Breaking News: Louis Mraz Found Guilty in Cyclist Road Rage Incident

Mount Washington resident Louis Mraz was found guilty on Monday of assault with a deadly weapon for side-swiping a cyclist on Avenue 50 in May.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Monday convicted Mount Washington man Louis Mraz on one count of assault with a deadly weapon in relation to an incident in May in which he sideswiped a cyclist near the corner of Avenue 50 and Buchanan Street.

The jury also acquitted Mraz of one count of hit and run.

Update: Mraz was also convicted of violating section 240 of the California Penal Code, which is defined as "an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another."

Winona Wacker, the cyclist who was injured in the Mraz incident, said she still felt overwhelmed by the proceedings of the trial.

"I'm still letting it all settle in," Wacker said.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Mraz was driving behind Wacker on Avenue 50 "in his 2001 Volvo convertible with his top down and began honking his horn and yelling for Wacker to move out of his way."

According to the report, Mraz then "drove violently into the left side of Wacker’s bike causing her to fall and tumble to the pavement.  Mraz then left the area, leaving Wacker with numerous cuts and abrasions."

Mraz was remanded into custody by the Los Angeles Superior Court, where he will await a sentencing date schedule for March 26.

According to the California Penal Code "any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm or by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment."

Mraz, who sits on the board of directors of the Mount Washington Homeowners Alliance, was previously arrested for a road rage incident in 1999.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Mraz was first sentenced to 45 days community service on a Caltrans crews for punching a 72-year-old man in the face following a traffic incident.

The full Times article can be found here.

The article further states that Mraz, who was 51 years old at the time, was placed on three years summary probation and ordered to publicly apologize to the victim in the Mount Washington Newsletter by Judge Ramona G. See.

