Scott A. Young, who assaulted a group of bicyclists in a road rage incident near Lawrence in July, hitting one of them, has been convicted of reckless aggravated battery by a jury in Douglas County.
Young, of Baldwin City, drove his pickup truck into the lead cyclist of a group of riders in the 1000 block of East 1400 Road near Lawrence on July 15th, then drove away, leaving an injured cyclist and damaged equipment. After a lengthy investigation, Young was arrested and charged in September with aggravated battery, criminal damage, reckless driving, failure to report an accident and leaving the scene of an injury accident. He pleaded not guilty to all charges in November, and the case went to trial on February 28th.
According to the Lawrence Journal-World:
A prosecutor during closing arguments said Young, 48, intentionally struck cyclist Rob Wilshusen with his truck because he was angry about a group of cyclists on the road and wanted to make a point.
“That makes it clear to the officers (during an interview) what his intention was when he was passing those cyclists,” said James McCabria, an assistant Douglas County district attorney.
Young’s defense attorney said his client regretted yelling at the cyclists as he passed them but wasn’t aware at the time that he struck anyone. Defense attorney Rick Frydman said Young veered back into his lane on East 1400 Road — an extension of Louisiana Street south of Broken Arrow Park — because he was approaching a hill and he couldn’t see if oncoming traffic was a threat.
“What I would say is the evidence shows that Scott Young was trying to get back into the lane,” Frydman said.
During the trial, which began Monday, a group of Lawrence cyclists testified that Young came upon the group on July 15, 2010, yelled obscenities at them and then struck Wilshusen, who fell and suffered injuries to his shoulder, back and hip. [read more]
Though Young was charged with intentional aggravated battery, the jury had the option of convicting him on the lesser charge of reckless aggravated battery, which they did.
(Not sure what happened to all of the additional charges: criminal damage, reckless driving, failure to report an accident and leaving the scene of an injury accident.)
Young is still free on bond, and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8. LJWorld reports that he likely faces probation, rather than jail time.
The Lawrence cyclists who were assaulted were involved with this case from the beginning, first raising media awareness to help find the driver, and then testifying at the hearings and trial. At the time of Young’s arrest, police said “assistance from the cyclists was key in the investigation”.
As far as I know, this is the first prosecution of a case involving “road rage” against a bicyclist in the state of Kansas (if you know of others, please comment).