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Vernon doctor accused of road rage

Vernon Law Courts
April 23, 2013 - 2:13 PM

"He's holding him up by the helmet with (one) hand, and punching with his other. He was holding him up like a rag doll."

Driving along Highway 6 last summer, Ansel Kelman witnessed an unusual confrontation: a cyclist beating on a motorcyclist.

Beating on him hard, as Kelman described in Vernon Provincial Court, standing up to demonstrate the under-cut style punches the cyclist was hammering the motorcyclist with. The cyclist was later identified as Philippe Lepage, a Vernon doctor. He is charged with assault causing bodily harm. His trial began Monday.

The motorcyclist, Larry McCulloch, tells InfoTel News he suffered tremendous injuries as a result of the fight, which erupted after a close call in which he had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting Lepage.

Crown counsel Howard Pontius asked Kelman to take the court through the incident, asking him to describe it all as if through the lens of a video camera.

The punches weren't the first thing Kelman saw. As he approached Kalamalka Lake Road in his truck July 4, he saw the cyclist lunge off his road bike "like a cat pouncing" and knock the motorcyclist and his bike onto the ground.

"(The cyclist) was shoved into the traffic lane," Kelman said. "If I had been driving two seconds faster, I could've run him over."

As he pulled over and stopped his truck, Kelman watched the assailant punch the motorcyclist five to six times.

"He's holding him up by the helmet with (one) hand, and punching with his other. He was holding him up like a rag doll," Kelman said. "The motorcyclist was pinned under his bike."

Something that stood out in Kelman's memory was the immense difference in size between the victim and the assailant. He estimated McCulloch's weight at around 120 lbs, and said he'd be surprised if he was taller than five feet. "He's extraordinarily small," Kelman said. Lepage, meanwhile, was pegged at six feet tall and over 200 lbs.

Kelman broke up the fight and said McCulloch was badly wounded. "He was bleeding from his chin (and) he sounded like a frog, he'd been hit in the vocal chords."

He said Lepage tried to ride away, but he told him to stay until police arrived.

The trial before judge James Threlfall, is expected to conclude Tuesday afternoon. Lepage's defense, Darren Kautz suggested to Kelman that McCulloch's injuries could've been sustained in a crash before the fight took place, but Threlfall dismissed the question.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call (250)309-5230.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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