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Open season: Deadly assualt on cyclists is no crime in Marin

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  • 7/3 Marin IJ
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4 12:14 PM
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      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
      reckless driving.

      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 victim.

      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
      cause.

      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
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      road.

      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
      zone."

      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)
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/35553

      Homicidal former GG bus driver pleads innocent in bike assualt (15 Mar 2006)
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/29806

      GG Transit driver facing charges for bus-bike assault resigns (28 Feb 2006)
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/29244

      GG Transit driver used bus to attack bicyclist, faces prison (28 Feb 2006)
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/29243 ]
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