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UPDATE: Man Hospitalized Following Attack on Ballona Creek Path in Culver City

Manhattan Beach school board member Bill Fournell was hospitalized after three men allegedly attempted to steal his bike on July 19.

Bill Fournell at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center following the attack.
Bill Fournell at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center following the attack.
By Liz Spear and Kelly Hartog

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. 

Chris Manning July 30, 2013 at 05:27 PM
So sorry to hear about this. My heart goes out to this man who has clearly maintained a positive outlook despite this savage attack. There needs to be a police presence along this path. I jog on it regularly and occasionally bike down it. I've noticed an increased presence of homeless people who have set up camp as well as teenagers who hang out and drink there. In my opinion, even a police officer riding his bike up and down the path occasionally would deter crime.
Eric Hauck July 31, 2013 at 01:03 AM
Its gangs of punks Chris who did this and the homeless have nothing to do with it.I agree the police need to have 2 officers patrolling on bikes.They use to have a bike patrol
Chris Manning July 31, 2013 at 10:04 PM
That's true. I shouldn't have lumped the two groups together. I wonder what happened to the bike patrol?
Eric Hauck August 02, 2013 at 03:30 PM
I don't know Chris but I remember they had yellow uniforms.
Dino Parks August 02, 2013 at 10:39 PM
The Ballona Creek trail and bike path is a great resource that is so under-used because people have a fear of the rare criminal elements there. It's a public space and should by any understanding have a police presence there to keep it safe. The LAPD patrols (rarely) near the Marina and it would be much safer if CCPD and LAPD could occasionally patrol the length of the path.
Marcia Caldwell August 09, 2013 at 04:34 AM
This happens a lot! I used to walk this trail alone until I realized that it is an outlaw environment and I was not safe. I hope this can change.

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