Motorist admits dumping limb in stream after collision; doctors say they could have reattached it

A motorist in Brazil is to be charged with attempted murder after driving away from a collision with a cyclist with the rider’s severed arm in his vehicle. The driver, a 22-year-old student, later disposed of the limb in a stream, reports BBC News.

According to police, doctors say that they believe the arm could have been reattached, but it has not been recovered.

The incident took place in Sao Paulo yesterday morning and the victim, a window cleaner who was riding to work, is described as being in a stable condition in hospital.

The driver, who was on his way home after a night out, has also been charged with drunk driving and claims the arm fell into his vehicle following the collision.

His lawyer, Cassio Paoletti, said that his client has admitted throwing the arm into a stream but denies the attempted murder charge, and that he explained his failure to stop at the scene of the incident, on one of the city’s busiest streets, as being because he was afraid of the reaction of bystanders.

"If he had stayed, they would have killed the boy,” the lawyer maintained. “For instance, the police station was surrounded by hundreds of people who verbally abused and threw cans at my client's father, who's a 60-year-old man."

Referring to the stream into which the arm was thrown, a police spokesman said:
"It has dirty, murky waters, so it might be difficult to find it."

The driver handed himself in to police after taking a friend home.

The BBC reported that cyclists had arrived outside the police station where the motorist was being held to protest for the safety of cyclists, an issue that has been the subject of a campaign in the city for several months.

Two years ago, we reported another case in Brazil in which motorist Ricardo Neis was indicted on 17 counts of attempted murder after driving into a group of cyclists taking part on a Critical Mass ride in Porto Alegre.

Neis was subsequently committed to a secure psychiatric unit pending trial, but he was reportedly freed in April 2011 with the judge saying that there was no evidence he intended to threaten witnesses or victims. We are unable to trace any report of whether the case went to trial.

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.