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Sunset Hills Mayor Mark Furrer Accused of Intentionally Striking Cyclist with His Car

Categories: Bikes, Crime

furrers_mercedes.jpg
Mayor Mark Furrer's Mercedes parked outside Sunset Hills City Hall. | Tom Carlson

Yesterday, in a post on Facebook that spread rapidly on social media and then in subsequent interviews, a local cyclist accused Sunset Hills mayor Mark Furrer of intentionally running him off the road with his car after screaming, "Get off my fucking roads!"

The cyclist, Randy Murdick of Fenton, accused Furrer of deliberately swerving into him with his red Mercedes convertible, causing Murdick to wreck. In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Furrer denied the charges and accused Murdick of grabbing on to his car before falling.

"Honestly, everything he's saying is just ridiculous," says Murdick. "He's just lying to cover it up. Nobody in their right mind on a 17-pound bike is going to grab a hold of a 3,000-pound car."

Here is Murdick's original post in its entirety:

"He hit me so hard I almost fell into the convertible," Murdick tells Daily RFT.

Sunset Hills police chief William LaGrand confirms that an incident occurred around 4 p.m. on Tuesday between the mayor and a cyclist, but would not comment on specifics.

"The investigation is still under way. It probably will not be completed until Friday and then we need to refer it to the city prosecutor for review," he says. "I'm not going to speculate about something I'm not sure I'm correct about...we want to be accurate."

The account immediately incensed fellow cyclists and others on social media, who demanded an explanation from Furrer on the mayor's Facebook page. The post that attracted the most comments -- which included a photo of Furrer at a restaurant called Gordo's Margaritas just prior to the incident -- was deleted, but here's a screengrab. The entire page now appears to be missing:

sunset_hill_mayor_fb.jpg

Furrer did not return calls to his cell phone or emails, but here's the version of events he gave to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

He said he was driving when the cyclist whipped around a corner and ran a stop sign. He said he told the cyclist he needed to obey traffic signs, and the cyclist started yelling at him, using profanities.

Furrer said Murdick grabbed onto his car during the incident. He said he didn't accelerate or swerve, but saw Murdick then tumble from his bike. Furrer said he kept going, but pulled into a driveway to turn around and go back to check on Murdick.

Furrer told the P-D reporter that he was "ready to vomit" over the accusations.

randy_murdick_injury.jpg
Courtesy Randy Murdick
A close-up of Randy Murdick's injured right leg.
Both men seem to agree that words -- and expletives -- were exchanged, but that's about it. Murdick says he did stop at the stop sign Furrer is referring to before this occurred, but that he actually unclipped from his pedals to come to a complete stop and did not see any vehicles around him. And if he did blow through a stop sign, that doesn't exactly give drivers a free pass to run him off the road.

"I think people hate cyclists that run stop signs, and he's trying to get the press to blame the victim," says Michelle Funkenbusch, Murdick's attorney.

Murdick also says there were two witnesses -- a man in a vehicle directly behind the mayor and a second in a truck coming the opposite way who chased after the Mercedes after Murdick fell. According to Murdick, police interviewed both of these witnesses. Funkenbusch was unsure if the witnesses would be willing to speak to Daily RFT, but she did post this to the Facebook group BikelifeSTL:

I just did a 5 minute interview with one of the witnesses. He corroborates EVERYTHING Randy Murdick said. Also, the witnesses 28 year old son was also in the truck so there are THREE witnesses. In sum, the driver of the truck said he saw the Mayor turn the wheel to the right into the cyclist. He absolutely believes it was intentional and deliberate. He chased the mayor down the road and yelled at him and blinked his lights to get him to pull over. He could not believe the mayor got away without a ticket. At no time did he ever see Randy grab the car. His hands were on the bike. The Mayor's story is a total lie.

Furrer was not arrested, a fact Funkenbusch found incredible after Murdick told her what happened. She says neither of them knew that the driver in the Mercedes was Furrer until they went back to the police station to demand further action be taken.

randy_murdick.jpg
Courtesy Randy Murdick, an avid triathlete and cyclist.
"The Sunset Hills police did not tell Randy that it was their boss," she says.

Murdick says he went to the hospital after the incident and has a torn Achilles tendon and a bruised tailbone. He is unable to return to work as an electrician as a result. He also says his $12,000 bike is badly damaged.

Funkenbusch says she and her client are hoping for a few outcomes -- first that Furrer resign.

"We hope that the case gets sent to St. Louis County and the St. Louis County prosecutor's office files charges for careless and imprudent driving, leaving the scene of the accident and assault," she says. "We want the city of Sunset Hills to recognize that they need to show that they are a bicycle-friendly community. This is a stain on a great city."

Meanwhile, a "Sunset Hills Cyclist Awareness Ride: Large Group Ride" is planned for Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Find more information here.

This is obviously a developing situation, and we'll update as we learn more.

Email the author at Jessica.Lussenhop@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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111 comments
Kirsten Mary
Kirsten Mary

Only on bike paths. People on bikes have absolutely no respect for cars.

