Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on September 3rd, 2009 at 11:00 am
A tragic road rage story has been making international headlines. On Monday evening in Ontario, Canada, a bike messenger has died after a road rage altercation with a prominent political figure.
Witnesses describe seeing a black convertible going 90 kilometers an hour the wrong way down a street in an upscale Toronto shopping district with 33 year old Darcy Allan Shepard hanging off the driver’s side window as the driver steered the car repeatedly onto the sidewalk, driving as close as possible to signposts and light poles on the side of the road.
After an impact with a mailbox, Sheppard fell off the side of the car and was crushed under its rear wheels. He died in the hospital.
The car’s driver, former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant was arrested and charged with criminal negligence in the case. Upon his release yesterday, he made a public statement declaring his innocence.
Bryant, 43, left the government three months ago to head a municipal agency called Invest Toronto. A Harvard educated lawyer, he has hired a high profile communications firm to advise him on his public statements and handling of the case. The government has called in an out-of-province prosecutor to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest.
In an interview with the Toronto Globe and Mail, Sheppard’s girlfriend reveals that he had left her apartment intoxicated shortly before the incident, and that he had been briefly detained by police. Despite friends’ pleas that the police drive him home, officers say they decided that he was sober enough to ride home by himself.
The Globe and Mail also reports on a 200+ person vigil and protest held at the location of the incident.
Here in Portland two road rage cases including cars and bikes that occurred this month are being handled by the DA’s office.
Last month, in another dragging case, a man on a bike was dragged 150 feet down E Burnside after an altercation at 1:00am. He suffered burns and abrasions to his feet and body.
Last week, in what appears to be another road rage incident, a man who had been on a bicycle was hospitalized after another man allegedly backed his SUV into him at high speed in a parking lot on E 122nd Ave.
– The Toronto Globe and Mail and CTV have extensive coverage, including a sobering series of videos
– Streetsblog has a thoughtful analysis of the Ontario incident and an interesting discussion of the culture of road rage.
Elly Blue has been writing about bicycling and carfree issues for BikePortland.org since 2006. Find her at http://takingthelane.com