A man who swerved into a group of bicyclists on a charity bike ride in Marin County this weekend and fled found himself in police custody less than 12 hours later.
Four cyclists participating in the Jensie Gran Fondo charity ride were struck by the man when he swerved into the group; 1 was airlifted to a local trauma center while the others were transported to the hospital by ambulance.
Witnesses told police that the suspect, Aaron Paff, 21, of Novato, swerved into the group just after they had turned from Hicks Valley Road onto Point Reyes-Petaluma Road in rural Marin County.
Paff was picked up shortly before midnight Saturday and booked into Marin County Jail on charges of felony hit-and-run causing injury.
CHP identified the cyclists as Spencer Fast, 48, of Mill Valley, and Robert Grier, 53, and Joseph Olla, 49, both of Danville, and Oliver Colvin, 55, of Larkspur. Fast suffered major injuries and was transported by helicopter. The other were carried to the hospital by ambulance.
The CHP said they had a lot of help tracking down the suspect.
Witnesses told police at the scene that a dark blue Dodge Ram pickup truck swerved into the cyclists and then sped away. An oncoming motorcyclist had captured the assault on his helmet-mounted camera. Police took screen grabs of the pickup and publicized it throughout the day Saturday.
About 8 p.m., police received several tips about the owner and location of the truck. They found the truck, with front end damage, in the driveway of Paff’s home.
The local CHP commander, Capt. Robert Mota, thanked the public for its help in rounding up the suspect so quickly.
“This was truly a team effort between law enforcement and the public and goes to show how an engaged and concerned group of people can provide vital information in this type of incident.”
Paff was released after posting $50,000 bond. He’s scheduled to appear in Marin County Superior Court on Oct. 19. The fact that the whole crash was caught on the motorcyclist’s camera will make if very hard for the suspect to weasel out of the charges. Those who’ve seen the video say it’s clearly evident that the driver swerved into the cyclists.
The Press-Democrat talked with a couple of the injured cyclists. They were on the 70-mile route and were near the end of the ride when they were struck while riding single file on the right side of the road.
One victim remembers hearing the “car back” warning and then waking up in an ambulance.
The charity ride is a fund-raiser for the Marin County Bicycle Coalition. The ride is named for retired pro cyclist Jens Voight, who participated in the ride.