UPDATE: Teens charged in cyclist assault
UPDATE: Two teens accused of assaulting a bicyclist at TVA's Raccoon Mountain recreational facility will be charged in connection with the case.
The 16-year-old has been charged with delinquent assault and violation of Tennessee's 3-foot law instituted in 2007 after Tennessee cyclist Jeff Roth was struck and killed by a driver.
The 14-year-old juvenile in the case is charged with making an unreasonably harsh sound (blowing of an air horn).
It is a story that enraged many in the Chattanooga cycling community. Anders Swanson says the teens almost hit him with their truck, blew an air horn at him and later sprayed him in the face with mace. After reviewing the case, the Marion County District Attorney gave the green light to file charges.
"We've got a lot of bad publicity about this. But I've tried to tell people over and over and over, we wanted to make sure that we talked to everybody involved," says Marion County Sheriff 'Bo' Burnett.
Sheriff Burnett says his office never dragged its feet while investigating the January 11th attack on cyclist Anders Swanson.
The incident was originally reported to Chattanooga Police and its department was ready to file charges after the teens told them in their own words they thought it "would be funny to blow an air horn" at Swanson. They also admitted to spraying "a can of mace" in his face.
After Marion D.A. Mike Taylor reviewed all the evidence, including the Chattanooga report, he told Burnett there was enough to file charges.
"We filed petitions against two of the juveniles," says Sheriff Burnett.
The 16-year-old driver faces delinquency charges of assault and breaking Tennessee's 3-foot law. A 14-year-old passenger is facing another charge for blowing the air horn.
"This story went around the country," says Steve Lewis.
Steve Lewis has been cycling for 26 years and has been an instructor for eight. He has also known Anders Swanson for 15 years.
"Great guy," he says. "The guy's the easiest going guy. He's a super talent on the bike."
Lewis says the teens should be charged.
"They're kids. But kids should be held responsible for their actions too."
Burnett says the case is now in the hands of the juvenile court.
"I just wanted all the facts to come out in this case before we went to court," says Burnett.
A hearing has been set for the two teens in Marion County Juvenile Court for March 13th.
District Attorney Mike Taylor says there is still a possibility Anders Swanson could face charges. The teens claim he hit their truck with his hand and threatened them. But Taylor said that will not be discussed until after the hearing for the teens.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Marion County (Tenn.) Sheriff's Department was advised Monday by 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor that delinquency charges could be filed against two of the teenagers involved in the alleged harassment of bicyclist Anders Swanson.
However, Taylor said that a Juvenile Court has yet to adjudicate the possibility of charges against Swanson.
"I've advised the sheriff of what I thought could be done, and I gave him that info and I assume they will proceed," Taylor said.
He could not comment on the likelihood that Swanson would be charged in the incident and could not explain the exact nature of the delinquency charges that he advised since the subjects are minors.
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