Teen intended to 'smoke' cyclists, but plowed into them instead

WALLER COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Cyclists want answers after a teenage driver slammed into the group last Saturday, injuring six people, in Waller County.

The collision happened on Business 290 near the Bettis Water Tower. Paramedics took two of the cyclists by ground to the hospital and two others by air for treatment, according to authorities.

District Attorney Elton Mathis said his office will lead the investigation and vowed they'll get answers. Mathis said he has assigned a senior prosecutor to the case who will work with an accident reconstructionist to determine why a 17-year-old boy in a pickup truck ran into the cyclists.

Chase Ferrell, a witness, told ABC13 the teenager deliberately tried to mess with the cyclists. Ferrell said he tried to scare them by "smoking" them on the road. In this case, the term refers to when a driver blows exhaust from their truck into the bicyclists' path.

Ferrell was also biking on the road, headed southeast at the time of the incident.

"It's just disheartening and hard to see whenever our friends are being life-flighted out there, and the perpetrator, the kid, gets to be able to go home and sleep in his own bed," said Ferrell. "To have no injuries, to have no consequences. Seemingly, I'm sure he feels really bad, but that's not justice. That's not going to cut it. I saw him try to do the same to the group that he hit. Where he would get close, then try to accelerate. He just got all the way over. He clearly didn't mean to hit them, but he was definitely trying to intimidate them and blow smoke on them."

Ferrell said friends of the cyclists created a GoFundMe page to help with their medical expenses. He said all have been released from the hospital, but some will need follow-up surgery because of broken bones.

Mathis told ABC13 he first heard about the crash from social media, not from law enforcement agency. He said his message to the cycling community is clear. This investigation will be a top priority.

"I want them to know," said Mathis. "They are viewed as important. They deserved to be protected. That's what this office will endeavor to do once we see all the evidence and can figure what exactly happened out there on the road."

Mathis said possible charges could include the felony of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He said the evidence will be presented before a grand jury likely in October or November. They will determine whether to indict the teenager on criminal charges.

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