EVERGREEN, Colo. (CBS4) – A Jefferson County woman could face jail time after she and her adult son were charged in a road rage incident caught on camera by the alleged victim, a bicycle rider.

Cyclist Paul Gallas talks with CBS4's Paul Day. (credit: CBS)

“I was angry,” explains Paul Gallas, the Denver area cyclist.

He was riding west on Highway 74 from Morrison to Evergreen last winter claiming to be as far to the right as possible.

Gallas was operating two video cameras mounted on his bike. One camera recorded a forward view. The second camera recorded a rear view.

What you see first is several passing cars giving Gallas a wide clearance. Then a gray car appears and brushes close to the cyclist.

“It was within a foot or so,” claims Gallas.

Words are shouted at the cyclist by a front seat passenger who’s seen leaning out the window.

CBS4 tracked down the man who freely admits to being the passenger in the gray car.

“Just messing around, having fun,” says Erick Witaschek.

Witaschek and his mother Cheryl were charged by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office following the incident.

Gallas shared his video with law enforcement.

After reviewing the pictures, he realized he’d recorded a readable license plate.

Erick, the adult son, faces a charge of disorderly conduct. But his mother has been charged with a more serious charge of reckless driving.

If convicted she could face a maximum penalty of $300 fine and or 90 days in jail, plus 8 points on her Colorado driver’s license, according to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

“I know I’m going to request a jury trial because I never intended putting any fear in this man,” says Cheryl Witaschek.

An image from Paul Gallas' camera that apparently shows Erick Witaschek (credit: CBS)

Gallas tells a different story. He claims his video documents an unprovoked road rage incident directed at him.

“The driver decided to squeeze me as close as possible and intimidate me with her vehicle, while the passenger shouted some obscenity at me.”

CBS4 asked Erick about the apparent profanity he appears to be shouting at the cyclist in the video.

“I haven’t seen the video, I don’t remember exactly what I said,” he responds.

If you listen closely to the video you can hear the cyclist shout out “Gotcha on camera!” right after the incident.

So was Gallas rolling video in a deliberate attempt to catch somebody being a jerk?

“Absolutely not,” he tells CBS4.

Instead, he says he was simply making a training video which could be played back on a monitor for someone riding a stationary bike.

But this recorded confrontation shows footage collected for one purpose can quickly become incriminating evidence.

Erick Witaschek and Cheryl Witaschek talk with CBS4's Paul Day. (credit: CBS)

“Letting people know they may be caught on video might just change the way people behave on the road,” says Gallas.

The car driver insists she did nothing wrong.

“Do I have to get a car cam to defend myself?” she asks.

But convincing the jury — after they’ve been shown the video — may be an uphill battle.

Web Extra

David Newcomer, Executive Director of Team Evergreen Bicycle Club, talks more about the friction between cyclists and vehicle drivers on Colorado roads in an interview with Paul Day below.

Comments (217)
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  4. Concerned Cyclist says:

    I have always heard that Colorado was a fitness state. From the comments above it seems like you can’t escape deep south redneckisicsim. This cyclist had video evidence that he was in the right and the car purposely encroached on him for the sake of harassment. Even the ladies son said ‘we were just having a bit of fun’, I guess most of you think it’s fun to endanger peoples lives. In protest, all you anti cyclists should break your kids bicycles and buy them motorized go karts (licensed, registered and taxed of course)

  5. Mike Hawk says:

    Bike guy needs to get his smelly buttocks off of the public picnic table in my opinion!

  6. RalphE says:

    Bikers: you are the 1%.

    Of the remaining 99% of us, 90% wish you would stop inconveniencing us in pursuit of your hobby. The other 9% don’t drive.

    Roads were designed for CARS (and trucks) – vehicles that can go 35-75mph. People don’t ride their horses, red wagons, or pogo sticks on roads, nor should they.

    Bottom line: bicycles should be illegal on most roads, especially two-lane narrow roads like the one in the video. It’s time we the people take back the roads for their intended use and quit letting a snobbish, tiny minority put our safety at risk!

  7. johnny says:

    She was nowhere near him; you can see that she nearly crosses the center line to go around him.

    He has absolutely no case against the driver. Maybe he has some case against the son for shouting at him, but I didn’t realize that was illegal?

    He seems like another self-entitled, self-aggrandizing, and annoying bicyclist to me – it’s hard for me to believe that producers at that news station found this newsworthy.

  8. Kile says:

    She didn’t make contact with him. What’s the problem?

  9. JohnF says:

    Oh good golly, there was plenty of room between them if he was riding on the white line. Notice that the other cars crossed the yellow line, something ILLEGAL. They were nearly on the yellow line and would have been where anyone else would have been if there was on coming traffic. This cyclist is WRONG. We’re these people jerks for yelling at the guy, probably, but there is no law against that. If there was less than a foot distance between them then I would say the cyclist was in fact hogging the road and the motorist SHOULD HAVE YELLED AT HIM.

