I sometimes check out other bike blogs, and I came across this story on one called “A Girl and Her Bike.” The subtitle is, “Adventures in biking in DC.” For the benefit of overseas readers, that is Washington DC, the Nation’s Capitol.
This particular girl, I know only as K.C. was riding her bike home one evening last February. She was stopped at a red light waiting to make a left turn, and was first in line in the left turn lane.
A car pulled up behind her at a high rate of speed and stopped very close, the driver was acting aggressively towards her, but she decided to ignore it because after all the light was red and he could go nowhere.
Then she felt a bump against her rear wheel, nothing too hard, but the people in the car were laughing hysterically; apparently they thought it was a huge joke to harass a girl on a bike. Again K.C. ignored it, but when the light turned green and she started to pull away, she felt an even harder bump.
This is when our girl on a bike decided enough was enough. I should mention at this point that K.C. is a police officer, and although off duty at the time, she pulled her badge from her bag and ordered the driver to stop.
She heard the driver exclaim, “Oh Shit,” and he took off at a high rate of speed with tires squealing. K.C. decided to give chase and was catching up when the car was stopped at the next light. She noticed the reverse lights come on as the car started to reverse towards her. She surmised the driver was looking for an escape route down an alley.
However, the car was held up by more traffic and K.C. again caught up, showed her badge, ordering the driver to stop. Once more the driver sped off, this time narrowly missing the female officer. By now she had a license plate number and a description of the car. She had her radio out of her bag and was calling for back up.
Back up came within minutes, and checked that K.C. was okay; a short while after she heard the car had been stopped by another police cruiser. She made her way to the scene of the arrest and was able to identify the driver.
The car smelled strongly of marijuana, which would explain the driver’s hurry to get away. No evidence of drugs, apart from the smell was found in the car; obviously dumped before it was pulled over.
The driver was charged at the scene with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (his vehicle), Assault on a Police Officer, Fleeing and Eluding, and Reckless Driving. His vehicle was impounded.
K.C. was surprised to learn the next day that the United States Attorney's Office had agreed to not only prosecute those charges, but also made it two counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon instead of just one. Furthermore they decided to hold him instead of releasing him. So, he has been hanging out in DC Jail since last February.
About a week ago K.C. was called to the Attorney General’s office to go over her testimony, when she learned that the defendant, while in jail, had called his girl friend asking if she would hide his gun and drugs for him. All calls from jail are monitored and recorded; a search warrant was obtained, and a gun was found.
The driver pled guilty to felony possession of a firearm, felony fleeing and misdemeanor assault on a police officer. K.C. was a little disappointed that the vehicular assault charges were dropped, as she pointed out, you can’t use your car to bully cyclists.
She also had the cold realization that on this particular night all she had to stop this car was a badge, but because she was off duty she had no weapon to back it up. Fortunately the driver didn’t have his weapon either, or the outcome could have been very different.