HOUSTON – KPRC 2 has learned that a special prosecutor has been named to a case involving a teen driver accused of hitting six cyclists in Waller County.
Warren Diepraam will be handling the case. He is the former first assistant for Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis and is an expert in prosecuting vehicular homicides. Diepraam also handled the high-profile Sandra Bland case.
KPRC 2 reported Sunday that half a dozen cyclists training for the Ironman were struck by a 16-year-old driving a pick-up truck.
“I mean if you look at this case it’s pretty egregious,” Joe Cutrufo, Executive Director of Bike Houston said.
Over the weekend, KPRC 2 spoke to Chase Ferrell who was biking behind the cyclists and says the teen driver kept attempting to “roll coal” them.
“A kid in a black truck attempted to ‘roll coal’ us where they accelerate past blowing diesel exhaust on cyclist,” he said.
In a Facebook post, The District Attorney of Waller County said:
“Rolling coal when a person is in the vicinity and when the individual rolling coal intentionally or knowingly causes that excess exhaust to contact that bystander is AT A MINIMUM an assault. They are causing their vehicle to “spit” on a living, breathing, human being that is worthy of dignity and not having his or her person violated. That simple assault is easily elevated to a jail eligible offense if bodily injury occurs, which can be caused by entry of toxic particles into mouth, nose and eyes.”
Rick DeToto is representing the 16-year-old driver and sent KPRC 2 the following statement:
“The police did an investigation at the scene. This included speaking with eyewitnesses to the accident. After their investigation, they decided not to charge my client and did not even issue him a traffic ticket. Clearly, they determined a crime had not occurred. My client stopped immediately, called 911, attempted to render aid and cooperated with police.”
Bike Houston and the attorneys representing the injured cyclist said there needs to be some sort of consequences.
“We are afraid that if this driver gets away with it then other drivers in Waller County, or anywhere really, will be emboldened to attack, harass and threaten cyclists because they know they can get away with it,” Cutrufo said.
The cyclist suffered injuries to their shoulder, neck and back. Four were hospitalized and two of the cyclist had to be airlifted to nearby hospitals.
Peter Wilborn and Charlie Thomas are jointly representing all six of the bicyclists involved in the crash. They are limited to what information they can release because the investigation is ongoing and the incident is fresh.
The attorney released the following statement regarding the case:
“Led by bicycle crash attorney Charlie Thomas of Huber, Thomas, and Marcelle (Bike Law Texas) and Bike Law National’s founding attorney, Peter Wilborn, of Wilborn Law, and me, our team is dedicated to the pursuit of justice, increased awareness, and accountability. But right now, and for the foreseeable future, our priorities are our clients- the 6 cyclists who were victimized on Saturday morning while on a training ride with their triathlon club in preparation for Ironman Texas- and their best interests; protecting them and allowing them to focus on their recoveries. We hope that anyone who wants to share this horrific story with the public will be as interested at a later, more appropriate date, as they are now. And we hope that knowledge of this incident will change the way that people talk about bike crashes, and the impact they have on their victims’ lives. They are very different from automotive collisions. They are NOT “accidents.” Charlie, Peter, our entire Bike Law community, and I hope that increased awareness and accountability will encourage others to join us and our partnered organizations (like Bike Houston) in our fight to mitigate these kinds of events with legislative, procedural, and policy changes needed to improve safety and calm traffic for all road users, especially those who are most vulnerable.”
Police in Waller said no arrest has been made and the case is still under investigation.