A judge in Los Angeles today sentenced 60-year-old Christopher Thompson to five years in prison for assaulting two cyclists in a 2008 road rage incident.
Thompson was convicted of mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon and other charges stemming from the run-in with the riders on Mandeville Canyon road in Brentwood.
The former emergency room physician admitted on the scene that he slammed on the brakes in front of the cyclists on purpose in order to "teach them a lesson".
The district attorney was inundated by letters from around the world by cyclists who urged the court to pass down a sentence that would send the message to drivers that they need to share the road with bicyclists.
"It is time that motorists learn that they must share the road with people on bicycles and that the courts will view assaults on cyclists by motorists as seriously as other assaults with deadly weapons," Deputy District Attorney Mary Hanlon Stone wrote in court papers.
Thompson said in court that he and other fellow residents of the narrow dead-end road were upset that cyclists rode side by side and ran stop signs along the road.
He exchanged words with two riders, Ron Peterson and Christian Stoehr, on July 4, 2008 before passing them and suddenly slamming on his brakes. Peterson went into the car's rear window and suffered broken teeth, cuts and had to have his nose reattached. Stoehr also hit the car and crashed.
According to reports, Thompson was in tears during the sentencing, and expressed remorse to Peterson and two other cyclists who had previously been harassed by Thompson on the same road.
The five-year sentence is half the maximum which could have been handed down.
Thompson was given a two-year sentence for assault with a deadly weapon, with an additional three years for bodily harm.