A misdemeanor traffic citation issued to a Billings bicyclist who was struck by a Montana Highway Patrol car in November has been resolved through a deferred-prosecution agreement.
Michael Cooper, 19, was ticketed Nov. 6 for disobeying traffic regulations. The ticket was issued by a police officer who investigated the collision between Cooper's bicycle and a Highway Patrol car near the intersection of State and Sugar avenues. Cooper suffered minor injuries in the wreck.
Cooper pleaded not guilty in Municipal Court on Nov. 20 and said he was prepared to take his case to trial. He was assigned a public defender, Anne-Marie Simeon, who negotiated a plea agreement.
On Tuesday, Cooper returned to Municipal Court and agreed to the conditions of the plea deal, which called for the charge to be dismissed if Cooper obeys all traffic regulations as a bicyclist for one day.
Simeon said the terms of the agreement were unusual, but it was made possible when the trooper, Rick Starks, said he supported a deferred prosecution to resolve the case.
The agreement was signed and approved Tuesday by Municipal Judge Mary Jane Knisely.
Cooper, who does not drive a car, said Wednesday that he was pleased with the outcome of the case.
Cooper and Starks gave different accounts of how the accident happened. Cooper's bicycle was destroyed in the collision. Cooper said the Highway Patrol declined his request that it replace his bike, but a Billings business offered him a new one at no charge.