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Driver who allegedly ran down bicyclists in San Francisco...

The San Francisco Examiner: Driver who allegedly ran down bicyclists in San Francisco will enter insanity plea

By: Ari Burack | Examiner Staff Writer | 08/03/11 

Hours before the driver of an SUV apparently gunned his engine and drove into oncoming traffic to mow down four bicyclists, the man was ejected from the airport for “acting crazy,” his attorney said Tuesday.

David Mark Clark, 40, of Albany was arrested after the June 2, 2010, nighttime attacks in the Mission and Potrero Hill, in which four male bicyclists were struck and three seriously injured. Clark’s blue Nissan Rogue was found at the scene of the last attack, where it crashed into a car and hit a pole. The driver fled, leaving his wallet, keys and phone.

Two days later, Clark told Albany police he had been carjacked near Golden Gate Park by two men who forced him to drive around The City. He later recanted and was arrested. Video of his statement was played at a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Police said witnesses saw the SUV speed through a stop sign and red light before two of the attacks. One described Clark as “pursuing” one of the bicyclists; others saw him accelerate and swerve toward victims.

“The evidence is overwhelming that these acts were done intentionally and with intent to kill,” prosecutor Todd Barrett said.

Judge Suzanne Bolanos ruled there was sufficient evidence for Clark to stand trial on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Following the hearing, Clark’s attorney, Brendan Conroy, said his client will plead not guilty by reason of insanity. Conroy has said the tennis instructor has a history of mental illness.

In Clark’s videotaped statement to police, he wept repeatedly, even when officers were out of the room. After repeatedly insisting that “they’re following me,” he eventually said, “I feel like I’m in a hallucinatory state right now,” and asked for a doctor.

“I’m hearing voices in my head telling me things,” Clark said. “I don’t know what happened.” Minutes later, he told police, “I was in a terrible accident.”

“This case is a mental health case,” Conroy said. His client is scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court on Aug. 16 and remains in custody.