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Society

Driver Who Rammed Bicyclists in Arizona Race Has DUI History

PHOENIX — Authorities on Monday identified the man accused of plowing his pickup truck into a group of bicyclists taking part in a weekend race in an Arizona mountain town, critically injuring several riders, and court records show he has a criminal history of driving while intoxicated.

Shawn Michael Chock, 35, fled the crash Saturday in Show Low, which is about a three-hour drive northeast of Phoenix, and was shot by police as they chased him, said Kristine Sleighter, a police spokeswoman. Chock, who lives in nearby White Mountain Lakes, is still hospitalized in stable condition, and authorities were trying to determine a motive for the crash.

Prosecutors have been working with police investigators, but Navajo County Attorney Bradley Carlyon said his office typically does not charge hospitalized suspects until they are discharged.

Online court records in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, show someone matching Chock's name and age has a history of arrests for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and assault. In 2007, he was indicted on aggravated assault. Several months later, he was charged with disorderly conduct with a weapon and pleaded guilty to a reduced charge.

In 2010, three DUI-related charges, including having a third DUI, were dropped as part of an agreement where Chock pleaded guilty to felony aggravated DUI and shoplifting. He also pleaded no contest to aggravated assault. 

Records show Chock was given probation in 2012 but violated the conditions of it in May 2013. According to court paperwork, Chock rejected a chance at continuing probation and requested prison time. He was sentenced to two years and eight months but got more than 280 days credit for time served before sentencing. Online Arizona Department of Corrections records indicate he went to prison in May 2013 but was paroled in October 2014.

On Saturday, Chock is accused of speeding his truck into bicyclists gathered just before 7:30 a.m. for the annual 58-mile (93-kilometer) Bike the Bluff competition. It's the state championship road race, which determines Arizona's champion for the year in categories like professionals, men, women and teens and drew hundreds of participants. Witnesses described seeing the bodies of cyclists flying left and right.

Tony Quinones, a cyclist who saw the crash, said some riders wondered at first whether the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. But Quinones said he saw the man speed toward the cyclists. 

"He went right at us," Quinones said.

Seven cyclists were rushed to hospitals, and six were listed in critical condition. The other was in stable condition. Sleighter said she had no update on how they are doing.

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident involving our riders," race organizers said on their website. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected" 

After crashing into the bicyclists, the driver of the pickup hit a telephone pole, and cyclists ran up to the truck and started pounding on the windows, screaming at the driver to get out, witnesses say. 

Quinones said the driver hit the accelerator and backed out, drove down the road, made a U-turn and then headed back toward the cyclists but did not hit them again and drove away.

He was shot by police outside a nearby hardware store. Chock did not comply when officers tried to arrest him, Show Low spokeswoman Grace Payne said, but authorities have not yet given details on the circumstances that led to the shooting.

The Associated Press called a cellphone number listed for Chock, which didn't appear to be set up, and left messages with two people who may be his relatives.

In a June 2020 post on a Facebook page that appears to belong to Chock, he wrote of being a few weeks away of being 30 months sober and feeling "on top of the world."

"Only god can take me out," Chock wrote. "Man I love sober living."

Show Low police say they are turning the investigation over to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

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