Update : Follow up post - Darcy Sheppard may have caused his own death
There is no doubt that the death of Darcy Sheppard was an unnecessary tragedy. It's also a tragedy that Michael Bryant now has to bare the consequences of the altercation between the two.
It will be interesting to see the rest of the facts and the outcome of the case, here are a few links that I'm getting my current info from.
- Former Ont. attorney general charged after fatal crash (Global)
- Toronto mayor refuses comment on Bryant (CBC)
- Former Ontario attorney general Bryant faces two charges after fatal crash (National Post)
Now there is not much information available, however we do have a few facts:
- The cyclist attached himself (grabbed on) to the vehicle.
- He was pulled or dragged or otherwise moved 100 meters down the road.
- The whole altercation spanned only 1 minute.
- The passenger in the vehicle called police during the incident.
- The driver (Bryant) accelerated after Sheppard grabbed on to the vehicle.
- Sheppard had dealings with police officers earlier in the day.
Based on those facts and without much else available yet, a couple of things strike me.
- Sheppard must have been being aggressive and/or violent earlier in the day if the police were called to remove him from a location.
- Sheppard demonstrated aggressiveness again when he grabbed onto Bryants vehicle during the incident.
- Bryants unnamed passenger felt threatened enough to call the police.
- Bryant showed a lack of judgement when he accelerated his vehicle down the street.
- In order for the bike to strike the car, Sheppard would have had to have run into the vehicle. If the opposite had happened (car striking cyclist), the weight and momentum of the vehicle would likely not have left him standing so that he could grab onto the vehicle.
All of us who drive and ride bicycles have had words with others using the roads. However its pretty clear that Sheppard was being aggressive and violent. Bryant may have also been aggressive, however it's clear the passenger felt threatened.
I'm not sure if I had been the driver, I would have done anything different than Bryant did. Imagine your in a convertible an aggressive and violet man grabs onto your car... what do you do?
Would you feel threatened enough for your fight or flight reflex to kick in?
The lives of both families will be severely impacted because of "stupidness" on the part of both Bryant and Sheppard. However I'm not sure this could have happened any other way. When physical contact starts between two opposing aggressors, one will get hurt... maybe not always dead but certainly someone is going to feel it.