Aaron McCoy
Aaron McCoy

Remind me never to have sex with the mayor's lawyer, Michelle Funkybush

Georgia Scrum Hutchinson
Georgia Scrum Hutchinson

Hey Dennis, does that mean u don't believe the 3 witnesses who corroborate with what the cyclist's said?

Lora Wiser
Lora Wiser

It doesn't matter if it is a he said/ he said. The mayor still hit the guy.

Randy Chotin
Randy Chotin

What a piece of shit this guy is, he needs to be bitch slapped!!

StuffThatSpins
StuffThatSpins

This is a great resource for everyone suggesting cyclists should get off the road. 

http://www.saintlouislegal.com/2011/06/test-your-knowledge-of-bicycle-law/

"Under Section 307.191, Missouri state law says that you CAN operate your bike at LOWER than the posted speed or slower than the flow of traffic on a street or highway, or you may operate on the shoulder.  This allows but does not require bikes to ride on the shoulder.  In other words, those who suggest bikes cannot be on the road because they can’t maintain a minimum speed limit are flat out wrong.  Bikes cannot however be on the INTERSTATE in Missouri."


Jimmy Eden
Jimmy Eden

All fat asses should be forced to commute by bicycle.........

David L Laughlin
David L Laughlin

That would be a crime son; get off Facebook and call the police-- it's a felony-- AWD (assult with a deadly weapon).

Tim Stewart
Tim Stewart

Hold on John, so you're saying that the driver stops at a stop sign and then proceeds legally is at fault if the bike runs the stop sign and hits him? Because that is what you implied with he should be aware of his surroundings.

James Wright
James Wright

If this was a motorcycle That community would be just as outraged. I see signs all the time for watching out for motorbikes but no one gives a shit about cyclist. Smh

ozzfest89
ozzfest89

Ahhhh! Nothing like a good ol' car vs. bicycle incident to bring out the sociopath commenters!

Mark Ries
Mark Ries

Lol. Well not sure if I am reason ppl leaving Midwest. Never heard that one .. Was only thinking common sense .. Bikes n cars do not play well together. Have a great day

Pieter Tjaarda
Pieter Tjaarda

Amie Marie if you read your drivers manual it states in there that motorist give cyclist 3 ft of space on the road

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

accidents happen i try not to ride bicycles on roads with traffic...just because shit does happen and i dont want it too happen to me..

Mike Reichle
Mike Reichle

Did the police do any sort of breathalyzer or sobriety check if the mayor? He's pretty much admitted to drinking margaritas immediately prior to this incident... Sounds like someone gets mean when drinking tequila...

John Bo
John Bo

No one wants to obey traffic laws Scott, motorist or cyclists, we are all guilty of breaking traffic laws every day, but the difference is you are in a car with protection, not on a fucking bike with no protection. If they run a stop sign and you hit them you should pay more attention to your surroundings and always be in control or someone might die. Are you gonna feel the same way?

Sisyphus Wobbly
Sisyphus Wobbly

He left the scene in his car after knowing the cyclist crashed from his actions. What more info do you need?

hijohnhello
hijohnhello

Past history would tell all in a cast like this. 

Does Furrer have any past incidents of road-rage?

Does Murdick have any other claims of problems on his bike with aggressive auto drivers?



Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Lindbergh blvd. Gravois halls ferry McDonald blvd. l could go on for days. Page ave. market street

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Car v bike. Won't matter who's right or wrong. The laws of physics apply.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

It happens in the movie Back To The Future, those are stunts. You don't see that in the real world. If so, video it next time!

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

Any motorized vehicle operator must clear intersection before proceeding.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

I lived near hwy109 from 1989-2005ish, bicycles are not on that road. If they are, VERY rare.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

Some do not say that, only the Mayor. No rational person believes that.

chrisward99
chrisward99 topcommenter

Except for the obvious injuries and damages...EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS IS AWESOME.

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

MurDICK is kind of a dorky looking guy. I bet he's lying. The bike mafia sees a nice car and figures they'll get some cash out of faking an accident.  

Dennis Springer
Dennis Springer

Michael I think the cyclists made up an elaborate story and is exaggerating in preparation for suit. Claiming he can't work, etc. Especially after he found out who it was. I dislike lying sue happy freeloaders looking for a free ride.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

One witness claimed the rider was trying to get a free ride by holding into the car. Hmmmmm

bill.davidson
bill.davidson

Do you mean respect the way Tony Soprano means respect?

nospam
nospam

@StuffThatSpins I am an avid cyclist...road, trail, you name it.  Thousand miles a year.  Four different bicycles in the garage.  Blah blah blah.  Credibility established.

Cyclists who don't ride near the edge of the road create HUGE problems for the rest of us who ride on the road.  I don't care what the law says, impeding traffic on a public road is inconsiderate to the point of criminal, and it's this exact behavior which is the root cause of the vast majority of road rage cyclists are now enduring from the automobile community.  And there's absolutely no excuse for it.  If you don't have the skills to stay close to the side of the road while riding, then you should ride on a groomed trail until you develop them.  And don't even get me started on people who ride in groups with multiple cycles abreast...


