Cyclist says he was attacked on Raccoon Mountain, Marion County investigating
By Matt Barbour, Weekend Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
A Chattanooga cyclist says he was harassed and sprayed with pepper spray by teenagers while riding on Raccoon Mountain.
The case is gaining more and more attention. It happened over the weekend at the TVA reservoir on Raccoon Mountain. Now TVA Police and the Marion County Sheriff's Office are investigating.
Cyclist Anders Swanson says he was riding his bike Saturday afternoon on Raccoon Mountain when two teens in a truck started taunting him, blowing an air horn. He says they got too close for comfort.
They took off while he called Chattanooga Police. He filed a report and thought that was the end of it. But the teens came back, this time with pepper spray.
"We don't have a lot of calls there. It's not a hot spot in the county," says Marion County Sheriff Bo Burnett.
After Anders Swanson had the first run-in with the teens, he did not anticipate the end of his ride at Raccoon Mountain to be interrupted again.
"His side is, they sprayed him for no reason," says Burnett.
With a second call to 911, it was determined the Marion County Sheriff's Office should respond.
"We're working with TVA Police. We have interviewed all parties involved."
Sheriff Burnett says Swanson told investigators as he was packing up his bike to leave, the teens returned in an SUV. Swanson says one of the teens sprayed him in the face with pepper spray. But the teens told investigators Swanson was the aggressor.
"Without going into great detail, basically they felt threatened and then did use pepper spray to protect themselves," says Burnett.
Burnett says it is still early in the investigation.
"Right now it's one word against the other word and we don't know because nobody from my department was there when it happened."
Burnett says video surveillance in a parking lot caught part of the confrontation.
"We have a copy of that and we have looked at it today. My detective looked at it and I looked at it. That will be part of the case file." When Channel 3 asked if the tape was revealing, he answered, "I can't say much about it because it's still an active, ongoing investigation."
Channel 3 reached out to Swanson to get his side of the story, but he declined. He did talk with our partners at the Times Free Press. He says the boys confessed to a CPD officer. Swanson says the case stalled when it transferred from Chattanooga to Marion County investigators.
"I know none of these people involved. I want the truth to come out as bad as anybody," says Burnett.
Burnett says it is not his call on who is guilty.
"Usually that's up to a court or judge or a jury to decide."
Sheriff Burnett says detectives are still building their case and will present it to the district attorney.He says assault charges are possible but stresses it is still an open investigation. Investigators denied Channel 3's request for a copy of the incident report. Channel 3 is still waiting to hear back about receiving copies of the 911 calls Swanson made.