Novato man charged with hit-and-run after crashing into four bicyclists

11/02/2017

The man who swerved near Marin Roots Farm into a line of bicyclists participating in a benefit for the Marin County Bicyclist Coalition last month—injuring four of them—was charged with hit-and-run in Marin Superior Court last Thursday. Judge Kelly Simmons also raised the bail from $50,000 to $200,000 for the driver, Aaron Paff, a 21-year-old Novato resident. The executive director for the bicycle coalition, Jim Elias, said his top priority is safety. “We will continue to work with agencies and officials toward the most vigorous enforcement of the law, as we’ve done in this case.” Mr. Paff was released on bail the day of his arrest but has remained in jail since the hearing, following the increased sum. The date for his next court appearance is Nov. 29. He could face up to five years in prison if convicted of all four charges of hit-and-run. The incident incensed bicyclists—many were at the hearing last week—in large part because onlookers reported that the collision appeared intentional. Nor was it the first time that Mr. Paff has fled from trouble, a fact his prosecutor used as an argument to increase his bail last week. Mr. Paff has a pending charge from May for hit-and-run at a Novato shopping center and a violation for having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle at the time. Mr. Paff was a maintenance worker for the Marin Municipal Water District; a spokesperson this week said he is no longer employed there, though she invoked personnel policy in declining to say when or why his employment ended. Three of the four injured cyclists were at the hearing last week, including Spencer Fast, a 48-year-old from Mill Valley who suffered major injuries. After the hearing, he told the Marin Independent-Journal, “I think that the message is that the judge showed that the court takes this seriously.”