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Texas crash that injured 6 cyclists was caused by teen motorist trying to 'roll coal,' witness says

Police investigating, no charges filed yet
Houston area bicycle crash
Posted at 9:58 AM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 19:23:01-04

Six cyclists were injured just outside of Houston, Texas, on Saturday when a truck plowed into the bikers, according to the Houston Chronicle, KTRK-TV and KPRC-TV.

The news outlets report that the incident occurred in Waller County, Texas, which is located just northeast of the Houston area.

An eyewitness, Chase Ferrell, says he was riding with the group of cyclists, all of whom were training for an upcoming Ironman Triathlon. According to Ferrell, the driver — a teenager who is not yet 18 — was trying to harass the cyclists by "rolling coal."

"Rolling coal" or "smoking" refers to when a motorist intentionally blows their car or truck exhaust on a cyclist or pedestrian as a way to intimidate or mess with them.

Ferrell said he and another cyclist were riding behind the six others in their group. Moments before the crash, Ferrell claims the truck's driver blew black smoke toward him. He said the driver tried to do the same thing to the larger group of cyclists but instead accelerated right into them.

The Chronicle reports that of the six cyclists who were injured, four were hospitalized. Two of those cyclist had to be airlifted to nearby hospitals because of the severity of their injuries.

"The kid on the scene was asking us if we thought he was going to jail," Ferrell told KTRK. "I said, 'Yeah. You messed up.' He was clearly sorry. Even in his mind, his initial reaction was he thought he was going to jail."

However, the Chronicle reports that the driver was not arrested. The teen's parents showed up shortly after the accident. After police arrived, the driver was questioned and allowed to leave the scene.

Officials have not yet filed any charges in connection with the accident. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told KTRK that his office is currently investigating, and findings will be presented to a grand jury.

The case has prompted outrage in Houston's cycling community. In response, the Waller County District Attorney wrote on Facebook that the "matter will be thoroughly reviewed and appropriate actions taken as soon as the investigation is completed and handed over to this office."

"I want them (the cycling community) to know they are viewed as important," Mathis told KTRK. "They deserved to be protected. That's what this office will endeavor to do once we see all the evidence and can figure what exactly happened out there on the road."