Man who posted anti-cyclist videos pleads guilty to reckless endangerment
CALHOUN COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - "Ought to run him in the ditch, what I should've done, should've put him in the ditch! God, I hate bicycles!"
The man who set off waves on Facebook and YouTube after growling those words into a smart phone as he shot video was very quiet and contrite as he entered a guilty plea in Calhoun County District Court on Tuesday morning.
Michael Keith Maddox was arrested in May after one of those videos appeared to show Maddox lunging at a pair of bicycles in his pickup truck, as Maddox himself got video from behind the wheel.
Maddox was arrested for reckless endangerment. On Tuesday, he entered a guilty plea to the charge before District Judge Chris McIntyre.
Calhoun County Chief Deputy Matthew Wade said he worked out the deal, saying it was the right thing to do.
"Anytime you can change the behavior as opposed to just punishment, I think is an appropriate response," Wade told reporters afterward.
"I think it was a successful win for both sides, and the fact that the whole goal is to change behavior and to make sure people are safe, and that's what we wanted to do and want to accomplish," Wade added.
Wade says under the agreement, Maddox will attend anger management classes and will be under the supervision of the district court for an unspecified time.
If he meets all of the requirement, Wade says, the case will be "satisfied" and dismissed.
Wade says had this case gone to trial, Maddox likely would have been found guilty and would have been ordered to pay a fine and nothing more. He feels Maddox is actually punished more--"punishment through correction"--through this deal.
The cyclist in the first two videos, Darin Sims, spoke out in May after Maddox's arrest.
"To hear what was going on in his head was a little unsettling. Actually it made my blood run cold," Sims said.
Maddox eventually issued a public apology on Facebook before taking down his Facebook page and apologized personally to a local cyclists association in Calhoun County.
Calhoun County, including the the Anniston area, has focused on recent years on attracting more cyclists to the area and making more areas cyclist-friendly.
Maddox did not speak to reporters as he walked back and forth from the courtroom to a consultation room, before going before Judge McIntyre.
He left still not making comment and didn't appear to have an attorney with him. At one point, while he was in front of the judge, he turned around and held up seven fingers for reasons that are still not clear.
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