Michael Bryant charged in cyclist’s death

[attach]675[/attach]Former St. Paul’s MPP Michael Bryant appealed to the media today to respect his family’s privacy after being charged today in connection with a cyclist’s death.

Bryant, the CEO of Invest Toronto, is charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death after a tragic and bizarre series of events along Bloor St. West.

“May I ask for your understanding in not making a full statement today or taking your questions on last night’s tragic events,” he said. “At an appropriate moment, I will, of course, speak to you.

“I would, however, like to extend my deepest condolences to the family involved.”

Cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard was dragged several metres after a confrontation allegedly arose between him and the driver of a convertible near Bay and Bloor Sts. at around 9:45 p.m. last night.

After words were exchanged, the driver, believed to be Bryant, continued heading west, where a minor fender-bender occurred between the cyclist and the driver, said Constable Hugh Smith of Toronto Police’s Traffic Services. Afterward, he said, the cyclist approached the driver and grabbed hold of the car.

“He became unattached by whatever means and fell and hit the ground,” Smith said. “He received severe injuries and was transported to a trauma hospital.”

According to Smith, witnesses saw the driver leave the scene, only to pull into the Park Hyatt Hotel later, where he was taken into custody.

“There’s a lot of witness information because of the time of day and Bloor St. being a 24/7 street,” he said.

Sheppard died later in hospital, Smith said. He was the city’s first cycling fatality of the year.

Bryant is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 19.

Considered a pillar of the community, Bryant held several posts in Ontario’s cabinet, having served as attorney general and minister of both Aboriginal affairs and economic development. In provincial office since 1999, Bryant stepped down as MPP in May to take the reins at Invest Toronto.