A Dane County Circuit Court judge has dismissed felony charges issued against a Madison-area man accused of knocking two bicyclists off the road in a confrontation on Fitchburg Road in August.
John Dohm Jr., 61, remains under conditions of his bond while prosecutors in the Dane County District Attorney’s office decide whether to re-issue the charges.
In court Wednesday, Judge William C. Foust found the prosecution failed to provide enough evidence to support the case against Dohm, who was accused of recklessly endangering the safety of Joseph Maloney and Maxwell Ackermann. Both suffered head injuries in the crash.
Maloney and Ackerman told police that Dohm swerved into them as they pedaled south on Fitchburg Road on Aug. 26. According to their account, Dohm first honked at the cyclists as he approached from behind. He then passed, but stopped his car and tried to confront them. After they went by him, Dohm allegedly returned to his car and knocked both men into the ditch with his Jaguar.
Dohm contended that Maloney and Ackermann swerved into his car and caused the collision that sent them off the road.
His attorney produced a diagram showing that Dohm swerved to avoid the bicyclists, and the prosecutors failed to introduce evidence to refute that evidence. Neither Maloney nor Ackermann testified during the preliminary hearing.
While the felony charges were dismissed, the marks on Dohm’s car show that he and at least one of the cyclists collided. He clearly failed to provide three feet of distance between the car and the bicyclists while passing, as required by state law.
In addition, Dohm told police that he honked his car horn at the bicyclists to direct them to yield. Given the clear sight lines on the road and the lack of traffic, it does not appear that Maloney and Ackermann were impeding him, and that he had ample opportunity to pass them safely.
The rules of the road and state law are spelled out here, on the Wisconsin Bike Fed Share & Be Aware page.
We are checking with the Dane County District Attorney’s Office for word on their next action in the case.