Motorist Knocked Cyclist Down, Claims He Couldn't Pass
A violent confrontation by a motorist against a bicyclist has resulted in an arrest, the Los Angeles Police Department have announced. Though the crime, in which a driver drove into a cyclist to knock her over on a city street, took place in late May, the LAPD arrested the suspect this week.
On the afternoon of May 28th, Winona Wacker was riding her bike north on Avenue 50 in the Mt. Washington area, when Louis Mraz was also on the street, behind the wheel of his convertible 2011 Volvo, top down. Mraz "began honking his horn and yelling for Wacker to move out of his way," say the LAPD. They describe the rest of the incident:
Wacker continued to ride her bike when she heard the vehicle accelerate. Mraz then drove violently into the left side of Wacker’s bike causing her to fall and tumble to the pavement. Mraz then left the area, leaving Wacker with numerous cuts and abrasions.
A witness says they saw Mraz deliberately run into Wacker, and that the driver had enough room on the street to pass safely. It was the witness who followed Mraz from a distance who was able to get the Volvo's license plate information to the authorities.
Mraz's story, however, differs. The LAPD says Mraz offered the following explanation of his actions:
[Mraz] said a female bicyclist was riding entirely in the northbound lane of Avenue 50 when he pulled up behind her. He claimed he was not able to safely pass and began honking his horn. He heard the cyclist tell him she had every right to be there and continued riding. Mraz claimed that once he was finally able to pass the cyclist struck the passenger side mirror with her hand. As he drove away, he saw the cyclist still riding her bike.
Authorities were not convinced, and subsequently issued a warrant for Mraz's arrest. He was taken in on July 6th, charged with assault and hit and run, and released after he posted bond.