LYONS, Colo. - A driver facing vehicular homicide charges in the Saturday death of a bicyclist in Lyons once publicly complained about "gangs" of cyclists disobeying traffic rules, saying, "These people don't belong in Lyons."
According to a story published in the Lyons Recorder in March 2010, Patrick Ward, 69, of Lyons, made the comments to the Lyons Planning and Community Development Commission during a hearing on proposals to promote and improve cycling in the town.
Speaking to commissioners, Ward described several incidents where "gangs" of cyclists flouted traffic signs and signals and clogged traffic. Ward asked why Boulder County sheriff's deputies weren't ticketing the bike riders, the Daily Camera reported.
"These people don't belong in Lyons. They certainly don't belong in the foothills around Lyons," Ward told commissioners, according to the Lyons Recorder.
Ward is accused of driving a SUV that struck and killed Michel Van Duym, 46, of Boulder, about 5:11 p.m. Saturday at 160 Main Street in Lyons. Boulder County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Nick Goldberger said the SUV appeared to be driving the wrong way on Main Street, but added that the vehicle could have been making a left turn.
Ward was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide, DUI, careless driving resulting in death and carrying a prohibited weapon.
Ward's attorney, Larry Mertes, told the Camera on Wednesday that Ward's prior remarks about cyclists is "new information," but added, "It has nothing to do with the tragic accident that is still being investigated by law enforcement and by my office."
"There is absolutely no evidence of intentional conduct. There is not intent, on his part. This was a tragic accident," Mertes told the newspaper. "On behalf of my client and his family, they are very concerned about the victim's family and how they are doing and their loss. That is of primary importance to them."
Ward had a prior DUI arrest in 1975 in Summit County, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records. He remained in the Boulder County Jail Wednesday on $25,000 bond.