The laws that say we're allowed to ride on the street and take up an entire lane, while traveling well below the normal speed of traffic are just plain ridiculous, created as a kneejerk backlash from moron politicians trying to curry favor with a specific voting demographic.  You know it.  I know it.  And everyone driving cars knows it.  Everything else that goes slower than normal traffic on public roads (garbage trucks, school buses, Amish buggies, street sweepers, etc) is required to have flashing hazard lights and massive signage, and further required to operate in such a way as to MINIMIZE THEIR IMPACT ON SURROUNDING TRAFFIC.

Only a congenital douchebag puts on 0.5 ounces of Spandex, throws a leg over a couple pounds of tubing and wheels and then goes out and deliberately antagonizes 5000-lb vehicles.  Driven, I might add, by people who ALREADY hate us because most of them are fat and lazy and feel bad about themselves when they see us out exercising.  Or because we're slicing and dicing in and out of traffic jams, avoiding all the hassles they're forced to endure because they're not on bikes like us.  They hate us, okay?  THEY HATE US.  And now you wanna provoke them by making them sit behind you while you toodle down the road at 15-20mph under the speed limit?!?


Use your brains, fellow cyclists.  Dozens of these cyclist vs car road rage stories hit the web every week, and it's YOU GUYS who are creating this antagonism.  Ride like you're fragile, like you're surrounded by giant steel monsters who hate you...because you are.  Quit dicking it up for the rest of us.


Now, on the topic of the mayor and his little dip into attempted vehicular homicide, we all know what happened here....it doesn't matter whether the cyclist stopped for the stupid stop sign or not.  He probably didn't; you know we rarely do.  It's irrelevant.  If the witnesses support the story that the mayor deliberately swerved his car into the cyclist, then he should be brought up on charges of attempted homicide.  Period.  If he's found to be guilty, he loses his job and goes to jail.  End of discussion.  Rule #1 of driving a car is that YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO HIT PEOPLE WITH IT. 

rivetheaded
rivetheaded

This is really an ignorant comment.  

marigolds6
marigolds6

He did? The restaurant he was at does not have a liquor license....

tripgh
tripgh

@dalediversity You're seriously discrediting someone's account of an incident because they're dorking looking?  Have you seen your 70's high school photo avatar?  The cyclists bike (an established triathlete, mind you) is probably worth more than that car.

There are multiple witnesses, anyway.

ion_feldman
ion_feldman

@dalediversity There were two witnesses. Are they liars too? Or are you waiting to see if they look dorky or not before passing judgement? Fault aside, the mayor saw the cyclist tumble after contact with his car and he did not go back to see if he needed medical attention. Shameful. 

mmwhalen
mmwhalen

Wow, based on what? The recently released 911 calls? Oh yeah those confirm Murdick's version. The witness is even yelling out the window at the mayor telling him to "turn around you just hit someone." 

bill.davidson
bill.davidson

@nospam Riding on the edge of the roadway is often unsafe.  Take a class from Cycling Savvy or the League of American Bicyclists or at least read Cyclecraft or Effective Cycling or Bicycling Street Smarts.

The fact is that most of the time that bicyclists are using the full lane, motorists can both legally and safely move over to pass.  I don't understand why the concept of moving over to pass a bicyclist is so difficult for come people to comprehend.  It's what you do for slow moving motorists.  Some people have a double standard though so they pretend that they are being impeded when all they have to do is change lanes.

illinidahmanator
illinidahmanator

@nospam @StuffThatSpins Riding to the extreme right or on the shoulder is well and good, when it is safe to do so. The problem is that it is seldom safe to do so. Many hazards endanger "gutter-bunny" cyclists that ride to the extreme right - potholes, storm sewer drains, trash, parked cars, and extremely limited visibility to motorists turning into or out of the roadway. When any of these common dangers are encountered, the cyclist has no room to maneuver and must stop, hop the curb, or swerve unpredictably. Furthermore, unless the traffic lane is wide enough to share with a motor vehicle (and few are), then an overtaking motorist MUST have a clear lane to the left to safely execute a pass. If the motorist must have a clear lane to the left, then it matters not one iota if the cyclist occupies the extreme right of the lane or any other part of the lane that provides more visibility and relief from edge hazards. The idea that cyclists and motorists are both better off with cyclists hugging the curb is a faulty perception, completely divorced from logic. Lots of great resources at http://cyclingsavvy.org/.

kd5kuv
kd5kuv

@marigolds6 Plenty of just-opened restaurants whose liquor licenses haven't been approved yet often give away small servings of mixed drinks for free (not having a license means you can't sell, not that you can't give away), at least down here.  

I don't know if that's legal in Missouri law, but it is in Texas, and it's a common practice for restaurants here trying to drum up a following.

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

@tripgh Who cares if a dork can be a triathaloner? Doesn't mean he isn't lying. 

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

@ion_feldman The bike mafia sticks together. Of course there lying. They don't want to admit that he ran a stop sign. 

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