Richie Cunningham claims bike rage incident, sheriff's office not sure

Richie Cunningham is an Australian triathlete living in Boulder, not a sitcom character -- and July 4 wasn't an especially happy day for him. Cunningham was injured badly enough to require hospitalization after a bicycle crash he says was caused by a driver experiencing a moment of road rage.

Thus far, however, the Boulder County Sheriff's Office has not endorsed that theory. Law enforcers know the identity of the driver in question, but at this writing, they're not ready to charge him with a crime.

At about 9 a.m. on July 4, according to the Boulder Daily Camera, Cunningham and fellow triathletes Ben Hoffman, Patrick Evoe and Joe Gambles were riding on the 15000 block of North 83rd Street when a car passed them over a double-yellow line, with the driver honking as he went past and headed down a hill.

"It just went flying by as we were starting to go down the hill," Cunningham told the Camera. "Then, halfway down the hill, all of a sudden he just slammed on the brakes."

This action forced Cunningham to hit his brakes so hard that he flew over his handlebars, separating his shoulder and breaking his elbow in the process.

Afterward, Cunningham tweeted this photo of him in the hospital:

Since the crash, Cunningham has conducted a number of interviews with local media outlets, including CBS4. He characterizes the driver's actions as far from innocent: "You don't do that for any other reason than to cause someone harm," he told the station, adding, "He was just one of those angry guys who was in a hurry, wanted to be angry." He adds that his injuries are likely to prevent him from competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, a September event in Las Vegas at which he's previously earned several top-five finishes. Who was behind the wheel of the car in question? Cunningham tweeted that Hoffman chased down the vehicle and managed to get its license-plate number. These digits were subsequently shared with the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, and Rick Brough, speaking for the BCSO, confirms that investigators have identified and spoken with the suspect.

Even so, charges have yet to be filed. Brough says additional witnesses still must be quizzed before detectives can determine if the incident was "intentional, reckless or just an accident" -- and that conclusion will determine what counts, if any, will eventually be brought.

Look below to see the CBS4 report.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa September 2012: "James Ernst cited in case prompted by bike-rage video that went viral."