A Santa Rosa man pleaded not guilty this morning in Sonoma County Superior Court to charges in connection with the alleged assault of a bicyclist on a Santa Rosa golf course last month. Harry Smith, 82, is charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, hit-and-run, making criminal threats against the victim and driving on a suspended license.
Defense attorney Charles Dresow told Judge Kenneth Gnoss that Smith is undergoing a neuropsychological exam and he is reserving the right to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Gnoss scheduled a preliminary hearing for Nov. 8. Smith allegedly struck bicyclist Toraj Soltani, 47, with his 1997 Toyota Avalon sedan on the golf cart path of the Oakmont Golf Club on Oakmont Drive around 5:15 p.m. on Aug. 15.
Soltani was riding on Pythian Road when Smith allegedly began yelling at him and tried to hit his bicycle, according to Santa Rosa police. Soltani fled onto the golf course to escape Smith, but Smith followed him and struck Soltani with his vehicle before leaving the scene, police said. Smith was arrested Aug. 18 after a woman who also had been harassed by an elderly male driver in a gold or tan vehicle in October on Pythian Road in Oakmont contacted Santa Rosa police and provided the vehicle’s license plate. Soltani identified Smith as the driver who pursued and struck him, police Sgt. Steve Fraga said. Smith was being held in Sonoma County Jail under $1 million bail, but posted bail on Sept. 4 and is out of custody.
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