The attorney for a Texas teenager who hit six cyclists with his pickup truck while trying to "roll coal" provided an explanation on Wednesday for why police didn't arrest the teen, the Houston Chronicle reports.
Lawyer Rick DeToto says the teen is a "new and inexperienced driver" who had no criminal intent when he ran over the cyclists.
"My client is a young man in high school with college aspirations. He's a very new and inexperienced driver," DeToto said. "This was a serious accident but did not involve any criminal intent. He immediately called 911, helped with the injured and cooperated with police. The family prays for the speedy recovery of the riders involved and we look forward to cooperating with investigators."
Also speaking to KPRC, DeToto said that the Waller police department did an investigation at the scene and "decided not to charge my client and did not even issue him a traffic ticket."
"Clearly, they determined a crime had not occurred. My client stopped immediately, called 911, attempted to render aid and cooperated with police," he said.
As Wikipedia points out, "rolling coal" is the practice of modifying a diesel engine to increase the amount of fuel entering the engine in order to emit large amounts of black or grey smoke. The practice is sometimes used to target pedestrians -- a practice the the Waller County District Attorney considers assault.
"Rolling coal when a person is in the vicinity and when the individual rolling coal intentionally or knowingly causes that excess exhaust to contact that bystander is AT A MINIMUM an assault," Waller District Attorney Elton Mathis said in a statement. "They are causing their vehicle to 'spit' on a living, breathing, human being that is worthy of dignity and not having his or her person violated. That simple assault is easily elevated to a jail eligible offense if bodily injury occurs, which can be caused by entry of toxic particles into mouth, nose and eyes. Waller County law enforcement agencies all across the county are being reminded today of the availability of these and other charges which can be brought against individuals acting in such a criminal manner. The underlying investigation and gathering of evidence by Waller P.D. Is still progressing."
Watch an earlier report on the story below:
6 cyclist recovering after being hit by truck in Waller County www.youtube.com