Friday, March 19, 2010

Reckless driver assaults bicyclist and calls cops -- on himself

-- By Times staff reporter Christine Clarridge:

Police are asking prosecutors to file reckless driving and assault charges against a Seattle man who nearly ran down two bicyclists on First Avenue, opened his car door into one of them and then twice flipped the same bicyclist off his bike.

According to a Seattle police report released Friday, the two bicyclists were stopped at a red light near the 2800 block of First Avenue on Monday when a man in car raced up to the intersection and slammed on the brakes just before hitting the cyclists.

One bicyclist told police he made a "slow down" motion to the driver with his hand. But when the light turned green, the driver revved his engine, swerved around the bicyclists and sped off, according to the report.

One of the bicyclists followed the driver with the intention of getting the plate number, police said. When he approached the car, which had pulled over to park in the 2300 block of First Avenue, the driver opened his car door, striking the bicyclist, witnesses told police.

The victim fell from his bike and the driver got out of the car, police said.

The victim got back on his bike and planned to leave, he told police, but the driver stopped him by twice picking up the back wheel of his bike and flipping the rider over the handlebars.

The driver walked into a nearby bar on First Avenue, where he works as a bartender, and called police. The man told police that the bicyclist had intentionally run into his car.

When police arrived to talk with the man they noticed he "had a very strong aroma of alcohol on his breath," according to police. When one of the officers walked outside to his patrol car to see if he could get a portable Breathalyzer delivered to the scene, the bartender/driver went out the back door, police said.

Police didn't leave empty-handed, however. They impounded the man's car.

Several witnesses corroborated the bicyclist's story, police said.

Police spokeswoman Renee Witt said Friday that the 33-year-old suspect remains at large and is being sought by police.

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