« Back to Archive

Cyclist gets 15 for road rage

Hi everyone, I'm writing in hopes of gathering some information about what happened that day or what people have heard. My name is Pedro and I'm good friends with Willie and Sheryl the two accused of beating the guys that chased them down. The only information I've been able to find was a post made here under this same title back in July of 2013. What I read on that thread or in that small article was not what happen to them. Now Willie is serving 7-15yrs and Sheryl is serving 2-4yrs for defending themselves against these 2 guys that chased them down and cornered them. If anyone was there that day or witnessed what actually happened to them it might really help these two out. They're good people who love the biking community in Pittsburgh and have been involved in it greatly since moving to Pittsburgh years ago. They were part of a few charity rides, played bike polo, moved themselves via bikes once with the help of their community of friends. They don't deserve what has happened to them and I'm just trying to help them out. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you -Pedro
2014-03-02 11:15:45
freewillie wrote:They’re good people
agreed. I don’t have any info to add, but the charges seem way out of character to both Willie & Sheryl.
2014-03-02 11:59:03
Marko82 wrote:
freewillie wrote:They’re good people
agreed. I don’t have any info to add, but the charges seem way out of character to both Willie & Sheryl.
Yeah it really is. I've been best friends with Willie since we were kids. I spoke to him right after this happened and what he told me isn't any thing close to what is reported. I believe they left the scene fearing who else this guy might have called to come after them and weren't there to give their side of the story. all the cops had to go on was the meth heads side of the story. There is no mention in the article of the driver calling a friend, picking him up and coming to find them again and cornering them. Then getting out of the car and proceeding to try and take there bikes and assault them. Willie told the person he hit to not come near him and he obviously didn't listen cause he came within reach for him to protect himself with what he had,which was the bike lock. Sorry I know my grammar is terrible lol.
2014-03-02 12:57:38
15? That is SUPER long for such a thing! I will say you need money for such a thing. PM me if you want a good attorney, but they aren't cheap. That is a ridiculous amount of time! I just don't get why the people in the US send people to jail for these crazy sentences. Might as well just throw away their lives.
2014-03-02 23:06:57
A U-shaped bike lock can easily be a deadly weapon if you beat someone on the head with it. According to this article, Hughes was sentenced to between 7.5 to 15 years + 5 years probation for beating Hrabolowski with a bike lock. Feli was sentenced to between 2 to 4 years for aggravated assault because she was kicking Hrabolowski after he was already down. Hrabolowski apparently spent four days in the hospital due to the injuries sustained. Is the above article inaccurate? I can't seem to find any information about the incident beyond the Trib article.
2014-03-03 11:46:31
Wonder what the motorist did to provoke a response like that. Must have really been aggressive towards the cyclists and a car is sure an intimidating weapon. Of course no one can condone getting physical with a U-lock or really anything for that matter. It is tough out there on a bike and it isn't for everyone at the moment. Maybe he will spend 3 years in jail, but that is a VERY long time. Might want to think about an appeal.
2014-03-03 13:13:57
gg wrote: Of course no one can condone getting physical with a U-lock or really anything for that matter.
Well, really, it depends on the situation. If you reasonably believe that someone is threatening you with death or grievous bodily harm, defending yourself with a deadly weapon such as a U-lock, axe, meathook, etc. could be perfectly appropriate and legal. The problem is that you can't go over the line and start using force to 'get back' at someone after the fight is over. I suspect (and this IS speculation on my part here, since I don't have any knowledge of what happened beyond what was in the Trib article posted above,) that the fact that Hrabowlowski continued to be hit and/or kicked despite the fact that he was down on the ground played a significant role in the convictions here. You can't go back and deliver a coup de grace to the other person once the fight is over, even if they started it. (For example: Jerome Ersland - ) Self defense cases can be tough. Running from the scene and not being the one to call the police first can make you look like the bad guy to police investigators and prosecutors, regardless of the truth. But to continue attacking the guy with (potentially) deadly force after the fight appears to be over? That pretty much *does* make you the aggressor legally, regardless of how the fight started. It's easy for us to say how we'd have handled it from our warm offices, kitchens, and living rooms as we surf the web. That said, if you use your bike to commute to work and you haven't thought through how you would get through a scenario like this, it is a worthwhile exercise.
2014-03-03 14:00:36
Willie posted here a number of times. A bunch of us helped him move by bike once. Here is a link to what Willie posted about an aggressive driver http://localhost/mb/topic/carefull-of-aggresive-drivers/#post-0 On another forum, there was a post by someone who was a witness at Willie's trial. The witness seemed sympathetic, but did not see most of the incident. I'm not sure what happened here and I dont' know if there was a miscarriage of justice or not. I suspect there was: Killing bicyclist with your car? $15 fine. Defend yourself from an attacking motorist? 15 years. Road rage is possible for any anyone on the road, of course. My prejudice is still to blame the motorist. In 2005, a pickup driver tried to run bicyclist off the road in Monroeville. The biker pulled a pistol. There was a standoff with the two deadly weapons (pickup truck and gun). The bicyclist shot the driver and the bicyclist went to prison. From 2004: From 2005 From everything I read about the 2004 case, it strikes me that they sent the wrong person to prison in the incident. (One man attacks another with a deadly weapon and the person attacked defends himself with a pistol. ) But two little articles obviously don't tell the whole story. Does anyone have a mailing address for willie?
2014-03-03 14:09:08
@Mick: One difference between then & now is that Pennsylvania's "castle doctrine" law technically applies to anyone who is in a vehicle, and a bike is considered a vehicle. Of course, the guy driving the truck was ALSO most definitely in a vehicle, so who knows how a court would apply that? There's also the rather silly assumption held by some that guns are the only deadly weapons that exist--this would need to be overcome or addressed should it come to trial. In the car vs. bike situation -- particularly where the cyclist is armed -- the best solution *might* be for the cyclist to stop and get off the road, if possible, and let the road rager keep going. If the guy keeps coming after you, self-defense if more clearly defined there. (Of course, that may not be possible depending on the road you're on.) In that case, you may genuinely be in a situation where you either shoot a man and risk a prison sentence, or you do nothing and face a risk of death or grievous bodily injury. Not a fun choice at all, but I can understand why someone would choose the former.
2014-03-03 14:22:59
On a semi related note, there was a rerun of a rick seback special last night that aired and Sheryl was interviewed while she was a cook at El Burro. Weirdddd. They were both always pleasant when I saw them, but I didn't get to hang out with them all too much. I guess the only people who truly know what happened are those who were directly involved.
2014-03-03 20:30:57