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Injured HLP Cyclist: 'I'm Grateful to Be Alive'

Local cyclist said she is healing and waiting for LAPD to arrest the suspect who ran her down.

More than one week after being struck by a motorist near the intersection of Avenue 50 and Buchanan Street, Highland Park cyclist Winona Wacker said she is still waiting for the Los Angeles Police Department to arrest the suspect she alleges intentionally ran her down.

"I have talked to LAPD a couple times, it is still currently in the investigation phase of the process," Wacker said. "I was informed that I can expect to hear from the detective soon, most likely today [Tuesday, June 7]. I have been kind of quiet so as to let the police do their job."

Wacker told Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch that the motorist who ran her down is not only still on the loose in the neighborhood, but is also apparently making no effort to hide his alleged actions.

"I was at last week, and the guy drove past me with the streak from my handlebars still along the passenger side of his vehicle," she said.  "My personal opinion is that it shows his arrogance and belief that he did nothing wrong."

According to Wacker, the incident took place on Friday, May 28. She said she was riding her bicycle near the intersection of Avenue 50 and Buchanan Street when the driver of a white convertible Volvo C70 began honking and yelling at her to get out of the road.

When Wacker did not comply with the driver's demands and instead told him she was entitled by the city's vehicle code to use the whole lane to protect her safety, he became enraged and began threatening her.

“He laid on his horn, then yelled back at me,  ‘You wanna test your weight against mine?’” Wacker said.  “ [He] continued blowing his horn, hit the gas and then sped up to run me down.”

Thanks to a Good Samaritan, Wacker said she was able to get the white convertible's license plate number, MOLSPRT. She said the motorist looked to be a white male in his mid-50s. 

Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch has left several calls with LAPD's Central Traffic Division, which is handling the case, but has yet to recieve an official response.

Wacker said that she's hopeful an arrest will be made soon, for her own sake and for the safety of local cyclists.

"This whole thing has been a nightmare," she said. "I'm grateful to be alive."

Alberto June 08, 2011 at 05:24 PM
Wait. The follow up to this says WW has to id the guy in a line-up. Why is that necessary if the license plate is known and there is evidence On The Car? Unless the guy reported his car stolen before the event or can point to a specific person who had used his car that day, at that time, isn't just liable on the evidence alone? You have: The car and license plate (a vanity plate at that) A 2nd sighting by WW confirming he lives or works in the vicinity and hold on - you have the license plate number - can't he just be picked up? ...I guess the car could be registered to a former address. Well, I guess they did pick him up though. It just seems it should be easy to take her bike, stand it up next to the car, see how the damage to both vehicles aligns, and, when they do, check to see whether he's bold enough to deny it.
Patrick Lee June 08, 2011 at 05:55 PM
Hi Alberto: I have no specific information on this case or criminal investigative techniques, but I expect the police want to gather as much evidence as possible before presenting their case to prosecutors. A positive lineup ID would be one more piece.
Mike June 08, 2011 at 07:02 PM
I have very little confidence in the LAPD. Unless there is bloodshed, they don't seem to give it much attention. On the other hand, as a cyclist, I would not suggest standing on legal principle when a car is involved. "I have a right to the whole lane" is a moot point if you are a stain on the pavement...
Aaron June 08, 2011 at 07:24 PM
A common defense in hit and runs is to claim "it wasn't me driving that day." A positive ID puts that to rest. You can still get a conviction without it, but it makes it much more simple.
Alberto June 09, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Yes, of course. A line up seals the deal; I understand. However, if he was going to use "I wasn't driving that day" or "that time of day" then I figure he'd have to be able to support a story that suggests another older white guy stole his car for just a bit to go joy riding or he'd have to actually give up a friend he loaned the car to for the moment. In any case, I understand that Patch isn't able to provide All the details of the case so there's a lot more to it. Interesting, there are no other comments on the follow up story about the actual arrest; story fatigue already? I guess we all just wanna know what happens next.
bobo June 09, 2011 at 04:03 PM
People suck. Everytime I ride my bike I almost get hit so I have to be extra careful, don't expect drivers to look out for you. Even though we live where there are a lot of pedestrians people don't care, they drive through stop signs and crosswalks, even the big blinking lit up ones! Maybe we need to put signs in spanish. So look out for yourselves, don't ride on the wrong side of the road, don't ride next to your friend and hog the lane, and if someone is yelling at you just move over, why make them mad? Let them go by. Even if it is your right, bike vs. car......you will lose. I was just rear ended in my car, people don't realize a car is big and heavy, its pretty scary that a little yellow line is all that seperates you from 5000 pounds! How much does a bike weigh.......
Pat Griffith June 09, 2011 at 09:51 PM
Vehicle Registration information is public and can be obtained for a permissible use (such as crime) by filling out the form at: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/forms/inf/inf70.pdf and mailing it with $5. The Owner's address is not public, but owner name and date of purchase are. Of course, the police should have online access with all the information they need, based on the license plate, so all this should be moot, and we would assume they have had this information for a couple of weeks now.
sMiLeZ =) August 25, 2011 at 03:40 PM
What are you implying by stating that the signs should be in Spanish? Wasn’t the man who hit her white? However I do agree with you, don’t hog the lane, I have no problem with cyclist but they already changed the roads (York Blvd) to be one way each way for these bike lanes which already causes traffic, you have a designated area for your safety yet some people choose to take up the whole lane. I think it goes both ways, you look out for me and I'll look out for you. Once everyone starts to look out for each other then these problems wouldn’t exist, unfortunately that is not the case. =( I'm just glad she wasn't hurt more then she was.

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