Surely by now, most of you know about the Robert Novak hit-and-run story. A brief recap just in case.
Syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak was cited by police after he hit a pedestrian with his black Corvette in downtown Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning.
Novak said he was a block away from 18th and K streets Northwest, where the accident occurred, when a bicyclist stopped him and said he had hit someone. He said he was cited for failing to yield the right of way.
The bicyclist was David Bono, a partner at Harkins Cunningham, who was on his usual bike commute to work at 1700 K St. N.W. when he witnessed the accident.
Novak, who was on his way to work when the incident occurred, said the bicyclist was "shouting at me that I couldn't just hit people and drive away. But I didn't know I'd hit him. I really didn't have any idea it happened until they flagged me down and told me."
Asked whether he believed Novak's account of not seeing the pedestrian, bicyclist David A. Bono said, "No, I would not believe that."
Bono said that the pedestrian, who was crossing the street on a "Walk" signal and was in the crosswalk, rolled off the windshield and that Novak then made a right into the service lane of K Street.
For his part in the incident, Novak was given a whopping $50 citation. The victim went to the hospital complaining of pain in his arm, but no visible injuries.
The whole story seemed to be fodder for some well deserved hilarity...
But then the story got serious really fast.
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak said today he has been diagnosed with a brain tumo. The diagnosis was sudden. Novak became ill Sunday during a family outing near Cape Cod, Mass. A family member called 911, and he was brought by ambulance to Brigham and Women's Hospital, where the diagnosis was made.
There's no way to know if or how much the tumor played a part in the hit and run, but it removes all the schadenfreude from the story - especially as it turned more desperate
Robert Novak has announced his immediate retirement following the diagnosis of a brain tumor, a prognosis the Sun-Times' political columnist describes as "dire."
Despite this, I recently took the opportunity to interview David Bono, WABA board member and the cyclist who chased Novak down. Bono is a Harvard educated lawyer with Harkins Cunningham and has been a bike commuter for years. He rides from his Tenleytown home to his Farragut Square office - by way of the Capitol Crescent Trail because it's too short if he goes straight there.
He rides a "Custom Spectrum made by bike maker Tom Kelly. He doesn't measure you he just looks at you on your bike." But he wasn't riding that bike on that day "I would never have put that bike in front of a car" and was instead riding his beater mountain bike.
David was riding east on K Street, approaching 18th when he saw a black corvette hit a pedestrian and then turn right onto the service lanes on K. Despite what politico reported the pedestrian was not splayed on the windshield but up onto the hood. Nonetheless, David chased him and thanks to DC morning rush hour traffic caught Novak at 17th. He claims he felt "more like Ponch from CHiPs" than Starsky or Hutch. it sounds more fitting.
He put his bike in front of the car and told someone to call 911. Novak kept trying to get around him unaware of why he was blocked in and then finally called him over. I asked David if he was scared that the guy might just plow into him to get away and he said "only later when I thought about it." Finally a cop showed up. He asked David a few questions but quickly left to deal with the traffic situation. A second officer showed up and Novak told him he didn't know he'd hit anyone. Novak, the officer and the witnesses all walked down to the scene of the accident after Novak parked his car. The officer then began to interview the witnesses right in front of Novak. We both thought that was odd, but neither of us are familiar enough with the process to know if that was the standard operating procedure.David and some of the other witnesses decided to exchange contact info in case it wasn't handled properly.
After everything settled down, David began to hear from a lot of old friends, which was fun - and from some television shows. In addition to the more tabloid-style shows, he was asked to go to New York and be interviewed on "The Colbert Report." He'd never heard of the show. "If you have kids, they'll tell you to go on" the producer said. So he watched an episode and agreed. He was on his way up on the train when they told him they couldn't do the segment. Here's what they did instead.
Sure he only gets mentioned as "the guy who rode his bike in front of Novak's car" but still that's cool. David wanted to talk about safety and how the District needs to make pedestrian safety more important
"We're a city that invites tourists to come and walk around our downtown. To stroll along among our memorials and museums. People have to look at this event and wonder if that's safe."
Also, David wanted to talk about his Ride Across America team, Cross Country Crohn's
Team Cross Country for Crohn's will compete in the 2009 Race Across America (RAAM) to raise money and awareness for Crohn's and Colitis research
which is personal to David as his fiancee struggles with Crohn's. "I was hoping the team would get the Colbert Bump" he said. That would have been great and better than any WashCycle Bump - or is it? I think it's pretty clear that the WashCycle has more balls than the Colbert Report, wouldn't you agree David?
"I'm a lawyer, perhaps I shouldn't answer that."