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Arrested driver complained bicyclists 'don't belong' in Lyons

The Daily Camera: Driver arrested in cyclist's death had complained bicyclists 'don't belong' in Lyons

Patrick Ward, 69, due to be charged Thursday in fatal weekend accident

By Charlie Brennan, Camera Staff Writer
Posted: 05/15/2013

Patrick Ward, the driver facing vehicular homicide and DUI charges in connection with the death Saturday in Lyons of Boulder cyclist Michel Van Duym, has made strong statements at town meetings against cyclists and the problems he believes they create in that town.

According to an account published in the Lyons Recorder in March 2010, Ward made a series of statements before a meeting of the Lyons Planning and Community Development Commission expressing his thoughts about proposals to promote and enhance the use of bicycles in Lyons.

The newspaper's account of that meeting stated that Ward cited numerous instances of "gangs" of cyclists disobeying signage and traffic lights, and impeding traffic flow, and asked why it was that Boulder County sheriff's deputies didn't issue tickets to them for doing so.

And, according to the Lyons Recorder, Ward said, "These people don't belong in Lyons. They certainly don't belong in the foothills around Lyons."

Lyons Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen confirmed Wednesday that the Patrick Ward who made those statements in 2010 is the same man scheduled to appear for formal filing of charges Thursday in Boulder County Court.

"Yes, it is," said Simonsen. "He lives directly across from Town Hall where we work, and he does attend meetings of our Board of Trustees occasionally."

She chose to say little about Ward's arrest in the context of his previous remarks, saying, "I probably should not comment on my opinion of what has happened. I would rather leave that to the minutes, to reflect what has happened at meetings."

Other meetings

Simonsen did, however, say that Ward had spoken about his feelings concerning cyclists' activity in the Lyons area at more than one public meeting.

Minutes of a March 1, 2010, session before the Lyons Board of Trustees also reflect Ward's concerns relating to cyclists.

According to minutes of that meeting, "Mr. Ward stated his concerns about the bicycle network in Lyons and asked Sgt. (Kevin) Parker if there were going to be any new regulations due to the increased traffic in town."

The minutes went on to state, "Sgt. Parker stated he understands there has been conflicts between cyclist (sic) and motorists and that the Sheriff's Dept. is currently working with clubs in Boulder County to address issues on both sides. Sgt. Parker stated that the reality is that they are a fact of life and the state law gives them some rights but the motorists have rights also."

Larry Mertes, the lawyer representing Ward, said Wednesday that Ward's prior remarks about cyclists represented "new information," but added, "It has nothing to do with the tragic accident that is still being investigated by law enforcement and by my office."

Mertes added, "There is absolutely no evidence of intentional conduct. There is not intent, on his part. This was a tragic accident."

Driving the wrong way

Van Duym, 46, was riding his bike on Main Street in Lyons when he was struck and killed by an SUV on Saturday afternoon. Sheriff's deputies identified Ward, 69, as the driver of the SUV, and arrested him on suspicion of vehicular homicide, careless driving resulting in death and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Following Ward's arrest, the sheriff's office said it appeared that Ward was driving the wrong way when the accident occurred, heading westbound in the eastbound lane of Main Street. His vehicle may also have been in the process of turning, at the time.

Ward had a previous DUI arrest in 1975, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records.

He is being held at the Boulder County Jail on $25,000 bond.

For the past four years, Van Duym had worked as a sales representative at GHX, a Louisville-based health care supply chain management firm.

Mertes said, "On behalf of my client and his family, they are very concerned about the victim's family and how they are doing and their loss. That is of primary importance to them."