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Hempfield bicyclist’s case will go to trial

Rich Cholodofsky
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Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
David Smith of Hempfield is led away from the Westmoreland County Courthouse on Sept. 9, 2016. (Trib photo)
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David Smith of Hempfield

A Westmoreland County judge rejected a defense request to dismiss one of eight cases involving a Hempfield man who is in jail awaiting trial on accusations of obstructing traffic on county roadways while riding his bicycle.

On Monday, Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio ruled the evidence of actions the prosecution alleged about an incident in North Huntingdon was sufficient to have the case go to trial.

In a four-page order, the judge wrote the prosecution established its case against Smith, and “the commission of the crimes and that the accused is probably the perpetrator of those crimes.”

Smith, 57, was charged with reckless endangerment, obstructing traffic and other offenses for an incident on April 9, 2015. He is accused of endangering motorists as he rode his bicycle on Route 993 by traveling slower than the speed limit and preventing drivers from passing on a winding road.

The defense, as it has in the other cases against Smith that have been filed since 2012, contends he adhered to existing laws and that it was the motorists who failed to correctly interpret the rules of the road.

Bilik-DeFazio rejected the defense claims and said her ruling was in line with similar pretrial decisions rendered in the other cases pending against Smith.

Smith has been in and out of jail over the last year as he awaits his trials.

He was first jailed in July 2015 after he violated terms of his bond for continuing to be involved in incidents on local roadways as he rode his bicycle. Smith was released on bail earlier this year after he agreed to refrain from riding his bicycle during the prosecution of his criminal cases.

Earlier this month, Bilik-DeFazio revoked Smith’s bond, saying he violated those terms after he admitted to taking several bike rides in August to exercise.

In addition to charges associated with bike riding, Smith is accused of threatening the staff at a district judge’s office by taking a rock and knives into the office last year.

Jury selection for several of the cases against Smith is tentatively scheduled to begin Monday.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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