Ohio Man Pays $1,000 Fine for Threatening Cyclists in Road Rage Incident

In the News– Delaware, OH–Dec. 10, 2013

Ohio resident William Hamilton was fined $1,000 and said he was “sorry” for threatening cyclists on the road, first with his truck and then with a gun.

A man pled guilty to threatening a group of cyclists with his vehicle, and later with a gun in a road rage incident in Ohio.

The Delaware County man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to assaulting a group of cyclists this summer after he stopped his pickup truck to block their way, reported the Columbus Dispatch.

What’s interesting in this case, is not just the fact that there was a prosecution, but that Delaware City Prosecutor Mark Corroto–who removed himself from this case–is a local bike rider himself, and often rides with the same group of cyclists.

So even though Corroto was not the acting prosecutor in this case, it may pay for county and local courts to have cyclists as prosecutors, so they can see the other side of the story.

The driver William Hamilton, 52, got out of his truck and swung at one of the cyclists who were on a weeknight training ride on Troy Road, north of downtown Delaware, when they encountered Hamilton on the road.

Rider Dave Chambers said Hamilton’s truck almost ran the cyclists off the road, frustrating the riders. One flashed his middle finger at Hamilton. Chambers said Hamilton swung his truck around and blocked the road. The cyclists, who Chambers said were riding about 25 mph, scattered.

At one point the driver threatened to get a gun from the cab of his truck.

If you view video of the case from reporter Tom Bosco at ABC News, you will see that the driver, Hamilton is so overweight he can barely fit into his chair. The cyclists who have come to the hearing, including Mr. Chambers, are lean and healthy looking.

In court, Hamilton apologizes to “all the cyclists.”

One rider who crashed, Joe Coleman, said he had bruises and road rash, and had to miss several days of work because of the crash.

Hamilton will pay Coleman restitution. Hamilton also pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. He spent the night in jail after the Aug. 27 exchange with the cyclists, so will serve no additional jail time.

“There has to be a little more awareness,” said prosecutor Corroto. “It’s almost narcissism of motorists. They don’t realize that that’s somebody’s husband or son or father riding a bike.”

In the ABC News report, reporter Bosco said that there were three fatalities of cyclists hit by motorists in Ohio in the past few months, and a local bicycle blogger was struck and critically injured: driver inattention is at an all time high.  Those facts might have had some impact on the judge who meted out the justice yesterday.

You can also watch the video story from ABC News.

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