UT professor charged with hit-and-run

Alberto Long

Police say a UT professor is behind a hit-and-run incident that left one bicyclist injured on North Lamar Boulevard near West 10th Street on March 26.

According to an affidavit for warrant of arrest and detention filed March 26, communication studies professor Richard Cherwitz hit a bicyclist while driving on North Lamar Boulevard and fled the scene. He was charged with failure to stop and render aid.

Witnesses at the scene said at around 3 p.m. a bicyclist was struck by Cherwitz’s vehicle as he turned onto West 10th Street. The bicyclist, identified as Abigail Wilkerson-Penhall, claims to have suffered a hard blow to the abdomen, which left bruising and pain. The impact knocked Cherwitz’s front license plate off, which police dispatch traced back to Cherwitz’s name and home address. 

According to the affidavit, a police officer went to Cherwitz’s home on the day of the incident. A vehicle matching witness descriptions was parked on the curb with its front license plate missing. 

The affidavit also included details regarding Cherwitz’s arrest. According to the affidavit, Cherwitz approached the officer and asked if he was looking for him regarding an incident on 10th Street and North Lamar Boulevard. The officer then asked what Cherwitz meant, and Cherwitz responded by saying he was on 10th Street when someone had made a rude gesture at him with their hand. After acknowledging that the missing license plate was a result of the incident, Cherwitz was read his Miranda rights. He then refused to speak to the officer. 

According to the Travis County District Clerk’s office, Cherwitz contracted a third-party bail bond service to post his $5,000 bail. As of press time, Cherwitz has not appointed any legal counsel. He has a hearing at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals scheduled for April 10. 

Cherwitz, who taught his regular classes last week, could not be reached for comment.