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Motorcyclist sentenced in Rohnert Park cyclist hit-and-run crash

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A Santa Rosa motorcyclist who struck a man on a bicycle may only have been partly responsible for the crash but, a judge said Monday, he broke the law by leaving the scene.

Jared Whisman-Pryor, 27, was riding his motorcycle south on Redwood Drive in Rohnert Park when bicyclist William Schilling, 68, also of Santa Rosa, cut in front of him to get to a bus stop on the other side of the street.

Whisman-Pryor hit Schilling, shattering his pelvis and fracturing his spine.

An insurance investigation found Schilling was 75 percent at fault for making an unsafe lane change and failing to yield.

But because Whisman-Pryor kept going, he was charged with felony hit-and-run causing injury.

Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite sentenced him Thursday to eight months in jail, which he can serve by electronic home confinement or other jail alternatives, she said.

The judge questioned the motorcyclist's excuse that he wasn't aware at the time that he hit someone. Prosecutors said he nearly fell off the bike upon impact.

"You had to have known," she said in handing down the punishment.

Last month, Thistlethwaite indicated she would not send him to prison. Whisman-Pryor had no criminal record and pleaded no contest to the single count.

The Oct. 7 crash happened near the intersection of Willis Road in front of In-N-Out Burger. Schilling was hit from behind and thrown at least 20 feet into the busy street.

Police identified Whisman-Pryor nearly two months later with the help of surveillance images, witness statements and debris left behind.

Whisman-Pryor contacted a lawyer soon after he learned someone was injured, said his attorney Evan Zelig. When police issued a warrant, he turned himself in, Zelig said.

He has been free on bail.

"He has done everything to make this situation right," Zelig said.

Prosecutor Scott Jamar said he came forward at the urging of co-workers and with the knowledge that he would be arrested. Jamar urged the judge to make Whisman-Pryor serve his time in jail, saying he "deserves to be punished."

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com.

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