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GG Transit driver used bus to attack bicyclist, faces prison

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  • 2/28 Marin IJ
    Published Tuesday, February 28, 2006, in the Marin Independent Journal Driver allegedly used bus to attack bicyclist By Gary Klien A Golden Gate Transit driver
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2006
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      Published Tuesday, February 28, 2006, in the Marin Independent Journal

      Driver allegedly used bus to attack bicyclist

      By Gary Klien

      A Golden Gate Transit driver is facing potential prison time on
      charges he intentionally ran a bicyclist off the road in Larkspur,
      injuring the cyclist and crunching the $5,000 bike under the bus
      tires.

      James Pease, 60, of San Anselmo was charged Monday with assault
      with a deadly weapon, vandalism and reckless driving causing bodily
      injury, said Deputy District Attorney Linda Witong. The assault and
      vandalism charges are felonies, and Pease could receive up to four
      years in prison if convicted, Witong said.

      Pease, who has not been arrested, is scheduled to appear in Marin
      Superior Court on March 15.

      "I have no comment," Pease said when reached by telephone Monday
      might.

      The bicyclist, Christopher Mosher of Corte Madera, said he was
      surprised to have survived the episode.

      "I thought I was going to die when I saw that rear tire up on my
      bike," said Mosher, 36, a general contractor. "I can't believe I
      didn't die."

      The incident occurred around 9:50 a.m. Feb. 5, a Sunday, along
      southbound Magnolia Avenue in Larkspur. Mosher and numerous
      witnesses told police the bus driver nearly squeezed Mosher off the
      road several times from Bon Air Road to Ward Street, where he took
      a turn and knocked the bicycle over.

      "The bus was keeping pace with the bike and attempting to crowd
      him into the cars," said Twin Cities police Sgt. Steven Fogle. "He
      actually slowed down and waited for the bicyclist so he could crowd
      him off the road."

      When the bus took the turn at Ward Street, it cut the bicycle off
      and struck it, sending Mosher to the ground and grinding the Trek
      bicycle under the bus tires, Fogle said. Several witnesses called
      911, and Pease stayed at the scene with the bus.

      "When we approached the Left Bank (restaurant), over pulls the bus
      and knocked that guy to the ground," said witness Jennifer Benane of
      Fairfax, who was driving behind the bus. "He started yelling at the
      guy, 'You hit my bus!' And then he stood there indignant and angry
      at the guy who just got run down."

      Authorities are investigating what prompted the incident. Mosher
      said he did nothing to provoke the driver, but he did rap on the
      bus' windows when it initially veered too close to him.

      "I can't understand what was going on in his head," Mosher said.

      Mary Currie, a spokeswoman for the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and
      Transportation District, said the district is investigating the
      incident and that Pease is not currently driving.

      But citing employee confidentiality rules, Currie declined to say
      whether Pease has been suspended, whether he could face termination,
      how long he has worked for the agency, and whether he has had other
      complaints lodged against him.

      "He's not behind the wheel and the disciplinary review process is
      under way," she said.

      Mosher suffered arm and leg scrapes and road rash in the collision,
      but he declined a trip to the hospital at the scene.

      He said he is not ruling out a lawsuit.

      "I'm not sure where it's going to go at this point," he said. "I
      would hope at the very least that the driver isn't on the road
      driving buses."
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