Columnist Novak Cited for Hitting Pedestrian

By Theresa Cook

Jul 23, 2008 12:21pm

ABC News’ Theresa Cook and Pierre Thomas Report:  Columnist Robert Novak said he felt "terrible" after an incident in which he allegedly hit a pedestrian with his black Corvette while driving to work in downtown Washington Wednesday.

ABC News affiliate WJLA interviewed Novak at the scene, but he told them "I don’t really know" what happened.

Asked if he hit a pedestrian, Novak said, "That’s what they [police] said, yes.  I didn’t know I hit him."

Fire officials tell ABC News the pedestrian is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.  Novak said the man is at the hospital.

The incident occurred near 18th and K Streets Northwest, police told ABC News.  According to Novak, a bicyclist stopped him down the street from the scene to tell him that he hit someone.

The 77-year-old conservative writer, interviewed after he exited the passenger seat of a police cruiser, said his citation was for "failure to yield the right of way." 

Novak, who was unhurt, said "I feel terrible," and mentioned that he’d try to check on the man’s condition later.

After receiving the citation and briefly speaking to reporters, Novak returned to his vehicle and drove away.

According to the Washington Post’s "The Reliable Source" column, this was not Novak’s first pedestrian run-in.

Dubbing him "Road-Rage Bob," the column reported in 2001 that Novak lobbed an expletive at a pedestrian crossing the street in downtown Washington. 

Novak explained the incident to the paper, saying, "He was crossing on the red light. I really hate jay walkers. I despise them. Since I don’t run the country, all I can do is yell at ‘em. The other option is to run ‘em over, but as a compassionate conservative, I would never do that."

"The Reliable Source" also quoted Novak in a column two years later, after he retuned from a Florida trip in which he completed some race car driving lessons that he had won in a charity auction.

"I’ve wanted to be a race car driver all my life, and anyone who has watched me drive can tell you that," told the paper in 2003. 

As for any basis for road rage title the column had given Novak:  it "was a figment of your imagination," he told the paper.

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