A Bayfield man is suspected of using his pickup to run bicyclists off the road in La Plata County.
Todd Grooms, 41, was free Monday after posting $5,000 bail. He is suspected of felony menacing.
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The incident occurred about 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Florida Road (County Road 240) and County Road 501, near Lemon Reservoir and Vallecito Reservoir.
Grooms apparently became irate toward cyclists and used his white Dodge pickup to threaten them and run them off the road, said Capt. Jim Ezzell, investigator with the La Plata County Sheriff's Office.
Grooms could not be reached Monday for comment.
In one instance, Grooms came within 6 inches of hitting a group of cyclists. He then turned his truck around and drove directly at them on the wrong side of the road, Ezzell said.
In another case, Grooms parked his truck in the middle of the road, exited the vehicle and began yelling at cyclists. He had a pistol holstered to his side, but he never pointed the weapon at anyone, the cyclists reported.
"He was apparently disturbed about the way they were riding their bikes," Ezzell said. "According to the victims, he was yelling at them that they needed to be riding in single-file.
"He rode extremely close to them and then drove straight at them and stopped in front of them," Ezzell said. "The people felt threatened by him and his vehicle."
At least two groups of cyclists were victimized between Helen's Store and Vallecito. The situation could have turned ugly had law-enforcement officers not become involved when they did, said a Colorado State Patrol trooper who asked not to be identified.
"I do believe the officers up there saved a life," the trooper said. "This was going to be much, much worse."
Jim Barnes, 51, a member of the Durango Wheel Club, said he was riding single-file when he heard what sounded like brakes slammed on behind him and a horn. He thought a cyclist had been hit behind him, but the truck continued to pass the cyclists south on County Road 501.
"He was screaming something like, 'I don't want to kill you' or 'I'll kill you,'" Barnes said.
Grooms then pointed his car toward the cyclists and lunged toward them before driving away.
"I remember just scrambling, thinking we were going to be hit," Barnes said.
Dave Kinsey of Durango was riding north on County Road 501 when Grooms pulled up alongside him and four other bicyclists. Kinsey said they were riding single-file.
Grooms drove alongside the cyclists, opened his door, stood up and yelled over the cab of his truck.
"He was just yelling at us and telling us we need to ride single-file," Kinsey said.
Grooms stopped his truck at an angle in the middle of the road, got out and confronted the bicyclists. He said he was angry and was fed up with cyclists.
Kinsey said he saw Grooms had a sidearm and tried to defuse the situation by saying, "Hey look, we're really sorry. We didn't mean to upset you."
Grooms drove away, but as the cyclists were making their return trip, he passed them and made an obscene gesture, Kinsey said.
"We're all using the road. We all pay taxes," Kinsey said. "It would be nice if there were dedicated bike lanes, but that's not always possible on every road."
Grooms also passed Barnes' group a second time. Barnes said as Grooms passed, Grooms said, "There you go again."
Knowing by then that Grooms was armed, the bicyclists hurried to a nearby house or out of sight.
Barnes said the cyclists were riding on a straight-away, and Grooms had plenty of room to pass.
"We were in a group, but we weren't in a group taking up the road," Barnes said. "He went out of his way to do this."
A bicycle courtesy law takes effect Thursday.
The law requires drivers to leave at least 3 feet when passing cyclists. And it requires cyclists to ride as far right as possible. Cyclists can use their own judgment in determining how far to the right is considered safe.
Anyone who was victimized or witnessed the incidents is asked to call La Plata County Sheriff's Office Investigator James Locke at 382-7020.