SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – An 18-year-old bicyclist will not face criminal charges after his controversial arrest last month by a Seminole County deputy, according to the State Attorney’s Office.
Javier Lopez Ayala was arrested Feb. 8 after a Seminole County Sheriff’s deputy said two young men on bicycles ran a stop sign at the corner of Florida Avenue and Van Arsdale Street near Oviedo and then failed to stop when he attempted to pull them over.
The deputy who arrested Lopez Ayala said the teen was fleeing and eluding and resisted arrest when the deputy attempted to handcuff him. The other teen with Lopez Ayala was not arrested.
State Attorney Phil Archer said in a news release Wednesday his office will not prosecute Lopez Ayala for fleeing and eluding.
Prior to the charges being dropped, the 18-year-old resolved a civil traffic citation for failing to obey a stop sign.
Assistant State Attorney Jennie Hayes filed a notice dismissing the fleeing or attempting to elude and resisting an officer without violence charges against Lopez Ayala.
“In order to keep our children safe, it is important that all persons using the roadways be aware of and follow Florida’s traffic laws, including the need to comply with an officer’s commands,” Archer said in a statement. “However, I believe the civil (traffic) citation that was issued in this case adequately and reasonably addresses those concerns without the need to pursue any further criminal charges.”
Following the arrest, advocates called for the charges to be dropped and an apology from the Sheriff’s Office.
Lopez Ayala’s family representative, Rachael Maney, national director of Bike Law, a national network of independently practicing bicycle crash attorneys, previously told News 6 the young men simply didn’t hear the deputy’s commands.
“For anybody who rides a bicycle, it’s very easy to recognize that when you’re going upwards of 25 miles an hour on a day that is windy that you wear a beanie or balaclava under your a helmet, it’s very difficult to hear what someone is saying to you when they are stationary and you are accelerating into an interval," Maney said.
Maney said Lopez Ayala and his friend were leading the pack of about 12 riders who ride together in rural Seminole County.