Elderly Driver Allegedly Chased Down And Hit Santa Rosa Cyclist

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Crime scene tape, police line, generic

(CBS)

SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — An 81-year-old Santa Rosa man was arrested Saturday for allegedly chasing a bicyclist on to a golf course and running him down after another bicyclist told police about a similar incident that occurred last year.

Harry Edward Smith, a resident of the Oakmont adult housing community, was arrested today on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and battery causing serious bodily injury, said Santa Rosa police Sgt. Steve Fraga.

Police believe Smith began yelling at a bicyclist who was riding on Pythian Road in east Santa Rosa on Wednesday around 5:15 p.m. and tried to hit him.

The cyclist fled on to the Oakmont Golf Course to escape, and the driver followed and struck him, police said. The bicyclist was taken to a local hospital with moderate injuries.

The vehicle in the incident was described as a gold or beige sedan similar to a Toyota Corolla, and the driver as an elderly white man with gray hair.

Smith was identified as a suspect in the incident this morning after another bicyclist, Sonoma County resident Rosa Zoia, came forward regarding an incident that occurred in October of 2011.

Zoia told police that while riding her bicycle on Pythian Road in Oakmont, she was yelled at by an older white male adult in a vehicle similar to the vehicle description in the recent incident, Fraga said.

The driver said something to the effect that Zoia was too young to be in Oakmont, and continued to yell and rage when she tried to engage him in a conversation.

The man was forced to drive away when another vehicle came up behind him at a four-way stop. Zoia contacted the police, but no crime had occurred at the time.

Saturday morning, however, she was able to give police the license plate number of that driver, and detectives tracked it to Smith.

The victim in the recent incident identified Smith as the assailant in a lineup, and detectives obtained a warrant for Smith’s home on Valley Oaks Drive.

Smith’s gold 1997 Toyota Avalon sedan was later found to have damage to the passenger side mirror as well as debris from driving on the golf course stuck to its undercarriage, Fraga said.

Anyone with further information on this case is asked to call Santa Rosa police at (707) 543-3590.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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