Prescott road-rager found guilty

In an incident where a car driver was driving waaaay too close to cyclist Paul Katan. Katan is a certified cycling instructor and works for Prescott Alternative Transportation.

[dailyCourier]

“…a jury convicted the Jaguar driver, Jack Ingebritson, 64, of misdemeanor (criminal) charges of endangerment and reckless driving. On Tuesday, Prescott City Magistrate Arthur Markham fined Ingebritson $1,500, ordered him to perform 32 hours of community service and go to traffic survival school.”

Inquiring minds wonder: how is it that the trial was in some unspecified June date, and the story just made it to the newspaper on July 14,2010? I tried to look up the court records for the rager, but didn’t find anything (Prescott muni, and justice are not online there).

There was a follow up editoral a few days after the news story.

Did the punishment fit the crime? Were the charges appropriate?

The convicted rager “… admitted that he was five to six inches from the bike, according to the police report.” While Ingebritson was clearly guilty of endangerment, and reckless driving, it seems to me that his actions were an assault; he intentionally placed his weapon a few inches from the victim.

Here is a roundup of Arizona’s assault and endangerment statutes.

The news article refers to “endangerment”; if they are referring to §13-1201. a violation of which is a class 1 misdemeanor, I have to wonder about the magistrate’s judgment — a small fine and a few hours of community service for such a (potentially) dangerous crime?

I’m thinking/wondering if a more appropriate charge would have been assault, and potentially aggravated assault.  “Generally, the essential elements of assault consist of an act intended to cause an apprehension of harmful or offensive contact that causes apprehension of such contact in the victim” [legal-dictionary]. Note that the act does NOT need to result in any actual contact, or any actual physical harm, just creating the apprehension is enough. The guilty man intended to drive very close to the cyclist, it was not accidental.

On the other hand, violation of §13-1203(A)1 is also a class 1 misdemeanor (the same as endangerment, seems a little odd?). To be guilty of aggravated assault, §13-1204, a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument would have had to been used in committing the assault. Personally, I find that multi-ton, multi hundreds of horsepower automobiles can be dangerous instruments. Anyway, aggravated would bump up the crime to some level of felony.

The other charge which the defendant was found guilty of was reckless driving. That would be 28-693, and is a class  2 misdemeanor. Nothing was mentioned regarding the driver’s license of the culprit. Which leads me to believe the magistrate was letting him off too easy.  “In addition, the judge may require the surrender … of any driver license of the convicted person…  and may order the driving privileges of the person to be suspended for a period of not more than ninety days”. Why no revocation, or suspension?

3 thoughts on “Prescott road-rager found guilty”

  1. From the article:

    Although some drivers do not realize it, bicycles are permitted to take up a lane when the road is two lanes and no bike lane exists, he said.
    28-815
    Really? Is this true? I ride in Tucson, and I thought I knew my A.R.S. pretty well. If so, then this will make my occasional run down Country Club a lot more relaxed.

    — Ben, it was worded kindof funny; it’s really simpler than that, please see 28-815(4). Cyclists MUST right to the right EXCEPT when the lane is not wide enough to share side by side… The number of lanes doesn’t really have anything to do with it, except to be aware of 28-704C; and please note that “two-lane highway” means a total of two lanes, i.e. one in each direction.

  2. If I swing my fist and stop six inches from your nose, that’s pretty clearly an assault. And the degree of injury possible, had I made contact, is nowhere near the degree of injury possible if a two-ton auto traveling at 30 mph makes casual contact with a cyclist.

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