Update: Sunset Hills Mayor Indicted; Faces Felony Assault Charges In Incident With Cyclist
Updated on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014:
Sunset Hills Mayor Mark Furrer was indicted by a St. Louis County grand jury Wednesday. Ed Magee, a spokesperson for the St. Louis County Prosecutor's office, confirmed the indictment Friday. Magee said a judge signed the indictment Thursday and the case will now move to the circuit court.
Update from Wednesday Oct. 1, 2014:
Sunset Hills Mayor Mark Furrer was charged with two felonies Wednesday in St. Louis County Circuit Court. St. Louis County prosecutors filed the charges in connection to an encounter with cyclist Randy Murdick on Gravois Road in late July.
Murdick has alleged that Furrer swerved his car into Murdick on July 29, 2014, knocking him off the road. Court documents show that Furrer has been charged with second degree assault and first degree property damage.
Murdick’s attorney, Michelle Funkenbusch, said she and her client are happy that the prosecutor’s office sees what Furrer did as a crime.
“This is a vindication for what Randy has been saying all along, that this was intentional, and that he purposely ran him off the road,” Funkenbusch said.
An attorney for the mayor said that Furrer would like to respond to the charges but he has been advised not to comment until the case is settled. Speaking on the mayor's behalf, Tom Magee said that Furrer denies the charges and they plan to vigorously defend the matter.
Things “did not happen the way it’s being portrayed, and there’s another side to the story that the jury will hear if and when the case goes to trial,” Magee said.
Furrer has not been arrested, but he did receive a summons Wednesday to appear in court October 30, 2014.
Original story published on July 30, 2014:
A well-known competitive cyclist in the St. Louis region is claiming that the mayor of Sunset Hills, Mark Furrer, tried to run him off the road.
Randy Murdick said he was riding on Old Gravois Road near the border of Sunset Hills and Fenton around 4:00 Tuesday afternoon when Furrer pulled his Mercedes pulled alongside him, yelling, "get off my [expletive] roads."
Murdick, who said he was obeying all traffic laws, responded with an expletive of his own. That's when Furrer allegedly swerved his car into Murdick, knocking the cyclist off his bike. Murdick said the mayor drove off, but returned to the scene a short time later.
Furrer did not return St. Louis Public Radio's request for comment. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he did not hit Murdick. he also told the paper that the biker grabbed onto his car during the incident. He said Murdick had run a stop sign and that he was the one to begin yelling obscenities.
Murdick said he thought something was off when more than one police car responded to the accident.
"When we were there, they didn't tell me anything. They kept me separated, when all of sudden he's just in his car and he's just driving away," Murdick said. When the responding officers told him he'd get all the information when the police report became available seven days later, Murdick called an attorney and went to the city's police station to get more details. That's when he learned that Furrer was the driver.
Murdick said he has no confidence that the department will properly investigate the case.
"Have you ever been in a car wreck where they wouldn't give you insurance, they wouldn't give you his name?" he said. "They didn't even give him a ticket."
The responding officers also did not perform a Breathalyzer test, but chief William LeGrand said it wasn't necessary in this case.
"A Breathalyzer is done when there are [indications] that the driver that's involved is impaired," LeGrand said. "If you don't see indicia of that, you don't generally do a Breathalyzer." He said he trusts that his officers would have done the test if they believed Furrer was drunk. He said the department will conduct a fair and thorough investigation.
Murdick, who is a state mountain biking champion, suffered a torn Achilles tendon and a badly bruised tailbone. His attorney said he won't be able to ride for at least four weeks.
Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann