DA Dismisses Charges Against Sand Springs Man Accused Of Hitting Cyclist
SAND SPRINGS, Oklahoma - A Tulsa cyclist said a man ran him off the road intentionally, and the district attorney is ignoring the evidence. The driver was charged, but the charge was just dropped.
Cyclist, Paul Clayton, said this should be a concern for all bike riders. He said getting hit by a car was terrifying, and the injustice makes it that much worse.
"If they're not going to follow through, it's open season on cyclists up there,” Clayton said.
He said Harold Smith ran him off State Highway 97 in Sand Springs a year ago, and just as Smith's trial for assault with a dangerous weapon began, the district attorney dropped the charge.
"If the D.A. isn't going to follow through whenever people are caught doing things that they shouldn't be doing and endangering cyclists, somebody's going to get killed,” Clayton said.
He used to be one of more than 100 cyclists, riding through the rolling hills of Osage County each Wednesday, but he's put the brakes on his rides since, he said, he heard honking behind him.
"And all of the sudden, he's right here. And not in the other lane passing me. And this is a two-lane road, with no shoulder. He's in my lane and then coming into me,” said Clayton.
His bike hit pavement and he rolled under the car, but only got some road rash.
Clayton said Smith started yelling.
"Didn't like having to follow cyclists that weren't running 50 miles an hour and decided he was going to run me off the road,” he said.
Oklahoma law requires that drivers keep a "safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet."
Tensions between cyclists and drivers were already running high in Sand Springs this time last year. Drivers were accused of putting tacks on the road.
Clayton said he was glad the Osage County District Attorney decided to file the charge, but now is devastated it's dropped.
"I'm very discouraged,” he said. “I thought the law enforcement, with as much evidence and witnesses that we had, would have followed through with it."
We left a message for Osage County District Attorney Rex Duncan, but have not heard back.
Harold Smith's attorney, Rene Henry, said the D.A. reviewed the case, saw the evidence and decided to drop the charge.