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Driver sentenced for 'road rage' against bicyclist

SeacoastOnline: Driver sentenced for ’road rage’ against bicyclist

By Elizabeth Dinan
edinan@seacoastonline.com
January 26, 2010 2:00 AM

PORTSMOUTH — A Hampton man was given a suspended jail sentence and court-ordered to perform community service for threatening a bicyclist during a road rage incident.

Michael Walker, 21, of 33 Hemlock Haven, pleaded guilty Monday in Portsmouth District Court to misdemeanor counts of criminal threatening and attempt to commit simple assault, as well as a violation-level count of negligent driving.

The pleas were Walker’s admission to steering his car in front of the cyclist June 30, 2009, near 2460 Lafayette Road, then stopping and running toward the cyclist while yelling and swinging his arms "in a threatening manner."

Police said Walker’s behavior caused the cyclist to lose his balance and fall from his bike.

The incident was caught on video at a nearby Walmart, said prosecutor Rena DiLando.

"He was upset that the bicyclist was in the way," DiLando told the court.

Walker pleaded guilty without an attorney, and in exchange for his pleas, DiLando dismissed two counts of disorderly conduct and a charge alleging reckless conduct.

For the pair of Class A misdemeanor convictions, Walker was given a suspended 30-day jail sentence, fined $500 with half suspended, and ordered to perform 25 hours of community service and to remain of good behavior for one year. For the negligent driving conviction, he was fined an additional $250.

Judge Sawako Gardner told Walker the sentences were lenient and that she allowed them because he has no criminal history and took responsibility for his actions.