Matthew March 13, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Can you elaborate on what you mean when you write that this man "was cleared of any intent." The jury clearly found that he intended to hit her. That's required for a PC Section 245 conviction. (See, among a thousand other cases, People v. Colantuono (1994) 7 Cal.4th 206, 214–215.) Do you just mean his intent was not to kill her? That's hardly being "cleared of any intent."
Will Owen March 13, 2012 at 11:52 PM
In almost 30 years he's certainly never lied to me. He had no reason to, was in fact too angry to. His opinion was that not only was the cyclist well away from the curb, but weaving back and forth as well. Everyone who rides in traffic knows that the first order of business is to take up as little space as possible, for his own safety and to avoid provoking the other road users. Tropico, I may by law have the RIGHT to take up a whole lane, but I was taught, and believe, that I have an OBLIGATION to avoid obstructive behavior if I possibly can. I think most of us "old people" understand that.
Matthew March 14, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Sorry to repeat the question above, but you didn't answer it: Are you claiming he didn't intend to hit her? Or that the jury so found?
Marino March 14, 2012 at 12:20 AM
It wasn't her word against his. There was a witness. Plus your own statement is an admittance. He was provoked because she was so slow. Does he hit his wife too when she "provokes" him? Should we run over pedestrians when they don't cross the road fast enough or god forbid jaywalk? He should lose his driver's license for life. Then he'll start experiencing the streets the way non drivers do. For example in Mt Washington many streets don't have sidewalks. There is no place for a pedestrian to to be except in the middle of the street. I bet he'll get honked at a lot while walking in the middle of Mt Washington streets. What is he going to do with his temper then?
Will Owen March 14, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Sorry - what I was referring to was that he was charged with hit and run, and with intent to do bodily harm. He was acquitted of both those things. The "assault with a deadly weapon" then would appear to be a technical charge; if he didn't intend to do harm, why would he bump her with a car? Maybe just to nudge her a bit, but it's a CAR. So apparently the jury was convinced he'd done it on purpose, but not that he meant to hurt her. He has said repeatedly, and I believe, that he did not mean to hit her with the car, and was positive that he didn't. I just wish to heck I'd been along on that ride. Marino, he won't be walking. He just barely can. What he will probably have to do is depend on his wife and his many friends to haul him around, and we will. As for anyone wobbling around in front of me on a bike, I'd probably be honking and yelling too, at least after having tried asking nicely. But the last biker I asked, nicely, why he didn't stop at the stop sign replied digitally … and this is a war that needs to stop.
Matthew March 14, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Sorry to be a lawyer about this, but how many counts was he charged with? This article suggests two - hit and run, and assault with a deadly weapon. Are you saying there was some third charge? Or are you saying that because he got off on the hit and run, the jury didn't find intent? Because they needed to find intent to find assault with a deadly weapon. You don't cop a PC 295 negligently. You don't need to intend the consequence, but you have to intend the act. (In other words, if I knock you over with a baseball bat and you hit your head on a rock and die, I don't need to intend to have killed you, but I do need to have intended to hit you with the bat.) So he intended to hit her with the car and the jury so found. Unless this article is all wrong about the charge and conviction.
Steve March 14, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Will Owen is defending his friend, who has a previous conviction for punching a 72 year old man, according to the LA Times, Deputy City Atty. Lara Drino Schwartz said Mraz and the victim were traveling in opposite directions on one-lane Crane Boulevard when the victim tried to pull his truck to the side of the road to let Mraz pass. The victim said his vehicle stalled, and as he was trying to restart it, Mraz shouted at him to move, then got out of his car and walked up to the truck, Schwartz said. He reached through the driver's side window, removed the victim's glasses and punched him in the nose, then threw the glasses back into the cab and drove off, Schwartz said. This is your friend Will, and your defending his most recent actions, Really now, what does that say about you?
Carl Showalter March 14, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Wow, this Mraz is a real model citizen alright.
Marino March 14, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Here is a nice present to buy your friend Will Owen http://yachtclub.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/flask
Diana March 14, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Read the beginning of the story Matthew: ...one count of assault with a deadly weapon in relation to an incident in May in which he sideswiped a cyclist near the corner of Avenue 50 and Buchanan Street. The jury also acquitted Mraz of one count of hit and run.
Diana March 14, 2012 at 04:37 AM
He was also acquitted of intent to cause bodily harm.
Nimby pimp March 14, 2012 at 05:22 AM
Is Louis a drinker? Maybe we can get pool together to get the old boy some time with a shrink or curandera.
Carl Showalter March 14, 2012 at 06:12 AM
Seems to me your boy has anger management issues. If you claim to be his friend, do him a favor and urge him to see a shrink.
Brandon howlett March 14, 2012 at 01:31 PM
This type of crime happens every single day to a cyclist. I am one. Until you are out on the road with 2 ton cars, you have no idea what it's like to be run off the road by a car. I bike 40 miles to work and back weekly. I bike because it's better for the envierment, it keeps me happy. I have a car. I think this guy should be made an example of and locked up for a long time. Boo louis. I'm your neighbor. It's going to be very hard for me to live next to you.
Josie Roth March 14, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Oh now he's really gonna be mad. He could lose a lot more than a drivers licence.
Hooper Humperdink March 14, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Of course amongst Mr. Mraz's friends he is a "martyr", but in the larger public sphere he has made himself into a symbol of what most in society would like to get away from: entitled old white men driving their cars too damn fast in the city. "Staying out of the way of cars" isn't a lesson, but a vicious blackmail the 20th century has foisted upon us. The cars need to stay out of our way. Since most humans aren't 2+ tons of rolling steel, we need to use better street design and, as in this case, the rule of law to restablish the primacy of the human being in the city. As regards the typical red herring argument about stop signs and red lights: I would take up the same issue with the drivers of cars in 90031, 90065, and 90042 - whom I witness daily violating both red lights, stop signs, cell phone laws, and speed limits. The difference between these folks and bike riders is that car drivers pose a real threat to the safety of others. Here is my personal collection of carnage as witnessed by my camera (when I had one handy): http://www.flickr.com/photos/ubrayj02/sets/72157625375712769/with/5221494794/ I await a similar trail of death, injury, and destruction of others property and well being caused by cyclists as your counter evidence.
