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Outrage as teen driver who hit six Texas cyclists as he deliberately blew exhaust fumes at them remains free

Social media users ask why no arrest made; crowdfunder launched to pay victims’ medical bills

Social media users have expressed outrage over why a 16 year old youth who hit six cyclists in his Ford pick-up truck on Saturday has not been arrested.

Meanwhile, a crowdfunder has been set up to help pay for the medical costs of the injured cyclists, and has so far raised more than $7,500.

The cyclists, two of whom had to be airlifted to hospital – fortunately without life-threatening injuries – had been on a training ride for Ironman Texas on old Highway 290 near Waller, around 10km northwest of Houston.

> Pick-up truck driver, 16, crashes into six cyclists while blowing exhaust fumes at them

The driver ploughed into them when he accelerated as he attempted to blow black smoke at them from his illegally modified exhaust, a practice known as “coal rolling” (an example from Daytona, Florida, in 2018 is shown in the video above).

Waller Police Department spoke to the driver of the pick-up truck on Saturday and have said that they are continuing to investigate, but despite eyewitness accounts of what happened, no arrest has been made.

There has been no update of the situation on the department’s Facebook page, with the latest post, published on Friday, relating to the county fair, receiving dozens of comments wondering exactly what is going on.

Several people posting pointed out that the incident has received worldwide media coverage, making the department’s silence all the more baffling.

What are y'all doing with the 16yr old who plowed into a group of cyclists sending some to the hospital! Do the right thing now, the whole world is watching you! – Alison Ramirez

I'm sure that the Waller County Fair is awesome, and that the livestock show is great. Hopefully the teenager that mowed down six people minding their own business on a public road inside your jurisdiction will be able to hear who won Best in Show from inside his jail cell, where he belongs but still isn't. You guys planning to do your actual job anytime soon, or just keep on being the FFA's free PR firm on the public dime? Waller County law enforcement consistently fails to live up to their own low expectations. What an embarrassment – Fred Zapalac

Others had their own suspicions about why no arrest had been made or charges brought.

Something tells me the kid that ran over the cyclists is related to the mayor, the sheriff or the chief of police – David Lara

Curious on who that MINOR is related to, to get a pass like this. If he was of any different shade of color he'd be locked up and your county DA would be looking to charge him as an adult already – Nick Pandher

The Waller County District Attorney’s Office published a post on Facebook about the incident late on Sunday evening, saying: “Thank you to everyone that has messaged regarding the Saturday morning collision between a pickup truck and bicyclists in the Waller area.

“Please know that this matter will be thoroughly reviewed and appropriate actions taken as soon as the investigation is completed and handed over to this office.”

Again, this did not satisfy respondents to the post, including some who demanded to know why the driver was not taken immediately into custody and others who pointed out that rather than a “collision,” it was more a case of deliberate assault or even attempted murder.

Why did they not detain the driver, did they get a blood sample to run a toxicology report? I assume his family has connections with the local police department if the police did not run toxicology – Spencer Tennant

Premeditated, attempted murder, or at least aggravated assault. Wonder how quickly he would have been arrested if he was black? – Michael Evans

It's only by a miracle someone was not killed that day.

I grew up in Waller. My mom still lives there and came across the scene shortly after it happened, terrified it was me or my teammates.

We will be watching and expecting the laws to be upheld and charges beyond a slap on the wrist to be filed in this matter – Jessica Miller

“Rolling coal” originated in the world of truck racing. It involves drivers modifying their vehicles with aftermarket parts to get around pollution control systems, enabling them to produce massive clouds of black fumes, with typical targets including cyclists, pedestrians and drivers of electric vehicles.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has made clear that the practice contravenes the Clean Air Act which prohibits the manufacturing, sale, and installation “of a part for a motor vehicle that bypasses, defeats, or renders inoperative any emission control device.”

The statute also “prohibits anyone from tampering with an emission control device on a motor vehicle by removing it or making it inoperable prior to or after the sale or delivery to the buyer.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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