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Oakmont man arrested in cyclist's road-rage assault

  • Orthopedics nurse Casey Singer removes an IV from Toraj Soltani's arm in preparation for his discharge from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital on Friday evening, August 17, 2012. Soltani suffered various injuries after being run down by a motorist while riding his bike in Oakmont on Thursday.

An elderly Oakmont man was arrested Saturday in connection with the apparent road rage collision Thursday that injured a bicyclist.

Harry E. Smith, 81, is suspected of chasing cyclist Toraj Soltani 100 yards onto the Oakmont Golf Course before hitting him with his car.

Smith was driving with a license that had been suspended because of a road rage incident on Highway 101, Santa Rosa police said.

Soltani, 47, who runs Mac's Delicatessen in Santa Rosa, suffered a fractured wrist that required surgery and also severe scrapes and bruises his elbows, leg and buttocks.

Sgt. Steve Fraga said Smith had also been involved in at least two other aggressive encounters with cyclists, but none that resulted in such injuries.

"I don't know what prompted it, but we do have him identified in three cases," Fraga said. "This guy is involved in some rage toward cyclists."

"We have a compound fracture. We've got a guy chased onto a golf course 300 feet and deliberately hit and he suffered some pretty serious injuries. This one is a little bit more than a shouting match, that is for sure," Fraga said.

Soltani, who picked Smith out of a photo lineup, said Saturday he was glad that police got him off the street.

"It is a huge sense of relief, it feels good," Soltani said. "This isn't the only negative encounter he has had with cyclists and I am glad he can't do it to anyone else."

Soltani said he was riding on Pythian Road at 5:15 p.m. Thursday when a motorist came alongside and began yelling, then swerved and bumped into him, but didn't knock him off of his bike.


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