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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Doctor sentenced to 5 years in prison for assaulting bicyclists in Brentwood [LA Now]


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A doctor convicted of assaulting two bicyclists by slamming on his car brakes after a confrontation on a narrow Brentwood road was sentenced today to five years in prison.
Christopher Thompson, wearing dark blue jail scrubs, wept as he apologized to the injured cyclists shortly before he was sentenced.
"I would like to apologize deeply, profoundly from the bottom of my heart," he told them, his right hand cuffed to a court chair.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Scott T. Millington called the case a "wake-up call" to motorists and cyclists and urged local government to provide riders with more bike lanes. He said he believed that Thompson had shown a lack of remorse during the case and that the victims were particularly vulnerable while riding their bicycles.
The case against Thompson, 60, has drawn close scrutiny from bicycle riders around the country, many of whom viewed the outcome as a test of the justice system's commitment to protecting cyclists.
Millington said he did not take into account more than 270 e-mails and letters from cyclists that were filed with the court urging a tough sentence.
The July 4, 2008, crash also highlighted simmering tensions between cyclists and residents along Mandeville Canyon Road, the winding five-mile residential street where the crash took place.
One cyclist was flung face-first into the rear window of Thompson's red Infiniti, breaking his front teeth and nose and cutting his face. The other cyclist slammed into the sidewalk and suffered a separated shoulder.

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