Bush-hiding hit-and-run driver gets 6 years; Highland Park road-rager guilty of assault with deadly weapon

More news on SoCal’s very crowded court dockets.

San Diego hit-and-run driver Julianne Elyse Thomson — famed for hiding under the bushes while her victim died in the street — was sentenced to a well-deserved six years in state prison.

Thomson had pled guilty in January to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run causing death. She had a blood-alcohol level of .25 — over three times the legal limit — when she killed 64-year old Arthur John Jacobs as he rode to work on July 27th of last year.

Meanwhile, bike riding attorney Ross Hirsch — who wrote the definitive explanation of L.A.’s new cyclist anti-harassment ordinance — reports that Highland Park road rage driver Louis Mraz has been convicted on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Mraz was charged with deliberately running down cyclist Winona Wacker after a confrontation on Avenue 50, then fleeing the scene.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, it wasn’t his first time. But he still had the unbelievable chutzpah — or sheer hatred of anyone on two wheels — to publicly argue against bike lanes on North Figueroa avenue while facing charges for assaulting Wacker.

Now that’s major huevos. And not in a good way.

Hirsch reports that Mraz was acquitted on charges of hit-and-run and causing grave bodily injury. Sentencing is scheduled for March 26th; no word yet on what sentence he may face, but Hirsch suggests that Mraz is likely to serve his time in county lockup rather than state prison.

Update: The Highland Park and Eagle Rock editions of Patch have picked up the story, reporting that Mraz could face anything from a $10,000 fine to up to four years behind bars.

According to the California Penal Code “any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm or by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.”


A California legislator introduces a bill that would add a $2 surcharge to the price of every bike sold to maintain bike trails and paths within the state park system; in other words, a tax on all cyclists for trails most will never ride.

Personally, I have no problem with the concept, as long as the money doesn’t go into to state’s general fund where we’d never see it again, and is restricted for use exclusively on bike projects.

But why not make it half-a-percent, so the people who can afford high-end bikes pay a little more, while someone who can only afford a cheap bike pays a minimal amount. Then use for bikeways throughout the state, rather than just state parks.

If nothing else, it would shut up the misinformed bike haters who insist we have to pay our own way. Even though we’re already paying theirs.

Meanwhile, a writer in the Washington Post asks why should we?


The Examined Spoke takes the father of Vehicular Cycling to task, and shows what might have been. Clearly, a UK writer is no fan, and Bike Snob doesn’t appear to be either.


Somehow I missed this study last year, showing that more bikeways equals more bike riders, even when adjusting for other factors. However, it doesn’t say if more cyclists cause more bikeways, or the other way around.

My guess is it works both ways.


Bike Radar interviews the LACBC’s Alexis Lantz about the new county bike plan. Turns out it’s not hard to get a permit to block a bike lane, if you actually apply for it. CicLAvia’s Joe Linton talks bike lanes and car-free Sundays. New bike lanes are coming to San Vicente Blvd in West Hollywood. Taking up the car-free lifestyle in Long Beach. Ventura County cyclists will get a new beachfront bike path along Highway 101 south of Carpinteria in a few years. Sadly, a long-time Solvang bike activist passes away just days before his 99th birthday. Evidently, Santa Barbara has a bike shop desert. A Bakersfield cyclist was killed crossing a road on Friday. A Montebello salmon cyclist is lucky to end up with just a broken ankle after getting hit by a van heading the wrong way on a one way street. Turns out that Rear Adm. Dixon Smith, the new commander of the Navy’s Southwest Region is one of us. It’s bad enough we have to dodge drivers, now we have to watch out for cows, too. PayPal Executive Eric Salvatierra was killed while walking his bike on Menlo Park railroad tracks on Friday. Union Pacific runs cyclists off a de facto bike park. Three years probation and 500 hours of community service for the San Francisco cyclist who killed a pedestrian while running a red light; if a driver had killed a cyclist under similar circumstances, we’d be screaming for his head.

Studies show active kids are smarter kids. Automakers say if you’re going to make us fight distracted driving, you need to stop smartphone makers, too; a good read on why drivers hate cars. A popular Seattle bicycle mechanic died after being hit by a car on his way to work. Don’t try this at home; a Chicago cyclist chases down and tackles a purse snatcher. Ohio bike volunteers are sued for practicing engineering without a license for offering advice on improving safety. Early ‘60s rockabilly singer Terry Teen was killed while riding his bike in Texas last week. No surprise as former president George W. Bush declines to participate in the Dallas Ride of Silence. Court records finally explain why the NYPD didn’t charge the hit-and-run driver who killed cyclist Mathieu Lefevre. Ex-framebuilder Dave Moulton offers an interesting comparison of 1950s and modern bike design.

Two years after being injured in a collision, a Vancouver cyclist is sued by the driver that hit him for damaging her car; no really. A Toronto Councilor brags that he would kick a bike courier’s ass if he wasn’t an elected official; maybe he shouldn’t be one. London traffic engineers were ordered to ignore cyclists in planning traffic capacity at a killer intersection. A new interactive map allows UK cyclists to pinpoint areas that need improvement. Bradley Wiggins kicks off the European season with a win in the Paris – Nice Classic; Santa Rosa’s Levi Leipheimer crashed out of competition. The Telegraph asks if Wiggo is the best rider Great Britain has ever produced. Volvo introduces the first air bag to protect people outside of the car — like cyclists and pedestrians. Even Dubai cyclists are getting a new bike plan, including dedicated cycle tracks integrated into all Metro stations; be nice to see that kind of planning in L.A. Green Party politicians say bikes and trucks don’t mix in a dangerous Australian intersection. Taiwan could rival The Netherlands as a bicycle paradise.

Finally, change your mind, change your gears, as a new Toyota Prius bike allows you to shift by thinking — as long as your iPad is strapped to your chest; since it was reported by Fox News, you can blame Obama if it doesn’t work.

And you might recognize the last caller on Patt Morrison’s KPCC segment on the job prospects for Gen Y, identified only as Charlie from Long Beach.


  1. billdsd says:

    I already knew about Thomsen.

    I didn’t know about Mraz being convicted and I haven’t been able to find any more info on his conviction. It’s comforting to see one of these psychos finally go down for assault with a deadly weapon. I hope that he gets the stiffest sentence possible and that it gets some decent coverage in the media.

  2. carolyn laing says:

    thats it???killing someone….leaving them to die,and hiding…..just like the woman that hit my brother Jim Laing…:( so sad…

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