Illinois Motorist Accused of Taunting Bicyclists Charged With Reckless Driving

Categories: Bikes

JERRYVINSON.JPG
Photo courtesy of O'Fallon, Illinois, police
Jerry Vinson is accused of hitting a cyclist with his truck after threatening to hit a group of them with a pole.
Prosecutors in St. Clair County, Illinois, yesterday charged Jerry Vinson with reckless driving and leaving the scene of accident for his role in a bizarre provocation he had with bicyclists earlier this month in O'Fallon, Illinois.

According to cyclists, Vinson pulled up onto a group of bikers August 5 and yelled at them to get off the road. Vinson then began swerving toward the cyclists and -- at one time -- allegedly swung a pole at the bikers from the cab of his pickup truck.

James Lewallen, a cyclist who ran into Vinson's vehicle after the motorist allegedly slammed on the brakes in an attempt to cause a collision, suffered road abrasions and thousands of dollars in damages to his bike from the incident. Reached for comment Wednesday, Lewallen wasn't satisfied with the charges against Vinson.

"He should be charged with more. He intentionally hit me and almost another," Lewallen says. "It's good he's being charged with the crime, but he should have been arrested the hit and run."

james_lewallen.jpg
Photo courtesy of James Lewallen
James Lewallen stands astride his bike after a 100-mile race two months prior to the collision.

See also: Another St. Louis Area Bicyclist Says He Was Intentionally Struck by Motorist

As Daily RFT reported previously, the cyclists shouted Vinson's license plate number in an attempt to stop the harassment, but it persisted. Lewallen says he was about a foot from the curb when Vinson's pickup got too close. He put his hand on the tailgate for balance, and the impact caused his bike wheels to fly out from under him. Then Vinson sped off.

Vinson was officially charged Tuesday with one count of reckless driving and one count of failure to give information and render aid after an accident. Both are class A misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail. Vinson was released after posting a $10,000 bond. A court date has not yet been set, and he did not return calls from Daily RFT. Click here for the law in Illinois regarding cyclists on the road.


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34 comments
gmk0825
gmk0825

Wow. I got reckless driving for doing 80 in a 65 mph zone. I guess in the eyes of the gubment, swinging a pole and slamming on the brakes to hit a cyclist is the same as going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. Makes sense...

andwilkes
andwilkes

The Six Urban Legends of Cycling Held by Motorists


1) "What are cyclists doing on the road anyway?"

• State statutes define bicycles as vehicles


2) "Well, if they want to ride on the road, they should be licensed and pay road taxes like motorists do!"

• Most cyclists do have drivers licenses, this also assume all cyclists do not drive licensed vehicles when they aren’t cycling

• Testing and licensing of heavy/fast vehicle operators is done for public safety not to pay for roads

• Local roads are paid for with sales or property taxes, which all citizens pay as cyclists are citizens

• Bicycles cause very little wear and tear for maintenance on roadways when compared to 2,000lb+ vehicles

• Fuel taxes pay for limited access highways where bicycles are prohibited


3) "They are so slow — why don’t they move over?"

• Statutes do not require cyclists to move over in MOST cases

• Safety and Visibility reasons why a cyclist should not move over

• First Come First Served of the Road: Share-the-Road Philosophy (be patient and wait your turn)

• The onus is on the PASSING vehicle to pass safely


4) "They should ride on the sidewalks!"

• Safety issues with riding on sidewalks (pedestrians, driveways, intersections)

• Local City Ordinances against riding on sidewalks


5) "They should use the Bike Lane!"

• Cyclists are only required to ride as far to the right as is safe to do so

• Statutes do not require the use of bike lanes

• Shoulder riding is allowed but not required for bicyclist operators

• Safety issues with bike lanes (debris, car doors, intersections)

• Not all space to the right of a white line is a bike lane (legal definition of shoulder vs bike lane)


6) "Why do cyclists ignore traffic laws?"

• Motorists most certainly do not follow the laws 100% of the time (speeding, distracted driving, DUI)

• Traffic laws and infrastructure were not made with multiple road users in mind

• Running red lights (not all cyclists do and motorists are guilty of speeding through yellow lights)

• Riding the wrong way on a road (not all cyclists do… most do so out of fear of motorists)

• No lights or reflectors at night (not all cyclists do… some cannot afford proper equipment)


Source: http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2009/01/22/urban-legends-of-cycling-motorist-pamphlet/


Gavin McNutt
Gavin McNutt

This guy comes into Best Buy all the time asking about Apple TV... Wowza

Justin Wagner
Justin Wagner

In what reality is trying to hit someone with a pipe acceptable?

Alan Barker
Alan Barker

Has he considered a career of being a mayor? Sunset Hills will have an opening soon

Brad Galaske
Brad Galaske

Looks like Bam Magera's uncle finally lost some weight

David Goldstick
David Goldstick

From the looks of this guy, he could use a bike ride or two.

Jimmy Eden
Jimmy Eden

Haha never fails to be a fucking cowardly troll with no profile pic of themselves shit talking cyclists on the RFT fb page. Here's to your last sip of fossil fuel, fuckwits

Patrick Shaw
Patrick Shaw

So what's going on with the Mayor of Sunset Hills?

Kindra Jefferson
Kindra Jefferson

His punishment should be them making him ride a bicycle for a year!

heppy
heppy

also i hate to be the one to do this, but in light of recent events i feel like i should prod this question:


did anyone else notice that jerry vinson is a white guy? and the fact that he's only been charged with "reckless driving?" a week after a black kid was shot to death for ?, we have a white guy who is charged with a misdemeanor for directly attempting to cause injury to fellow civilians with a (deadly?) weapon.


i'm not making any direct accusations, that's just some food for thought. i do think it's criminal to charge him for "reckless driving" when his actions clearly show the intent to cause injury to another human being.


p.s. have you guys considered a civil suit? the justice system does what it does, and even if he is found innocent on all charges brought by the state that doesn't mean you can't hold him responsible in a civil court for damages to your bike, medical expenses, etc. you want to send a message? that'll send a message.

BobbiDeGarmo
BobbiDeGarmo

@RiverfrontTimes Interesting. What's the status of the Sunset Hills incident? I've not seen any follow-up on that one...

bikes_and_cars
bikes_and_cars

It will be interesting to see what sentence he actually receives. If he gets a year in jail, I think that sends a good message for people not to do these things. If he gets only probation or community service, well then.. that seems a little weak.

heppy
heppy

now, this is just me, but when i think of "reckless driving" i think of driving while texting. when i hear "intentionally swerving at people on bikes", that makes me think of vehicular assault, assault, assault w/ weapon, etc...


Cygnussid42
Cygnussid42

@kymnonstop - Sorry for confusion. I was responding to your tweet, not the bike thing. Both scary. Only 1 psycho in that story though.

Cygnussid42
Cygnussid42

@kymnonstop - There are many more too! Fear is what they use to keep us quiet though. I'm more afraid of Asher's 2morrow than anything 2day.

DiddySG
DiddySG

@JamesLewallen1 Hey! That's you! Sorry this happened to you :( Makes no sense to me. Keep on rollin'

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