    1. WagTheDog says:

      JohnF, you’re exactly the kind of pig we’re talking about. And it’s not illegal to cross the yellow line – it’s allowed for making turns and for avoiding vehicles and obstacles. Go to school. Better yet, drop dead.

  10. donttreadonme says:

    What’s the argument here? You knuckleheads really think you have the right to harass someone simply because they’re on a bike?
    h
    Nearly every time I ride on the road I have to put up with idiots “just having some fun’ at my expense, or endangering my life.

    If all drivers had to assume every bike they came across was rolling video on them, they’d be a lot better behaved.

    I saw GoPro’s on sale at Target the other day. EVERY rider should get one.

  11. Greg says:

    She did it because she is jealous her fat but won’t fit on a bike seat.

  12. sgtredbluered says:

    Good work, Paul.

  13. mallard says:

    threaten a cyclist with a vehicle = felony attempted manslaughter

    that should wake up some of the clueless drivers and keep them from voting or owning a gun.

  14. keydl says:

    I sed the split as being mostly caused by eco-terrs that wish to force everybody to ride a bike, they give me grief for riding an uggly assembled from parts with a motor that will push it down the road at over 50 mph. The motor is hot rodded.

    I have a class A ticket and currently live in the 7 ft 7 inch x 9ft 8 in sleeper on a hotshot rig with a 26 ft box with air brakes and the front pig changed out for an air lift axle and am getting close to 3,500,000 paid miles. So the ‘imaginary’ carbon footprint is small compared to some that rant about forcing change. Traffic engineering can no longer time traffic lights as Dodge City did in the 50”s and 60’s when they posted that the lights were set at 29 mph.

    Yes I talk to some of these people, but when they don’t pay the rent I have NO money to lend nore will I load their dirty stuff on my truk which has lead to some fights over attempted theft of the truck. but at 68 they hurt more and I do more damage to finish quicker but it is still close to $300 to fix he truck.

  15. mallard says:

    drivers who behave like this should be hobbled so they can no longer drive. immaturity behind the wheel can get people killed so its better that the petulant and childish take public transportation…as long as they dont end up needing some amber lamps.

  16. Wayne says:

    Passing a bicycle on the road should be done just like you would pass children walking on the shoulder of a road. Would it be prudent to pass children walking along the edge of road with 24 inches of clearance when there is no oncoming traffic? Many cyclists have been hit by cars passenger mirrors at one time or another. Where has common sense gone?

  17. Tim Goeppner says:

    Cyclists in San Francisco are arrogant A-Holes who still throw their monthly Friday evening tantrum through downdown called “critcal mass”…blocking intersections and generally being a pain in the ass to everyone else. Now they’ve gotten the dumb ass city coucil to take up precious lane space on already narrow streets for “bike lanes” to placate these loud mouth, arrogant SOB’s. And they wonder why people dislike them so much?

  18. Chet says:

    Last time I heard it was still constitutional to tell yell at someone who is insisting on using too much of the roadway. The footage is the best evidence for the DA not to foolishly take this to trial and waste the taxpayers money. The driver gave as much room as the other drivers when passing the cyclist. The passenger just used poor judgement as did the cyclist who seems to have an axe to grind with motorists.

    1. WagTheDog says:

      You need to get your eyes checked, Chet.

    2. johnny says:

      Absolutely correct! Plenty of room, the bicyclist is a self-entitled jerk.

  19. Mike says:

    I am an avid mountain biker and smart enough to keep my distance from autos. Road bikers don’t possess such intelligence and therefore get what they deserve.

    1. captain pickles says:

      Right On !!!

    2. WagTheDog says:

      Mike, your arrogant stupidity is why they make mountain bikes in the first place. People like you don’t belong on the road.

  20. Jimmy says:

    I used to watch this cyclist traverse an extremely-bust boulevard at 5:00 PM (rush hour) every day. He wore his cute little cyclist helmet and his cute little cyclist shorts and had one of those high-tech bicycles of which he was so proud as he peddled through traffic with a smug smile on his face while creating a hazard and slowing traffic to a crawl. And…then one day i saw him after work – being extracted from under a pickup truck. Seems like our cyclist buddy isn’t so smug now. I didn’t feel sorry for him – not one bit.

  21. abaliaVom says:

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  22. SR says:

    Many cyclists disregard traffic laws. Those are the jerks that make motorists hate cyclists. I used to cycle until I moved to Colorado because there are too many moron cyclists here and someone’s going to get killed because of it. CYCLISTS SHOULD HAVE TO TAKE A TEST ON CYCLING LAWS BEFORE THEY ARE ALLOWED ON PUBLIC STREETS OR HIGHWAYS. I just saw one run a red light on the way home today. Get a clue, cyclists!

  23. M says:

    None of my comments pertain to the video directly. The passenger verbally harassed the cyclist with out provication, the car didnt seem to encroach on the cyclist much but the car was wrong to hassle the biker.

    Im talking about the issue in general. “shareable” is subject to interpritation.

    In summary again: DONT RECTREAT IN THE ROADWAY, GET OVER AND LET CARS PASS.

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