we are at it, every cyclist that I know also has a drivers licence and is a proficient driver. Yet all the drivers who do not ride talk to cyclists as if they have no comprehension about how to operate a vehicle. All very strange. Prehaps the solution is to require every new driver to take road cycling course before they are granted a licence. That way at least they will know what its like to be on two wheels. Only a muse I know.