Local authorities have filed charges against a Casper man who allegedly struck a cyclist while driving his truck in May, according to a police report released Friday.
Michael Allen Carpenter, 25, is charged with reckless driving, driving with a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident that caused an injury.
Carpenter pleaded not guilty Friday to the charges in Natrona County Circuit Court. He faces up to two years in prison if convicted.
The cyclist, whose name has not been released, is recovering.
Carpenter has maintained his innocence, claiming someone else was driving the truck when it struck the bicyclist, according to the report. Two women who were in the truck at the time of the crash have told investigators Carpenter was driving the truck. A witness said a man was driving the vehicle.
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The May 29 crash happened near East Yellowstone Highway and Beverly Street. The cyclist was taken to Wyoming Medical Center.
He had been riding near a curb when he was struck from behind by a truck in the White's Mountain Motors parking lot. According to witness statements in the police report, the cyclist was thrown on top of the truck and then fell down the side of the vehicle to the ground. The truck did not stop immediately after the crash, and the bicycle was stuck under the vehicle.
Witnesses then saw the truck stop in front of Sam's Auto near the intersection with Beverly and said two women and a man got out and ran away. The women were chased by witnesses and caught. Witnesses and police were unable to find the man that evening.
Both women admitted to being drunk when interviewed by police that night.
One woman told investigators she didn’t know why Carpenter struck the bicyclist because he was easily visible. She said she and the other woman yelled for Carpenter to stop the truck after it hit the cyclist.
The woman initially told police Carpenter was not driving the car. When officers told her they didn’t believe she was being honest, she asked if she could have any charges against her related to the incident dropped. After the officers assured her they would talk to the charging officer, the woman said Carpenter was the driver.
She said she didn’t know if Carpenter was drunk at the time of the crash.
The other woman told police Carpenter was the driver and that he was “very intoxicated.” She said Carpenter was speeding on Yellowstone Highway and swerved and hit the man on the bike.
Carpenter eluded police until June 10, when he was arrested for allegedly stealing items from a Wal-Mart store and assaulting a loss prevention agent. He told police he hid because he knew the women were trying to blame the crash on him. He claimed one of the women was driving the truck and that he had advised her to slow down because he knew “something bad was going to happen.”