81-Year-Old Man Chases Bicyclist Onto Golf Course, Runs Him Over, Police Say

Road rage incident lands Santa Rosa man in jail.

SANTA ROSA, CA — An 81-year-old man was arrested Saturday for allegedly chasing a bicyclist on to a golf course and running him down, after another bicyclist told police about a similar incident that occurred last year.

Harry Edward Smith, a resident of the Oakmont adult housing community, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and battery causing serious bodily injury, said Santa Rosa police Sgt. Steve Fraga.

Police believe Smith began yelling at a bicyclist who was riding on Pythian Road in east Santa Rosa on Wednesday around 5:15 p.m. and tried to hit him. The cyclist fled on to the Oakmont Golf Course to escape, and the driver followed and struck him, police said.

The bicyclist was taken to a local hospital with moderate injuries. The vehicle in the incident was described as a gold or beige sedan similar to a Toyota Corolla, and the driver as an elderly white man with gray hair. Smith was identified as a suspect in the incident this morning after another bicyclist, Sonoma County resident Rosa Zoia, came forward regarding an incident that occurred in October of 2011.

Zoia told police that while riding her bicycle on Pythian Road in Oakmont, she was yelled at by an older white male adult in a vehicle similar to the vehicle description in the recent incident, Fraga said.

The driver said something to the effect that Zoia was too young to be in Oakmont, and continued to yell and rage when she tried to engage him in a conversation.

The man was forced to drive away when another vehicle came up behind him at a four-way stop. Zoia contacted the police, but no crime had occurred at the time. This morning, however, she was able to give police the license plate number of that driver, and detectives tracked it to Smith.

The victim in the recent incident identified Smith as the assailant in a lineup, and detectives obtained a warrant for Smith's home on Valley Oaks Drive. Smith's gold 1997 Toyota Avalon sedan was later found to have damage to the passenger side mirror as well as debris from driving on the golf course stuck to its undercarriage, Fraga said.

Anyone with further information on this case is asked to call Santa Rosa police at (707) 543-3590.

-- Bay City News Service

billdsd August 25, 2012 at 05:35 AM
David L. Bjorling: Cyclists pay sales tax and income tax and property tax. That means that we pay for the roads too. Your fuel taxes and registration fees aren't nearly enough to pay for the roads. Furthermore, most of the costs of the roads is due to motor vehicles due to their weight, size and speed and the danger that they present to everyone around them. You should try looking at government road budgets some time -- especially city and county budgets. Most local roads get the majority of their funding from general fund taxes. Fuel taxes mostly go to state and federal highways.
billdsd August 25, 2012 at 05:42 AM
@Walt Serth: You could not be more wrong. Slow traffic in front is not required to yield to overtaking traffic behind unless all of the conditions of CVC 21656 are met. That means that the road is two lane road (single lane each way) AND passing is either illegal or unsafe due to oncoming traffic AND there are five or more vehicles backed up behind the slow traffic AND there is a safe place for the slower traffic to turn out to let the overtaking traffic pass. On most roads, the slow lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to travel safely side by side within the lane (anything less than 14 feet, which is most lanes). It's also dangerous to ride close to parked cars due to the risk of doors opening or drivers pulling out because they don't see bicyclists riding close to parked cars (I got hit that way once). Either of these conditions exempts bicyclists from the requirement to keep far right under CVC 21202(a)(3) because it is unsafe for them to keep far right under these conditions. Furthermore, in most urban and suburban areas bicyclists are almost always approaching a driveway or intersection where there is a risk of drivers turning right in front of them. CVC 21202(a)(4) exempts bicyclists from keeping right in this situation again because it is dangerous to ride far right in this situation. Maybe you need to take a driver's education course. It's clear that you don't understand the rules of the road or safety.
billdsd August 25, 2012 at 05:45 AM
I'll be fine with that when they lock up all of the drivers who break the law. Won't be too many drivers left of course given all of the speeding and failing to signal and rolling stop signs and rolling right on red and other violations I see from motorists almost constantly every time I'm out on the road. I'm always amazed at how some people want to hold bicyclists to a higher standard than motorists even though motorists are responsible for virtually all of the death on the roads and the vast ridiculously overwhelming majority of serious injury and property damage on the roads whereas bicyclists almost never kill people and rarely seriously injure someone other than themselves. It's like you're trying to make an excuse to hate people simply because they are different from you. You're a bigot.
billdsd August 25, 2012 at 05:52 AM
Only a small percentage of drivers obey the law as well. The shoulder is not part of the roadway (CVC 530). Bicyclists have a right to use the roadway (CVC 21200(a)). Bicyclists aren't disrupting traffic any more than a bus or a garbage truck or a loaded 18 wheeler or an RV or a delivery truck or someone slowing to turn or someone slowing and stopping to park. Except for toll roads, there is no such thing as road tax in the U.S. Fuel taxes and registration fees are not tied to road use. Fuel taxes go primarily to state and federal highways. Relatively little goes to city and country roads. Bicyclists are not required to move over for traffic unless it is safe to do so and it is usually not safe to do so. The roads are not just for cars and never have been. Read California state law, CVC 21200(a). Bicyclists have as much right to use the roadway as you do. Here's the problem Lorin White: You don't know the rules of the road. You don't understand bicycle safety. You don't understand road safety. You don't know how the roads get paid for. Your rant is one ignorant excuse after another. Sharing the road with bicyclists is easy. The ONLY reason that you are upset about it is that you are so amazingly ignorant that you think that you shouldn't have to.
billdsd August 25, 2012 at 05:56 AM
@don: You are wrong about why bicyclist ride in the middle of the lane. They ride in the middle of the lane because most lanes are too narrow for a bicycle and a car to travel safely side by side within the lane. Riding far right in this situation results in lots of dangerously close passes and occasionally being clipped. They also ride in the middle of the lane when approaching a place where a right turn is permitted. That is because if they don't it's common for drivers to pass and turn right in front of them without sufficient clearance and it's dangerous. The law supports bicyclist's right to use the middle of the lane in these situations. See CVC 21202(a)(3) and (a)(4). On the other hand, the law prohibits YOU from leaning on your horn to harass people. It is a violation of CVC 27001. You are a law breaking road raging psycho driver.


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