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July-August 2004 Newsletter

Open Letter to David Stengel

by Earl Jones


An open letter to Jefferson County Commonwealth Attorney David Stengel

Dear Mr. Stengel,

The recent spate of assaults against Louisville cyclists on Metro Louisville roads can only be stopped by effective policing and determined response by prosecutors. In the last three months, a cyclist riding with the Louisville Bicycle Club on Route 148 was struck and run off the road by a motorist. Although the police have issued an arrest warrant in the case, they have so far been unable to locate the assailant.

More recently, two cyclists were injured on Wolf Pen Branch Road when a motorist in an oncoming vehicle threw a textbook at them. Both were hospitalized and will carry the evidence of the assault with them forever. Fortunately, the assailants have been arrested. According to a report in the Courier-Journal, arraignment is set for July 14. Your office must vigorously prosecute this case. The shocking nature of this crime requires nothing less. And only a highly visible response from the criminal justice system can deter future assaults and keep cyclists free from harassment on the public way.

The victims in this case may be more magnanimous in their view of how this matter might be resolved than some of us would be in the same situation. These particular victims, a corporate CEO and a national cycling champion, were targeted by accident. Indeed, the only thing accidental about this incident was the celebrity of the injured cyclists. The cyclists who ride Metro roadways every day wonder what attention this crime would have received and what resources would have been deployed if one of us had been the victim.

Prosecutors must take this case seriously so as to deter future assailants from taking aim at others. I hope that you will assign one of your most experienced prosecutors to the matter. And I hope that you will seek a serious penalty that includes some jail time.

On behalf of the 750 members of the Louisville Bicycle Club, thank you in advance for taking action in this case that will help keep us safe on the roads.

Sincerely,

Earl Jones


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