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Alleged drunken driver almost wiped out bicyclist, Madison police say

Police siren lights light bar squad car

A bicyclist on East Washington Avenue Friday night almost was wiped out by an alleged drunken driver, who crashed into a light pole and sign, ran from the crash before getting arrested.

Benjamin Kallman, 42, was cited for operating while intoxicated, second offense, Madison police said.

The incident happened around 9:40 p.m. Friday in the 800 block of the main East Side thoroughfare.

"The bicyclist was forced to ditch his bike as he pedaled on East Washington Avenue," said police spokesman Joel DeSpain. "He told an officer 'I thought it was gonna (expletive) hit me.'"

The van came within two feet of the bicyclist as Kallman allegedly sped down the avenue before he lost control and the van started fishtailing, leaving the pavement, hitting the pole and sign then coming to a stop on the sidewalk.

"The driver and passenger walked away but the bicyclist followed them until he could see police making contact with them," DeSpain said.

Back at the crash site, bystanders and people in the variety of entertainment venues along East Wash cheered an officer who reached inside the van to pull at the steering wheel to get the van's horn from constantly honking.

"It had gotten jammed in the crash and had been continuously sounding in the popular night club and restaurant zone, from the time of the collision until the officer remedied the situation," DeSpain said.

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