ezio giraldo March 14, 2012 at 06:06 PM
forget all this mumbo jumbo. this is highland park..if some one hits me with ton & a half of steel and i survive. i coming after u with a bat...your high priced lawyers wont aquit u of that
Matthew March 14, 2012 at 09:44 PM
I've read the story a dozen times and asked clarifying questions that no one seems to be able to answer: Was "intent to cause bodily harm" a separate offense on which he was acquitted? Was this a third charge, separate and apart from the hit and run and the assault with a deadly weapon? Or are you extrapolating from the acquittal on the hit and run that the jury found he had no intent? Because assault with a deadly weapon definitely requires intent. (as I said above, see, among a thousand other cases, People v. Colantuono (1994) 7 Cal.4th 206, 214–215.) If the jury really found he had no intent to assault the cyclist, they couldn't (and shouldn't) have convicted. In fact, if the jury really found he had no intent to hit her, the conviction should be thrown out by the judge. I'm guessing that didn't happen because the jury did not in fact find that he lacked an intent to hit her. If the story has it right, they just acquitted on the hit and run, which is an entirely different thing than finding he didn't have intent to hit her.
David Fonseca (Editor) March 14, 2012 at 09:46 PM
For Matthew, I'm going to upload a screen shot from the L.A. Superior Court website listing the convictions/acquittals.
Matthew March 14, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Thanks, David! So, this guy did in fact get convicted of a 245 (assault with a deadly weapon) and a 240 (regular assault) and was acquitted on the VC 20001 charge (duty to stop at scene of injury accident). There was no separate crime of "intent to cause bodily harm." So the jury found that he had the intent to hit her, and they found that he had the intent to hit her with a deadly weapon. All this talk about the jury not finding he had intent certainly isn't backed up by the court record.
Kreizee Chuck March 15, 2012 at 03:23 AM
That's not what happened at all. Who are you getting your information from, the addle brained Law enforcement types or the Jerks at the DA's office? A lot of you people seem to have it "in" for old folks (like me) or is it just the men or is it just the white men. I've known Louis for over 50 years. You are dead wrong about the man...
Charlotte Thomas March 15, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Dearest Will, Are you serious with the "Maybe just to nudge her a bit", He hit the handle bars, that would be her steering wheel. If she had reached into his convertible and nudge his steering wheel and he crashed into a tree and died, she too would have been charged with manslaughter or murder. As for the "It's a car", Yes it's a car. A car can kill people when they hit them, espescially when a person is less protected such as a pedestrian or cyclist. The jury convicted him of purposefully hitting her, there is no way as an intelligent person, that he didnt know that when a car hits a bicycle the cyclist will get hurt. I always thought that this was a progressive neighborhood that embraced the enviornmentally friendly, but apparently it also has residents that find that whatever they have going on more valuble than a cyclists safety.
Mike March 16, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Mr Owen, a bike has a legal right to the lane. It is considered a motor vehicle and is not required to get "out of the way" of an impatient vehicle operator. What is the guy going to lose in time? 30 seconds a minute? It's legal to go over a double yellow line to pass a cyclist. Cyclists are not out to get in the way of vehicles. That would be foolish to get in someones way with an anger management problem and commandering a 3,000 pound weapon. The person was not blocking traffic as she was moving, she was 100% legal in what she was doing.
SamAllNew March 16, 2012 at 08:09 PM
You know its funny when all your neighbors are out in the street talking about this story. You know it's hysterically funny when they start planning a block party to celebrate his incarceration.....
Jacek lisiewicz March 20, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Luis has had a history of violent behavior and irrational outbursts. I have experienced them a couple of times in the past. He. Ale me names and threatened to report me to the state licensing agency(architectural) for not willing to agree to his crazy plan to allow his client to xcavate 5' of my property and store the excavated material on my lawn. I ask at first that it be guaranteed to be restored to the original condition and e backed up by a written contract. He went ballistic. I asked him and his client to leave my house. He yelled at me from the street. It spoiled everything. We moved. He had it coming.
Will Owen March 20, 2012 at 04:35 AM
If I drive in such a way as to obstruct traffic, I may be adjudged in violation of the law. That is something I've known since I started occupying the public roads over 60 years ago. It cannot matter whether I obstruct traffic in a car, a horse-drawn vehicle, or on a bicycle. So has someone gone and changed the rules? Nobody told me about it. In the world I grew up in, weaving around on the public road in such a way as to cause an obstruction was not only illegal, it was (more disgracefully) bad manners. Did Mr. Mraz take exception to this? I should hope so. Did he yell at the offender? Probably. Did she insist that she had some "right" to be in the way? Almost certainly, since out area's two-wheeler contingent have become the suffused with a sense of entitlement that leaves the Prius owners gasping for breath. Not only do these Masters of the Universe claim all the rights of a street vehicle, they claim the right to ride on sidewalks, run stop signs, ignore one-way signs and, for all I know, red lights as well. I rode a bicycle from age 8 until well into my fifties. I was taught at the outset to (first) mind my manners, (second) watch out for traffic, and (third) don't annoy the drivers. It offends me very deeply that these commonsense rules seem to have come to be ignored.
krd March 20, 2012 at 12:46 PM
I live in the area. I can agree that often cyclists violate traffic laws in and around HLP, but NO WAY could anyone justify vigilante behavior of charging a cyclist with your big-@$$ volvo because you feel he/she is breaking the law. Come on! What Mraz did was not ok and when you have a prior conviction of road rage, it all looks pretty bad. He should have been smart and learned his lesson the first time. He didn't, so in my opinion this man simply should not be driving. He needs anger management classes.
Susan R March 20, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Krd is right. And, since this accident includes bodily injury it is a 2 point accident. That makes the guy's auto insurance rates double or triple. And, his auto insuance company may even drop him. So, I hope the bicyclist put in a claim with drivers auto insurance company to pay him for the damage to his bike and for his injury. And, make sure to fill out the SR1 Form with the DMV.
Susan R March 20, 2012 at 03:07 PM
http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/forms/sr/sr1.pdf Fill out the SR1 Form with the DMV for an accident that has bodily injury or any accident with property damage over $1,000.
Carl Showalter March 20, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Luckily for me, I was taught at the outset to (first) not slam my car into annoying cyclists, jaywalkers, and things in general that piss me off, and (second) choose my friends wisely. And I haven't even lived 30 years!


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