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Alleged Angeles Crest Road Rage Incident Involves Cyclists

A man allegedly swerved toward cyclists and yelled at them on the Angeles Crest Highway.

Fire, death and now, road rage?

Police have arrested a man on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon while driving on the Angeles Crest Highway. The weapon: his car.

At 9:45 a.m. June 18 while deputies were responding to a separate call, they were flagged down by a group of cyclists riding along the Angeles Crest Highway. The cyclists alleged that a driver in a Nissan Xterra had driven next to them while they were cycling, slowed down and yelled curses at them, according to a report filed with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Crescenta Valley Station. They said that the driver also swerved toward them while they were riding on the shoulder of the road.

Then, deputies encountered two more cyclists who alleged that a Nissan Xterra swerved toward them, and that an angry driver was behind the wheel. The cyclists told police that they thought the driver wanted to hit them with his car, according to the report.

A witness alleged that he had seen the same driver move his car dangerously close to cyclists while yelling at them.

The suspicious driver was Earl Clyde Cox, a 48-year-old La Crescenta resident. Deputies found his car parked near the entrance to the Charlton Picnic Area off the Angeles Crest.

When deputies questioned Cox, he said that he was driving to work when he approached a pair of cyclists who he believed were in his lane and not being considerate of drivers. Cox said that he drove close to the right shoulder and yelled at them, and then encountered two more cyclists and attempted to confront them about their cycling manners, according to the report.

Cox told deputies he stopped his car directly in front of the cyclists.

According to the report, deputies said that Cox displayed “road rage” and had complete disregard for the safety of the cyclists. The deputies said that Cox showed no remorse for his actions.

Police said based on the dangers of the Angeles Crest Highway - three motorcyclists have died in the last few weeks - and the potential for Cox’s actions to have caused a traffic hazard, they arrested him. Cox was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and booked at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station.

Additional reporting for this article was provided by Lynda Rivers.

Brian June 27, 2011 at 08:02 PM
I wouldn't classify this as an 'assault with a deadly weapon'. Parking a car in front of a group of cyclists to confront them about possible unsafe riding habits / conditions is not an 'assault'. Swearing at stubborn bicyclists while driving a car is not a crime either. Bicycling on Angeles Crest Hwy is a VERY DANGEROUS undertaking, and those that attempt a trek up that road are really taking a big chance with their lives. The two-lane road is narrow and bicyclists of the sort that ride up that road often tend to drift into the lanes / space cars use. We used to drive up to Mt. Wilson in our cars with our bikes and then ride down the crest. So I have first-hand experience on the STUPIDITY of such actions. This all seems like a waste of deputies time, DA's time and courtroom / judges time. This fellow Cox should carry a video camera if he's going to act as a traffic officer. On the flip side, Cox might have talked a bit of sense into these cyclists in between the profanity. Time will tell.
Amado Ulloa June 28, 2011 at 02:46 PM
Congrats on being a completely ignorant of the laws, Brian. Get of your bike and back on your couch.
Amado Ulloa June 28, 2011 at 02:56 PM
In the hundreds of times I have ridden up the Crest, I have only encountered 1 irate driver. Motorcyclists are generally the most dangerous on the Crest.
tonya June 28, 2011 at 06:04 PM
Driving too close to cyclists is actually "assault with a deadly weapon". A bicycle is a vehicle and as such, per the letter of the law, is to be operated in the lane. Not on the shoulder, never to the right of the white line. Fortunately, most cyclists know the law, and follow the law.
Brian June 29, 2011 at 12:07 AM
Tonya, I respectfully disagree with you. It's really NOT safe for a bicyclist on Angeles Crest Hwy to be in the same lane as a car or truck on the two-lane curvy mountain road - although legal. Take it from me, I used to ride down the crest with friends in the 80's - it's a stupid gamble - the road is too busy. The law as framed allows for bicycles to share the road on Angeles Crest Hwy,but that doesn't make it SAFE for the driver of a car OR SAFE for the bicyclist. For instance the driver of a car might have to swerve partially into the opposite lane to avoid hitting a bike sharing same lane as the car approaches the bike from behind on a blind curve - what would then happen if a car was heading in opposite direction at that exact moment? So that is my concern with riding bikes on ACH. (I mountian bike all the time and expect cars to give enough room but on the Crest, that might not happen as planned.) And, if the driver Earl Cox attempted to swerve to hit the bikes, as alleged, then a citation for reckless driving (3 Points on DMV record) would be the appropriate penalty, not 'assault with a deadly weapon', which is far fetched and could be tossed in court on technicality. An 'Assault' would be if Cox bumped into, or hit one of the bikes or riders with his car. But that did not seem to be the case.
cycling about June 30, 2011 at 11:11 PM
brian, i was there and witnessed the assault. an attorney was one of the victims and is certain that the actions fall within the definition of assault. it is LEGAL for bicyclists to ride on ACH. by enforcing the existing laws, we (cyclists) are asking the CHP to help make bicycling on ACH safer. bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles and are due the same opportunity to use the road safely. at least 15 cyclists witnessed first hand at least three separate episodes of assault that morning. i know this will be prosecuted and i hope mr. cox will be convicted, if for no other reason than to deter others from driving dangerously toward cyclists.
Richard August 06, 2011 at 12:14 AM
Q: Should a licensed driver swerve his/her vehicle towards a person on the public ACH if they're in your way? a) yes if they're on a bike/ skateboard/moped. b) yes if they appear homeless. c) no because that's my cousin's girlfriends stepdad. d) no, a moving vehicle can be a deadly weapon that can seriously hurt or even kill a person. I'm sure if someone swerves their dodge durango towards Brian's daughter on a 18lb cannondale it would shed some light on the situation.

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