What led a 65-year-old Torrance man to go on a vehicular rampage across Palos Verdes last week is still unknown, but what is clear is that William Thomas Kelly was having a very bad day.
Beginning in Palos Verdes Estates, Kelly allegedly either sideswiped or rammed at least five cars and a bicyclist along Palos Verdes Drive West and the alcoves along the cliffs in Rancho Palos Verdes on Thursday Sept 27.
Police found Kelly passed out in his car outside a Federal Aviation Administration facility on top of Crest Road where he was arrested and booked for assault with a deadly weapon. This week Kelly was still being held on $30,000 bail.
It all started in Palos Verdes Estates at about 5:15 p.m. Thursday when Kelly approached bicyclist Doug Castile in an alley off Paseo Del Mar. Castile said he thought the black Audi sedan driven by Kelly was going to pass, but instead it clipped his left foot pedal.
At the next stop sign Castile yelled, “Hey buddy, you just hit me,” at which the motorist pinned the bicycler with the front end of his car into a bush. Then he backed up and, allegedly, tried to run him over. Castile leaped from his bike and Kelly drove over it, cracking the carbon fiber frame in half.
Through his passenger side window, Castile could see the heavy-set man was angry. The bicyclist reached for his phone to snap a photo of the license plate when Kelly asked him if he had a gun.
“At that point I thought, ‘Uh-oh this is really not a good situation,’” said Castile who then put his hands up in the air. “I said, ‘Hey, run over my bike all you want. Just leave me alone.’ Because if he’s going to ask me about a gun maybe he’s got one. He’s obviously out of his mind and I can’t move. I can’t defend myself.”
At that point, the motorist drove off and Castile called police. As officers were responding to the call, Kelly continued his reign of terror that seemed to follow a popular sightseeing route along the Peninsula.
He allegedly sideswiped a car near the Point Vicente lighthouse then drove into an alcove where people stop to enjoy the view and rammed three parked cars there, said Sgt. Mark Moffett of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lomita Station.
Kelly then turned left on Crest Road and headed up to the dome structure that serves as an FAA radar site and rammed another car in the parking lot before turning his attention to the locked gates at the federal facility, in which he apparently drove the car into head first but did not gain entry.
Moffett said officers approached the vehicle to find Kelly passed out. They took the suspect into custody without incident and called an ambulance. Alcohol and possibly sleeping pills reportedly could have been a factor.
“It’s amazing nobody was killed or injured and quite frankly the damages seem mild,” Moffet said. “It’s kind of an amazing trek this guy went on. It was just a rampage basically.”
For Castile, who rides several hundred miles per week, this unfortunately was not his only run-in with a motorist. The longtime cyclist was hit head-on by a drunk driver when he was 18. And he was among the group of cyclists that were hit in Riviera Village more than a year ago, which put a fellow rider in a coma. Castile said he’ll still be back on his bicycle, a new one this time, doing what he loves.
“From my perspective this guy basically snapped and freaked out,” Castile said. “I don’t know what he was doing.”