A Chicago police officer has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving injuries and disorderly conduct for filing a false police report after allegedly hitting a cyclist with his pick-up truck then attempting to blame her for causing the collision.
Michael Bergeson, aged 33, was off duty at the time of the incident, which took place at 3.25am on the morning of 3 August at the corner of California Avenue and Wabansia Avenue in the city’s Humboldt Park district, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
Prosecutors say that he hit the unnamed female victim, riding with her boyfriend, with his truck, sending her flying over the bonnet and suffering a head wound. She spent two days in hospital due to abrasions, fractured bones in her foot and multiple facial injuries. Immediately after the incident, she was said to be drifting in and out of consciousness.
They also maintain that Bergeson got out of the truck and, without identifying himself, called the 911 emergency number and said: “female down, reason unknown, appears to be conscious.” He rang 911 again two minutes later and said: “Possible AA female injured.”
According to prosecutors, when an ambulance arrived at the scene three minutes later, Bergeson got into his vehicle and, after driving round the injured cyclist, collided with two parked cars, which caused his license plate to fall off his truck.
The license plate left at the scene led to police visiting Bergeson’s home later that day but no-one answered the door and there was no sign of the pick-up truck. Two days later, he filed a police report alleging that the victim had ridden her bike through a stop sign and collided with his vehicle.
He also said that she had been responsible for his license plate falling off his truck, although prosecutors insist that medical and forensic records prove that the incident was his fault.
Bergeson, who joined the Chicago police department in 2003, was ordered to be held in custody in place of $25,000 bail.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.