DALLAS - Dallas City Councilman Kevin Felder turned himself in at the Dallas County jail Tuesday morning.
The councilman is charged with an accident involving injury, a third-degree felony. An 18-year-old man who was riding a scooter on Malcolm X Boulevard accused the councilman of hitting him with his car on Feb. 13. The victim said Felder drove away after an exchange of words.
Police impounded the councilman’s car that night and a warrant was issued for his arrest on Monday. Felder’s attorney, Pete Schulte, maintains the collision never even happened.
“Councilman Felder did not strike that young man on the scooter,” Schulte said. “We’re not happy that we’re having to go into court but we’re looking forward to it and we’re looking forward to going to trial.”
A search warrant for Felder's car says the rider was struck from behind and had severe pain and swelling to his left arm. There was visible damage to the lower right side on the front of the Ford Fusion that was towed away hours after the incident.
However, Felder's attorney insists his client never hit the man and says he's not surprised by the arrest warrant.
“This is what it means: Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. No one knows so we're just going to shove it into the criminal justice system. That's all this means,” Schulte said. “Getting to probable cause to beyond a reasonable doubt is going to be impossible because Councilman Felder did not strike that young man on the scooter.”
While the search warrant describes a wide-range of potential evidence police were looking for in the car, it’s unclear what was actually recovered. Police also impounded the Lime scooter, but they have not said if they found any video from the area where the incident occurred.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, a witness heard Felder yelling, "Do you know who I am?" after Dallas police say he hit the man riding a Lime scooter with his car.
The affidavit states police were dispatched to a hit-and-run, where they found "the back end of a motorized scooter underneath the front bumper" of a Ford Fusion.
The affidavit states that the victim "was very angry and in pain," stating that Felder "remained in his vehicle and rolled his front passenger side window down to engage in the verbal dispute" before "the driver quickly left prior to Dallas Police and/or Dallas Fire Rescue arriving."
According to the affidavit, the victim told police Felder was wearing "a blue pinstriped suit," which could be the same suit he is seen wearing later that evening at a city council meeting. Police seized Felder's car during that meeting. It had noticeable damage on the bottom of the bumper on the passenger side of the car.
Felder's attorney says Felder did not hit anyone saying. He said that the 18-year-old threw the scooter at Felder's car.
"That 18-year-old was using very vulgar language towards Councilman Felder after he stopped and threw the scooter at his car. He also threw his bag down and started to reach into his bag,” Schulte said. “Councilman Felder told me he didn't know what he was reaching for and the way he was acting, so he drove off."
A search warrant for Felder's car states that the victim was hit from behind and had severe pain and swelling on his left arm and that the impact was great enough to cause damage to the right front of Felder's car.
“They say there may be paint transfer from the scooter to the vehicle, but that also could be done by somebody throwing a scooter striking a vehicle,” Schulte said.
The day after the car was seized, Schulte was asked about the damage to the car. He said it was already there before.
“That's pre-existing damage from a collision that took place in the summertime,” he said.
Schulte says he doesn't remember the details Felder gave about that collision.
“I don't remember,” he said. “I think someone opened up a door in front of him and hit it in a parking lot.”
It was clear Felder did not want to talk about the arrest warrant when he left city hall Monday. His attorney says he intentionally told Felder to wait until Tuesday morning to surrender.
“I was not going to allow him to turn himself into jail and have to spend the night and wait to be arraigned by a judge in the morning,” Schulte said.
After being processed, fingerprinted and photographed, Felder was released on a personal recognizance bond. He was allowed to walk out of jail through a tunnel rather than the normal exit where media cameras were waiting.
Schulte said that’s because he knew where he was going. He doesn’t believe his client is being given preferential treatment.
“Because I have been down here a long time and know how to get places everyone else can get to if you know what you're looking for,” he said.
The results of the search warrant are unclear. Police also have the Lime scooter the alleged victim was riding. Police have not said whether they have any video of the incident.