A Manhattan Beach school board member suffered a broken collarbone, broken ribs and punctured lungs after three men allegedly attempted to steal his bike in Culver City.
Bill Fournell was riding his bike on the Ballona Creek Bike Path in Culver City on July 19 when the incident occurred. Fournell spent five days at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center undergoing treatment before returning home.
Culver City Police Lt. Jason Sims told Patch the attempted robbery incident took place around 6 p.m. between the Higuera and Duquesne bridges on the bike path.
Lt. Sims also said this is not something that regularly occurs on the bike path and that the investigation is ongoing. As of July 30, the assailants had still not been apprehended.
Fournell said one of the assailants started the incident by throwing a bike into his front wheel causing him to crash. Then, the three assailants, described as juvenile male Hispanics, tried to steal his Litespeed road bike, he said. They engaged in a tug of war and the assailant relented.
Fournell told Patch he was grateful for the help of passersby who called 911 and stayed with him, "as I could not talk and was barely able to breathe due to the broken ribs and punctured lung," he wrote in an email.
Fournell rides his bike to and from his Farmer’s Insurance office in Mid-Wilshire twice a week, he said.
Though the incident has taken him off his feet, Fournell is looking at the brighter side. "I am pretty active and especially as a cyclist so being off my feet has kept me off the bike and missing time at the beach," he wrote. "Not sure when I'll be able to ride again. But all in all I am lucky as things could have been much much worse."
In his note, Fournell thanks the "friends, co-workers, and the community" who have been "so kind and generous to us during this time."
Fournell said he intends to return to work when his doctors clear him to do so, perhaps as soon as next week.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to include additional information from the Culver City Police Department, including the exact time and place of the incident.