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Driver who hit Minneapolis cyclist is sought

The Star Tribune: Driver who hit Minneapolis cyclist is sought

Minneapolis police are treating the case as an assault and are looking for the driver of a silver or gray Volvo wagon.

By JIM FOTI, Star Tribune
Last update: October 2, 2009 - 10:32 PM

Bill McAuliffe, Star Tribune

Nate White bicycled all the way to Oregon last summer, but his ride home Thursday in northeast Minneapolis proved much more painful.

White says he was pedaling along NE. 5th Street about 4 p.m. when an enraged motorist slammed on his brakes and opened a car door directly in White’s path.

The Minneapolis Police Department is treating the case as an assault and is looking for the driver, a man who was at the wheel of a silver or gray Volvo station wagon.

The wagon had turned onto 5th Street in front of the bicycle, White said, forcing him to swerve out and end up on the car’s left side. White says he tapped on the window to let the driver know he was there, and the driver "lost it instantly."

With White alongside, the driver moved left into the oncoming traffic lane toward the curb, then opened the car door and hit the brakes, White said. White crashed into the door, suffering two or three chipped teeth and a cut on his chin that required three stitches. The driver sped off.

On the trip to Oregon, White had only a minor spill that left his arm sore for a few days, and on Thursday, he had worked a five-hour delivery shift on his bicycle without incident.

On Friday, with a sore knee and elbow, it took him twice as long to bike to class at Augsburg College, he said.

White, a senior studying studio art, was one of four Augsburg students and graduates who took a 32-day, 2,200-mile bike ride to Portland to learn ways to make Minneapolis more bicycle-friendly.

Anyone with information about White’s crash can call the Minneapolis police at 612-692-TIPS (8477).