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Man Accused Of Using Truck As Deadly Weapon Against Bicyclists, Including Temecula CHP Captain

Todd Michael Christopher has been charged following a July 2012 incident in which he allegedly tried to run four bicyclists off the road, including Temecula CHP captain Ernie Sanchez.

Todd Christopher  Photo/Riverside County Sheriff's Dept.
Todd Christopher Photo/Riverside County Sheriff's Dept.

A Wildomar man accused of running four bicyclists off the road near La Cresta – including one rider, Ernie Sanchez, who serves as captain of the Temecula California Highway Patrol -- has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and reckless driving.

The charges were filed in July against Todd Michael Christopher, 40, a year after the alleged incident occurred.

According to court records, on July 24, 2012, Christopher was traveling westbound on Clinton Keith Road near Avenida La Cresta in a white 2005 GMC SUV that had horse stickers and a horse-design trailer hitch cover. He wasn’t towing at the time of the incident, according to the records, but when he came up to Sanchez and the other bicyclists, he began honking his horn.

The cyclists allegedly got in line, parallel to the roadway, but as Christopher passed, the truck grazed a rider’s elbow, according to the documents. Christopher is then accused of slowing his truck and veering into the cyclists, forcing them onto a dirt shoulder.

Christopher then drove off toward Tenaja Road, according to the documents. The incident location is west of Murrieta in unincorporated area along the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, a stretch used by bicyclists from around the region.

Although Christopher was not identified by the riders at the time of the alleged incident, they took down his license plate and called police. The California Highway Patrol responded and was able to confirm the truck belonged to Christopher. 

The CHP has jurisdiction over unincorporated areas.

The same night as the alleged incident, CHP officer A. Ramborger went to Christopher’s address in Wildomar and got his statement.

According to court documents, Christopher told Ramborger he remembered passing the riders and yelling out the window, “Get the f--- out of the road,” but he denied trying to run them off the street, the court documents state.

Christopher complained of other “run-ins” with riders in the area, but the CHP officer advised him that bicyclists have the same rights to the road as cars and trucks, the records show.

Christopher is now scheduled for arraignment Sept. 27. According to court documents, he is charged with four counts of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and one count of misdemeanor reckless driving. 
Brenda August 29, 2013 at 04:38 PM
I musta missed this primary article on this a year ago. This man is a menace to people and the highway and if found guilty I hope he gets some serious time. He could have easily killed all four of those bike riders for no damn reason other this his own uncontrolled anger. We sure dont need people like that EVER driving.
Jacob Robinson August 29, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Crazy. We ride up Clinton Keith a lot and hang as far right as possible when riding up hills or along the road. Just because someone is losing 15 seconds because they need to be more careful while passing cyclists doesn't mean they have a right to try to drive them off the road, glad he was reported and is paying for it. It would've been more convenient for him to just pass slowly or wait for them, instead he needs to drive to a courthouse now.
Rick Peoples August 29, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Thanks to the CHP for investigating and getting prosecution of this motorist. Most of us as cyclists have had run-ins with motorists who show reckless disregard for human life or outright attempts to do us harm. Seeing a motorist punished is indeed newsworthy. Thank God no one was hurt or killed. We encourage Temecula Police to follow the CHP's lead and start following up on complaints against drivers trying to kill cyclists, often for no more reason than we are on the road. We have not heard any news on the driver throwing coins at cyclists, although there were several reported incidents. What happened to that case? Thanks again CHP, you just added this case to the small number of prosecutions statewide for attacks on cyclists. Rick Peoples Temecula Bicycle Coalition
JJ Mclure August 30, 2013 at 10:30 AM
looks like a big bully
Brenda August 30, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Rick you are right. I have seen cars, trucks actually sit on the dummy bumps on freeways and roads so that motorcycles and bikes cannot get by. And this can be moving at 70 on the freeway or 55 on Rancho Cal driving ON the bike line. Why would anyone even TAKE THE CHANCE OF MURDERING SOMEONE like that? Ok, you, we, I, everyone once in a while might get frustrated, even angry, cause they have to slow down in a area, but you dont fricking try to kill someone cause you are THAT MAD. There is no control in that and this man looks just like that. He is ready for his head to BLOW UP and I am shocked he has not had a stroke by now his anger is so obvious. Big Bully to say the least JJ.

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