The police chief of Texas' Waller Police Department has admitted that the investigation into a 16-year-old driver crashing into six cyclists has been mishandled.
The teenage driver collided with six cyclists training for Ironman Texas on September 25, with two of the riders being airlifted to hospital. However, Waller Police Department didn't make an arrest during an initial investigation of the crash - something the police chief has now admitted was a mistake.
The incident, which occurred 10km northwest of Houston, also involved the driver 'rolling coal' before crashing into the cyclists. 'Rolling coal' is where the driver modifies their vehicle to enable the emission of thick clouds of black smoke.
Consequently, the police received a barrage of criticism online for failing to reprimand the driver of the truck, especially from cyclists who condemned the investigation.
In a post on Facebook (opens in new tab) though, Waller Police Department Chief Bill Llewellyn has admitted that the force mishandled investigating the incident due to a lack of knowledge.
Posted by wallerpd on
"It has been stated that our agency mishandled the initial investigation of the crash scene. That is true," Llewellyn said.
"A large part of being professional, is being accountable. The scene was not managed in a manner that is acceptable to me, however; none of the deficiencies that have been identified were due to poor policy or procedure within the department, nor were they influenced by who was involved in the crash or any other personal associations.
"To put it quite simply, they were due to a lack of knowledge on our part and those shortcomings are being dealt with internally and will not be repeated."
Chief Llewellyn continued, stating that the case is currently still active, and therefore he cannot divulge any details of the incident. A Special Prosecutor has now been appointed to the investigation, which comes after the District Attorney of Waller County, Elton Mathis, had stated that 'rolling coal' constitutes assault.
Mathis said: “Rolling coal when a person is in the vicinity and when the individual rolling coal intentionally or knowingly causes that excess exhaust to contact that bystander is at a minimum assault. They are causing their vehicle to ‘spit’ on a living, breathing, human being that is worthy of dignity and not having his or her person violated.
“That simple assault is easily elevated to a jail eligible offense if bodily injury occurs, which can be caused by entry of toxic particles into mouth, nose and eyes."
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Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.
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