North Bay News

Cyclist intentionally hit; suspect arrested

Saturday, August 18, 2012

There has been an arrest after a cyclist says he was rundown by a driver who chased him. It happened at the Oakmont Golf Course in Santa Rosa.

Sonoma County roadways have become popular with cyclists because of their long, open stretches, but unfortunately, there are angry drivers behind the wheels of cars who are not willing to share the road.

Toraj Soltani is happy to be alive. He is a cyclist who now has a titanium plate in his wrist. It is just one of several injuries the experienced cyclist suffered after he says he was intentionally rundown, chased onto a golf course, and struck from behind. On Wednesday, he was riding on Highway 12.

Police say in the past few years, there's been an increase in the number of cyclists taking to the Sonoma County roads. Since May, there have been five cyclists killed. Investigators are not ready to say there's been an increase in the assaults against cyclists, but did say in this case Soltani was targeted.

"It's kind of reached this critical point of frustration between motorists and cyclists and it's almost like at an epidemic-level right now, it seems," said Soltani.

On Saturday, an arrest was made. The break in the case came when a witness who had been the victim of a similar incident of road rage, by a man fitting the same description as the man who hit Soltani, was identified.

Soltani's professional carbon-fiber bike is ruined. It would cost him thousands of dollars to repair it and he has injuries that will take weeks to heal.

Police arrested an 81-year-old Santa Rosa man who had damage to his car and debris on the undercarriage of his vehicle. Authorities believe they have the right man.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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