US driver gets four months jail for shooting cyclist in the head

Judge takes previous character into account in suspending most of sentence

by Simon_MacMichael   November 23, 2009 news

A former firefighter who shot a cyclist, the bullet missing his head by a fraction of an inch as it passed through his helmet, is set to spend just four months in jail after being sentenced for assault by a court in North Carolina.

As previously reported on, prosecutors had pressed for 42-year-old Charles Alexander Diez to be charged with attempted first degree murder after he shot cyclist Alan Simons. But a Grand Jury in the town of Asheville, where the incident took place, rejected their argument and he was charged with the lesser offence of felony assault instead.

The shooting took after Diez remonstrated with Mr Simons about the danger of cycling on a busy road with his four-year-old son on a seat on the back of the bike. Mr Simons’ wife was present on a separate bicycle. Diez claimed that he fired the shot as a warning to Mr Simons, whom he said was ignoring him, although the fact the bullet hit the cyclist’s helmet might suggest he took deliberate aim.

Reporting on the case, the Citizen-Times said that Superior Court Judge James Downs had handed Diez a 15-27 month prison sentence, with all except the first four months suspended for 30 months. Should he break the law during that period, the full custodial sentence could be imposed. He was also ordered to attend an anger management course, and to pay Mr Simons $1,200 to cover medical costs arising from damage to his eardrum.

Mitigating factors such as Diez’s military record and his service as a fireman, plus his lack of a previous criminal record, helped reduce the sentence, but Mr Simons and his wife were disappointed at the court’s leniency.

“We think the sentence is light, but we expected it coming in,” they told the newspaper, “because of his outstanding career as a fireman.”

8 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

We live in a crazy world.


posted by OldRidgeback [2577 posts]
23rd November 2009 - 22:22


Luckily though, not in the same part of it

Denzil Dexter's picture

posted by Denzil Dexter [141 posts]
24th November 2009 - 11:36

1 Like

I reckon the cyclist in Bournemouth may face longer prison time if found guilty of shoving a PCSO.

I've been to North Carolina many times, nice place, I was there last month. I still don't quite follow the logic in shooting a cyclist in the head to warn him of the danger of riding a bicycle while carrying a four year old child on the rear. It still sounds like attempted murder to me, which would be a 10 year sentence minimum.


posted by OldRidgeback [2577 posts]
24th November 2009 - 21:56


I shot him in the head to warn him how dangerous it is to cycle on a busy road with his child Thinking yeah that makes sense.....maybe on planet la la

Rode the E'Tape Caledonia - first sportiv ever and thoroughly enjoyed it

badbunny's picture

posted by badbunny [71 posts]
25th November 2009 - 9:22

1 Like

words fail me

posted by mrchrispy [412 posts]
25th November 2009 - 12:22


Only Yanks would believe that a fireman is more important than a childs life. What a load of idiots

posted by rodbat [1 posts]
26th November 2009 - 2:28

1 Like

North Carolina's in the south. Call the locals there yanks and they'll not be too happy. And remember, they carry guns.


posted by OldRidgeback [2577 posts]
27th November 2009 - 10:58


Sentenced reduced in consideration of (1) he hates cyclists (2) he's a brave man with a glorious gun not afraid to use it in a one-sided showdown.

Charlie Horse

posted by ch [146 posts]
23rd July 2015 - 20:27