Open season: Deadly assualt on cyclists is no crime in Marin
- Published Tuesday, July 3, 2007, in the Marin Independent Journal
Bus driver acquitted on assault charge in bicycle collision
By Nancy Isles Nation
A Marin jury Tuesday acquitted a former Golden Gate Transit bus driver
of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a collision with a
bicyclist, but found him guilty of felony vandalism and misdemeanor
James Robertson Pease, 62, was accused of intentionally hitting a
bicyclist with his bus at the bus stop on Ward Street at Magnolia
Avenue in downtown Larkspur on Feb. 5, 2006. The defense argued that
the incident was an accident and that Pease had not tried to strike
The verdict by the 10-woman, two-man jury came after less than four
hours of deliberation. It is likely to save Pease from being
sentenced to state prison. Had he been found guilty of felony
assault, he could have been sent to prison for four years and earned a
strike in the state's "three strikes" system.
In a closing statement before the jury Tuesday morning, defense
attorney James Wall said Pease had no intention of running a bicyclist
off the road. He said it was an accident that Pease did not intend to
Prosecutors maintained that Pease flew into road rage when bicyclist
Christopher Mosher, 38, of Corte Madera, was riding toward Larkspur on
Bon Air Road and tapped the bus to let the driver know he was on the
They said Pease ran a red light at Bon Air Road and paced the bus
alongside Mosher, forcing him against parked cars and curbs.
Wall told jurors that witnesses contradicted each other in their
accounts of the incident, and he accused the prosecution of using
selective information to make its case against Pease.
"To assert that he followed Mr. Mosher out of vindictiveness is
false," Wall said. He noted that parked cars blocked witnesses' views
of the bus and said that his client honked the horn of the bus before
pulling into the bus stop on Ward Street to alert Mosher.
"Why would he sound the horn if he was going to attack him?" Wall
asked. "Mr. Pease is not responsible for Mr. Mosher being in the bus
Prosecutor Sarah Brubaker countered that Pease knew exactly where
Mosher was the entire distance from Bon Air Road to Ward Street.
"This is a case of road rage," Brubaker said.
Pease resigned from his job at Golden Gate Transit shortly after the
incident, according to district spokeswoman Mary Currie.
"Since that occurred the district has increased its training around
bicycles," Currie said.
Mosher, a contractor, suffered scrapes and road rash from the crash
but did not seek medical attention for his injuries. His $5,000 Trek
bike was crunched under the rear wheel of the 19-ton bus.
Contact Nancy Isles Nation via e-mail at civiccenter@...
[BATN: See also:
Trial of homicidal former GGT bus driver continues (2 Jul 2007)
Homicidal former GG bus driver pleads innocent in bike assualt (15 Mar 2006)
GG Transit driver facing charges for bus-bike assault resigns (28 Feb 2006)
GG Transit driver used bus to attack bicyclist, faces prison (28 Feb 2006)