Driver accused of hitting Brazil cyclists jailed

AP News
Posted: Mar 02, 2011 10:16 AM
Driver accused of hitting Brazil cyclists jailed

The motorist accused of running down dozens of bike-riding activists in southern Brazil, injuring at least 40 people, has been detained, police said Wednesday.

A police statement says Ricardo Jose Neis was arrested in the city of Porto Alegre after a judge ordered his preventive detention. Prosecutors say they are considering charges of attempted homicide.

Under Brazilian law, suspects are not charged until police finish their investigation, which could take up to 30 days.

Neis is accused of speeding through a pack of more than 100 cyclists taking part in a Critical Mass ride Friday in Porto Alegre. Authorities say 40 riders suffered injuries including cuts and broken bones, though nobody was killed.

Neis' attorney, Luis Fernando Coimbra, has said that the cyclists were beating on his client's car and threatening him, and he acted in self defense.

However, people who took part in the ride deny anyone threatened Neis, and the lead police investigator in the case, Gilberto Montenegro, has called the suspect's story "fanciful."

Critical Mass is a movement that promotes bicycles as a means of transportation.