Driver says he was provoked, but overreacted in Critical Mass incident
The driver of a car that police say was attacked by a group of cyclists Friday on Capitol Hill says he wants to move past the incident.
Seattle Times staff reporter
First the driver was confused and frustrated, then angry at being held up by a massive group of cyclists Friday night on Capitol Hill. But he said rage quickly turned to fear and panic as he was surrounded by the cyclists, who battered his car, smashed his windows and tore a mirror from the driver's side of his 1998 white Subaru Impreza.
He stopped his vehicle when he heard he'd hurt somebody — but was then hurt himself when someone clubbed him over the head with a bike lock. Doctors stapled the wound shut.
"I didn't start the incident — they provoked it," said Mark, the 23-year-old driver at the center of Friday's melee with participants in the monthly Critical Mass ride that's aimed at raising awareness about cyclists' road rights.
"I freaked out and overreacted — I should've turned my car off and waited for them to leave," Mark, who asked that his last name not be published, said in a phone interview today.
Mark, who grew up in South King County and now lives on the Eastside, said he thought he'd accidentally driven into the Seafair parade route when he encountered hundreds of cyclists Friday on Capitol Hill. He pulled over to let them pass but was blocked by a group of cyclists when he tried to pull back into traffic.
How events unfolded depends on whom you talk to — the cyclists say Mark was the aggressor and say he hit two cyclists with his car and tried to speed away from the scene before his tires were slashed. But Mark said he revved his engine, not knowing his car was in gear, and accidentally hit two cyclists. Feeling threatened and cornered, he said, he just wanted to get away but stopped when he heard someone yell that one of the cyclists had been injured.
Police estimate that Critical Mass participants caused roughly $1,500 in damage to Mark's car. According to Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson, Mark is considered a victim. Two men were arrested on suspicion of malicious mischief but were released from the King County Jail after each of them posted a $1,000 bond on Saturday, jail records show.
Seattle police were still trying to contact the man suspected of assaulting Mark with the bike lock, the spokesman said.
"I was attacked by an aggressive group of people," Mark said.
Still, he's sorry things happened the way they did: "I want to apologize to the people I hit and would like to move on from this, if possible."
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case
NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.