Manhattan Beach School Board Member Attacked in Attempted Bicycle Theft

Bill Fournell suffered a broken collarbone, broken ribs and a punctured lung

A Manhattan Beach school board member said Tuesday he suffered a broken collarbone, broken ribs and a punctured lung while fighting off thieves who tried to take away his bicycle in Culver City.

Thieves surprise attacked Bill Fournell as he rode his bike on the Ballona Creek Bike Path in July. Fournell said the thieves slammed another bike into his front wheel to get him to stop.

"I was pissed off, so I think that's why my initial reaction was to not let them take the bike," Fournell said. "Then I started to get scared, because it's a little isolated."

Fournell held the thieves at bay until they gave up. A passerby called 911 and stayed with him until medics arrived.

Fournell was hospitalized for five days. The assailants -- three juveniles -- have not been caught.

Cyclists who use the popular bike path told NBC4 they were concerned, but police said the bikeway is not unsafe.

"We consider to be extremely safe," said Lt. Jason Sims of the Culver City Police Department. "Within the last six months, or year for that matterm we haven't had any type of violent crimes on the bike path. So we certainly consider this to be an isolated incident."

Nonetheless, police said they had stepped up patrols in the area.

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