Driver Who Ran Through Crowd Of Bike Riders Arrested

March 2, 2011

Bill Chappell

A video screengrab shows riders in the Critical Mass bike ride last Friday, seconds before a car sped through the Porto Alegre street.

The driver of the car that plowed through a large crowd of people riding bikes during a Critical Mass event in Brazil last week is now under arrest, and may face charges of attempted homicide.

As we reported, the event, which several people captured on video, has caused anger and outrage. There were no deaths reported, but several cyclists are reported to be in the hospital recovering from their injuries.

According to the AP:

A police statement says Ricardo Jose Neis was arrested in th ecity of Porto Alegre after a judge ordered his preventive detention. Prosecutors say they are considering charges ofattempted homicide.

Under Brazilian law, suspects are not charged until police finish their investigation, which could take up to 30 days.

Neis, 47, was driving with his son last Friday, when they encountered a group of more than 100 cyclists riding in the streets of Porto Alegre. Their car then sped up and ran through the crowd — a result, Neis has said, of feeling threatened by the cyclists, who he claims were yelling and striking his car.

Brazilian authorities now say that 40 riders were injured in the incident.

After Neis and his son abandoned their car in a neighborhood, police located and identified the vehicle Saturday.

According to reports out of Brazil, it seems that police arrested Neis in a hospital — and his psychiatrist has recommended that he be kept under care while in police custody.

That's the story from Brazilian news agency Zero Hora — which, since it ran through a translating program, may be a bit uneven, so apologies in advance if that's misleading. But those basic details are reported in two separate pages on their web site. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.