SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Ramona man should be convicted of reckless driving for illegally passing a car on the right shoulder of state Route 67 and hitting a bicyclist, a prosecutor said Friday, but a defense attorney said the accident happened after his client's truck brushed up against a car vying for position as the road narrowed to one lane.
In his closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Ted Fiorito said 51-year-old Douglas Lane struck and seriously injured Ambika Sundaresan as she rode in an 8-foot-wide lane on the right shoulder of the road after two lanes merged into one.
"You're aware of the risk and you ignore it," the prosecutor told the jury. "The defendant was driving recklessly."
Witnesses to the Oct. 26, 2013, crash testified that Lane -- driving a Dodge Ram 3500 -- came up on the right of a Volvo about 9:45 a.m. after turning left onto northbound SR 67 from Poway Road, Fiorito said.
Lane "gunned" his engine and passed on the right, his passenger-side mirror hitting Sundaresan in the back of her head and sending her to the ground, the prosecutor said.
Sundaresan -- who was wearing a helmet -- suffered a fractured vertebrae, fractured clavicle, broken leg and a concussion.
Fiorito said that after the crash, Lane kept driving for nine miles until the driver of the Volvo got him to pull over.
Defense attorney Paul Pfingst told the jury that Lane was a hard-working man who was briefly distracted when his truck bumped the Volvo.
Lane testified that he didn't hear anything when passing the bicyclist and therefore kept driving toward home.
Pfingst said his client had traveled down that stretch of state Route 67 for years without incident.
The defense attorney suggested that maybe the driver of the Volvo jockeyed for position at the merge because he didn't want to get stuck behind Lane's large truck.
Following an investigation, a warrant was issued for Lane's arrest and he was taken into custody on Jan. 4.
Lane faces up to three years in prison if convicted.
Jury deliberations were under way in the courtroom of Judge Peter Deddeh.
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