Verdict in Hit-and-Run case involving cyclist

  • 03/17/2016 10:22 AM
    Message # 3887310
    James Black (Administrator)

    From the Capital Gazette; click here to view the report. 

    A Delaware man charged in a hit-and-run with a cyclist last year in Annapolis was spared jail time Wednesday in District Court.

    Defense attorney Stacie Wollman told the judge 84-year-old Benjamin Carr, of Rehoboth Beach, was willing to work with the victim to resolve the matter, and the judge put the case on the stet docket, meaning prosecutors can revisit the charges within the next three years.

    Carr was charged in July with four counts in connection with an apparent road rage incident involving a cyclist. The cyclist sustained minor injuries and Carr was charged with leaving the scene.

    "Our goal is to make sure the victim is as whole as possible. When applicable, part of that process is assisting with property damage and medical bills," said Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office spokeswoman Heather Epkins. "We are waiting for a resolution on the victim's insurance issues and once that is resolved we will move the case forward."

    Wollman said after the hearing that the case had been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, and declined to comment further.

    Carr was taken into police custody after the incident and charged with failure to stop at the scene of an accident involving bodily injury, failure to immediately return and remain at the scene of an accident involving bodily injury, failure to stop after an accident involving damage to an unattended vehicle and failure to return and remain at the scene of an accident involving damage to an attended vehicle, police said.

    At about 9:15 a.m. on July 28, police responded to a report of a hit-and-run on Bay Ridge Avenue. A cyclist told police he was stopped at a red traffic signal at Bay Ridge and Tyler avenues when he took a drink from his water bottle. The light turned green and the driver behind him, later identified as Carr, began honking his horn, yelling and pointing at the light, police said.

    The cyclist told police he was putting his water bottle away when Carr, the driver of a Ford Explorer, rear-ended his bicycle. The front bumper of the Explorer got stuck on the rear wheel of the bicycle, the cyclist told police, keeping the bike in an upright position.

    Police said the cyclist got off his bike and called 911 as Carr attempted to drive away. The bike remained stuck under the front bumper as Carr left the scene, police said.

    The cyclist was able to capture a picture of Carr's license plate and provide a description of Carr and his vehicle to police.

    Police said the cyclist was taken to the Anne Arundel Medical Center, where he was treated for pain in his neck, back and shoulders.

    Officers observed a gouge mark in the pavement where the crash occurred. The mark continued on Bay Ridge Avenue, went right on Springdale Avenue and then left into an alley.

    The bike was found in the alley, a few feet from the point where the gouge mark ended, police said.

    Shortly before 10:15 a.m., Carr called police and reported hitting the bike. Police responded to Hillsmere Drive, where they found Carr and his Explorer backed into a driveway.

    Carr told officers he honked at the cyclist when the light turned green, and the cyclist became "belligerent," police said. He said he backed up so he could go around the cyclist, but the cyclist placed his bike in front of the vehicle.

    Carr said he ran over the bike and left the area. He also said he didn't know what happened to the bike after he ran it over, police said.

    Jon Korin, president of Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, who attended the hearing Wednesday, said the advocacy group tries to have a presence at cases involving bike crashes to support the victim and provide a teachable moment to drivers.

    Korin would have liked to see some charges against Carr be upheld, he said, suggesting that he be required to do community service for the organization.

    "There have been two situations where plea agreements included community service to Bike AAA," Korin said, adding, "We think that would be a constructive outcome."

    Last April, a dump truck driver was fined and ordered to complete community service with Bike AAA after pleading guilty to a road rage incident involving county police who were cycling in Glen Burnie. In December, a Davidsonville man was given probation before judgment, fined and ordered to complete community service with Bike AAA after striking a cyclist with his vehicle, then assaulting the cyclist.

    Korin and other bicycle safety advocates also have attended hearings for other drivers charged in crashes involving cyclists.

    In 2014, an Annapolis woman who struck and injured two bicyclists while driving drunk near the Naval Academy Bridge was sentenced to 18 months in jail. In addition, a woman who struck and killed an Annapolis cyclist in 2013 on Riva Road was found guilty of three driving offenses and fined $1,500.

    "We think it's important to make sure that we teach the community a lesson about the rights and responsibilities of motorized vehicles," Korin said. "A majority of drivers do not understand laws (regarding cyclists)."

Copyright 2019 Annapolis Bicycle Club
P.O. Box 224
Annapolis, MD 21404

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