Enraged driver chases cyclist on golf course


Santa Rosa police are on the lookout for a driver in his 70s that chased a bicyclist onto a golf course fairway before hitting him from behind and running him into the ground.

A woman who lives along the Oakmont golf course in Santa Rosa witnessed 47-year-old Toraj Soltani get chased down the golf course fairway and toppled from behind by a driver in his 70s Thursday about 5:15 p.m.

Soltani said the enraged driver pulled along side him as he rode upright on Pythian Road with his hands off the handlebars. The driver screamed at Soltani to put his hands on his handlebars, then veered and bumped the cyclist after Soltani became upset and yelled back.

The driver — driving a car described as a Buick or Toyota Camry — then followed Soltani after an abrupt u-turn onto a cart path on the Oakmont golf course. After striking him, the car left tire marks in the golf course, Soltani told the Press-Democrat:

“I didn’t even know he was behind me until I heard the engine. He accelerated and ran into the back of me.”

As someone who has driven thousands of hours in The City professionally, I can tell you: People just get too worked up behind the wheel. Trust me: The 30 or 45 seconds — at most — that you get delayed is absolutely not worth hurting or killing someone. Or even screaming or honking your horn.

The reason you’re late is because you crammed too much into your day, not because a delivery truck driver or bike messenger happens to be doing her job.

As for the suspect in this case? Well, they might have run down the wrong cyclist. Toraj Soltani has friends in the Santa Rosa Police Department, including Sgt. Rich Celli, who described the case as “unbelievable:”

“We are actively working to find the driver. We are hoping for the public’s help.”

Soltani remains in an area hospital recovering from having a titanium plate inserted into his wrist.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as associate professor at San Francisco State University.

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