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Teen threw drink at cyclist to impress friends

BY LAUREL BLACK lblack@paducahsun.com

There were few details and no witnesses, but police managed to track down and arrest a person who allegedly threw a 32 ounce cup of ice and liquid at local cyclist Haydon Bloodworth a little over a week ago.

Hunter L. Puryear, 19, of West Paducah was arrested Tuesday. Police believe he purposely hurled the styrofoam cup, which cut Bloodworth above the left eye, from an oncoming Ford truck traveling between 40 and 50 mph. The assault happened around 7 p.m. Aug. 18 near the intersection of Old Cairo Road and Mayfield-Metropolis Road.

Puryear admitted in an interview to intentionally throwing the cup at the bicyclist to impress his friends, said Detective Capt. Matt Carter of the McCracken County Sheriff's Department.

Bloodworth, a longtime runner and cyclist, said he was riding alone and couldn't make out any details of the vehicle from which the cup was thrown. So police used surveillance footage from a nearby Huck's convenience store to find the vehicle of interest and determine who was driving it.

"Any investigation you work, you put forth your very best effort to discern the truth, and unfortunately sometimes the truth doesn't surface," said Carter, who investigated the case.

Bloodworth said he's grateful that in this instance, it did. He thanked everyone who helped investigate the case and tell his story on social media, adding that responses to his injury were nothing but supportive.

"I don't wish to ruin anybody's life over this, but the system of justice should run its course," he said. "Had (the cup) been an inch lower, it would have put out my eye."

He added that this isn't the first time he's dealt with people throwing objects at him while he's been cycling. He believes it's a fairly common occurrence for runners, cyclists and pedestrians.

"I've had all manner of junk thrown at me," he said.

Carter said the sheriff's department doesn't receive many complaints like Bloodworth's, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen - or that such behavior will go overlooked.

"Nobody who engages in a criminal act expects to get caught," he said. "That split-second decision to do something like this can be life-altering for the suspect ... and the victim."

Puryear is in the McCracken County Regional Jail and faces charges of fourth-degree assault, second-degree wanton endangerment and criminal littering.

Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641, or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.

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