Update: Jamis-Hagens Berman cycling team assaulted by Tucson driver
Ben Jacques-Maynes at the Tour of California. Photo by Richard Masoner / http://www.cyclelicio.us/ licensed under Creative Commons.
Update: See the photo of Rodney Kinkade Jr. below.
Editor’s note: Check out Tyler Wren’s first-person account.
One cyclist with the Jamis-Hagnes Berman cycling team was sent to the hospital and several others were injured during an assault by a Tucson motorist on Friday morning around 11 a.m., according to a team rider.
The professional cycling team, which is in Tucson for a training camp, was on a training ride on Valencia Road between Old Vail Road and Nexus Road when they said a man in an Oldsmobile Aurora began harassing the cyclists.
Team rider Ben Jacques-Maynes said the driver shouted expletives and told them to get off the road.
“All of a sudden this guy comes by screaming obscenities,” Jacques-Maynes said. “He was really close and then just continued to merge into the shoulder where we were. The guys in front of me were able to make a quick maneuver and avoid him. The guys on the front really had no chance and they got plowed into.”
Tyler Wren and Todd Herriot, the team’s bicycle fitter and a coach to several of the riders, were the two cyclists that took the brunt of the crash. They suffered minor injuries and have both been cleared by doctors.
“Those guys went down and then it was panic — avoiding guys, running over bikes and trying not to hit their teammates,” Jacques-Maynes said.
Jacques-Maynes said the driver didn’t stick around.
“The driver took off and never even hit the brakes, he just went back into his lane and kept on going like nothing happened,” he said.
A few seconds later they realized they didn’t get the license plate number.
“[The car] was too far to make it out, but I saw a sign that said there was a stop sign coming up,” he said. “I couldn’t see the stop sign but I was just hoping that he would be forced to stop at the stop sign and I might be able to get close enough to get the plate. I got within sight to see him make a right turn at the intersection.”
The car with the team director and photographer were in the area and Jacques-Maynes flagged them down.
“I told them through my panting as quickly as possible what happened, ‘The guys were hit, the car just turned the corner there. Go get him.’ They took after him. They just started shooting photos of every car in sight. I talked to them on the phone and told them the make and model and a description of it and they said they got a picture of it.”
The Tucson Police have not yet responded to an email requesting additional information about the incident, but Jacques-Maynes said the police tracked down the alleged driver pretty quickly.
According to the Tucson Police Department’s crime map, an assault took place in the 8100 Block of Valencia Road at 10:50 a.m. and was classified as an assault with a deadly weapon.
A Pima County Court record search identifies the driver as Rodney Owen Kinkade Jr., 57. The court record lists it as an assault occurring on Friday and matches the crime map case number.
Jacques-Maynes said the driver lived in the neighborhood and admitted to shouting at the team, but denied hitting them.
Jacques-Maynes said he was told that the driver went to a car wash in the area right after the crash and said the driver was detained by the police.
At the time of the incident, he said the team was riding two abreast and were riding on the shoulder and not in the travel lane.
He said they do not make the decision to take the lane lightly and had to do so earlier on the ride traveling south on Kolb, but were riding in a tight formation on the shoulder of Old Vail Road when the motorist struck them.
Overall he was very impressed with the response by the police and appreciated their professionalism. They spent four and half hours on the side of the road while the police took statements from each of them.
Jacques-Maynes said he wouldn’t be hesitant to come back to another training camp in Tucson, but also said they had dealt with a lot of angry people during their time here.
“People seemed pretty willing to lay on their horns,” he said. “I don’t think this is exclusive to Tucson or even America. Unfortunately it is a larger problem than anything confined to one region or locale.”