A Dane County business owner accused of injuring two men on bicycles in a road rage incident in August 2015 can be prosecuted on felony charges, according to a State Court of Appeals decision.
The court found retired Dane County Circuit Judge William Foust erred when he dismissed reckless endangerment charges against John Dohm, 62, of Oregon. The decision sends the case back toDane County Circuit Court, where Dohm faces a maximum prison term of 20 years.
The cyclists, Joseph Maloney and Maxwell Ackermann told police that Dohm approached them aggressively from behind, honked his horn repeatedly, stopped his car and attempted to confront them as they biked on Fitchburg Road, south of Madison. After the cyclists passed, Dohm returned to his Jaguar, accelerated and crashed the men off the road.
Dohm offered a different account.
He police that Maloney and Ackermann swerved into his black Jaguar as he passed them heading south on the two-lane road. The collision sent Ackermann and Maloney into the ditch. Both sustained bruises and head injuries.
Police found scuff marks on the passenger side of Dohm’s vehicle, indicating that his car and the bikes collided.
Dohm initially drove away from the incident without any citations or action by police.
Fitchburg officers pursued the investigation, and in follow up interviews, both Ackermann and Maloney repeated their version: that they were riding closely together near the far right edge of the road, when Dohm forced them into the ditch.
Both are elite-level cyclists, with years of training and racing experience.
A witness who had encountered Dohm earlier, reported that he had honked his horn aggressively before passing her and feared he would be a problem for the two riding up the road. The witness did not see the collision between the Jaguar and Maloney and Ackermann.
Dohm told police that he honked his horn repeatedly to direct the bicyclists to yield to him.
State law provides people the right to ride on routes like Fitchburg Road, and cyclists can ride two abreast so long as they are not impeding traffic. The witness, Ackermann and Maloney all said that no oncoming traffic prevented Dohm from using the northbound lane to pass them. State law also allows motorists to cross double-yellow lines when passing slow-moving vehicles.
Click here for more rules of the road governing safe driving and bicycling in the state.