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Driver claims self defense
Matthew Stierwalt, 12-year-old son were about to enter Little Miami Trail.
For Matthew Stierwalt, Tuesday was just another training ride with his 12-year-old son Lucas.
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MORROW, OHIO, JUNE 25, 2014 -- Matthew Stierwalt with his son during a cycling competition. (Courtesy Matthew Stierwalt)
MORROW, Ohio -- For Matthew Stierwalt, Tuesday was just another training ride with his 12-year-old son Lucas.
Stierwalt said the two were on Montgomery Road in Morrow making their way to the cover of the Little Miami bike trail when it began to rain.
Their ride turned dangerous when a pickup truck approached, according to Stierwalt.
“The truck was within arms reach of us, blaring his horn at us,” said Stierwalt, 42, of Morrow. “(The driver) could have caused us to go off the road or into traffic.”
Stierwalt said with no oncoming traffic, the driver of that truck, 23-year-old Travis Bishop, had plenty of room to go around them.
When Bishop’s truck stopped at an intersection, Stierwalt approached Bishop, hoping to explain the danger of what happened.
“That’s when he (Bishop) jumped out of his truck,” said Matthew Stierwalt. “He took a swing and hit me in the face.”
When Bishop jumped out of his pickup he also left the vehicle in drive, Matthew said. The truck hit another vehicle stopped at the intersection.
As Bishop recovered and reached to get his cellphone to take a picture of Bishop’s truck, Bishop sped off. Stierwalt explained what happened to another driver on the scene.
“I believe that driver must have gone and tracked that individual down,” he said.
By the time police arrived on the scene, Bishop returned to explain his side of the story, Matthew said.
Officers charged Bishop with assault. He has since been released from the Warren County Jail, and told WCPO reporter Amy Wadas that he supports his handling of the confrontation.
Bishop said it was pouring rain when he came across the father and son. He said he honked the horn as an alert to let them know he was passing in his truck, and then he stopped at a red light.
"He (Matthew) came up, swarmed my driver's side," Bishop said. "He started hammer fisting my window and hit it about five times. I thought if I didn't do anything he would've broken my window. He kept telling me to roll down my window."
"I rolled down my window and then I tried to open my door. I got it open about a foot, and he slammed it shut," Bishop said.
He said the heated argument was too much to handle, so he jumped out of the car and punched Matthew in the cheek.
Bishop said he'll possibly hire a lawyer.
Ultimately, Matthew hopes his experience acts as a lesson for drivers and cyclists to respect each other and the rules of the road so no one gets hurt.
He said it is also a lesson for his son, a competition-winning cyclist.
“It makes us more cautious,” Stierwalt said. “It’s something that he’s going to have to learn to contend with.”