The California physician, convicted of assaulting a pair of cyclists with his car, was sentenced to five years in prison at the close of a hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday morning.
Sixty-year-old Christopher Thomas Thompson, found guilty of six felonies and a misdemeanor, has been in custody since his conviction in November. Following an emotional two-hour hearing Superior Court Judge Scott T. Millington sentenced Thompson to two years on the charge of assaulting cyclists Ron Peterson and Christian Stoehr with a deadly weapon and added a three-year enhancement because Peterson suffered serious bodily harm. The remaining lesser charges also carry prison time, but those sentences will be served concurrently with Thompson’s five-year sentence. The judge also ordered that Thompson be stripped of his driver’s license for life.
Prosecutors had asked that Thompson be sentenced to eight years for crimes mostly relating to a July 4, 2008 incident in which he abruptly stopped his car in front of the two riders descending Mandeville Canyon road, near Los Angeles. Thompson was also convicted of misdemeanor charges relating to a similar incident that occurred months earlier, but did not result in injuries.
Thompson took the stand Friday and accepted full responsibility for his actions, expressed remorse and apologized to Peterson, Patrick Watson and Josh Crosby, who were in attendance on Friday. Stoehr did not appear in court on Friday.
“I would like to apologize deeply, profoundly from the bottom of my heart,” he told the three cyclists.
Thompson spent much of the hearing in tears, as the three cyclists testified about the incidents that ultimately led to Thompson’s conviction. The riders asked that a severe sentence be imposed in the case.
While his client appeared contrite on the stand, Thompson’s attorney, Peter Swarth, continued to maintain that he had never intended to hurt anyone. Thompson dropped his head into his hands and wept when Millington imposed sentence in the case.
In November, Thompson was convicted of assaulting Peterson and Stoehr on the morning of July 4th after a brief exchange of words, in which he demanded that the two – moving down the hill at nearly the speed limit – ride in single file. Thompson then passed the two cyclists and slammed on his brakes, causing the riders to crash into the rear his car.
Stoehr hit the back of the car and vaulted into oncoming traffic lane. His injuries included a grade-three shoulder separation and road rash. Peterson went through the rear window of the car; the impact broke his nose, nearly severing it from his face, and shattered several of his teeth. More than 90 stitches were required to reattach his nose.
Thompson also told the first police officer on the scene that he intentionally hit his brakes in order to “teach (the two riders) a lesson.”
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