Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pickup Driver In Jacksonville To Serve 12 Months For Stabbing Two Bicyclists This Year

Chris Burns -- a bicyclist and lawyer from Jacksonville -- sent this to me today regarding the two bicyclists stabbed by a pickup driver in the Jacksonville area. Here is Chris' report.

Memorial Day is always a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to our country.

For us cyclists in Jacksonville, Florida, this past Memorial Day 2010 will also be remembered for another reason – our friend, our cycling compatriot, and my client, John Faulk, was brutally stabbed by Matt Roger Salmons. He was not the only victim. Another cyclist was also stabbed, albeit less seriously.

The day began innocently. Cyclists in North Florida intended a morning of joyful riding and companionship. John Faulk and more than 100 cyclists met to ride in the annual Memorial Day Ride organized by the North Florida Bicycle Club. The cycling was fun and uneventful, other than lots of sweat and Gatorade. The ride finished at the Florida State College Kent Campus. Just as it ended, the ride then turned sour and tragic. As the cyclists completed the ride and headed toward the Kent Campus parking lot, Mr. Salmons, who was driving his pick-up truck, attempted to pass the group. Words were exchanged. Was Salmons infuriated to wait a few seconds for the cyclists to clear his path?

Tempers flared and Mr. Salmons stopped in the parking lot alongside the group of cyclists. He leapt out of the truck. The 25 year-old, 6’ 1”, 210 pound, Salmons attempted to “pick a fight” with a cyclist in the parking lot. Witnesses heard Salmons announce he would not leave the parking lot “until somebody started something.” This is when 51 year-old, 5’ 9”, 165 pound, John Faulk intervened to defend and protect the other cyclist. While John was valiant in preventing serious injury to the other cyclist, he paid a heavy price. Salmons stabbed John Faulk. Bleeding, John collapsed to the ground. When another cyclist came to John’s aid, he was also stabbed. Salmons then jumped in his truck and fled the scene.

Shortly afterward, Salmons was found by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and arrested. His home has been the Duval County Jail since his arrest.

Matt Roger Salmons will be held accountable for his crime toward John Faulk and the other cyclists. By the terms of a plea agreement, it is expected that Salmons will plead guilty to felony battery. He will serve 12 months in jail followed by 18 months of probation. He will be required to pay restitution. He will be required to complete substantial service to our community. While he has been incarcerated for the past 3 months, he will remain in jail for another 9 months. The plea requires approval by a Judge. The hearing where Judge Arnold is expected to approve this plea agreement and sentence Salmons is at 9 A.M. on Tuesday, September 7, 2010, in Courtroom “9” of the Duval County Courthouse. As a member of the public, you are entitled to attend.

The JSO deserves our support for their handling of this case. Some of us have been concerned the JSO fails to consistently enforce safety laws for the benefit of cyclists (3 foot law, etc.), or is prejudiced toward cyclists in conducting traffic accident investigations. On this occasion, I believe justice will be served.

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