Mark Hardman, the challenger in the race to be commonwealth's attorney, accused incumbent Harvey Bryant on Thursday of failing "to pursue justice against drivers who injure or kill cyclists."
Hardman, a former collegiate cycling national champion, issued the statement a week after Bryant announced he did not intend to file charges in the April 19 crash that killed Daniel Hersh, an ex-SEAL and civil engineer.
"Harvey Bryant has made the decision to turn this tragedy into a travesty," Hardman said. "It is unacceptable that Mr. Bryant has refused to so much as charge the driver who killed Daniel with a misdemeanor."
Hardman, 27, was a prosecutor in Portsmouth for about five months. He was fired after announcing his bid for Virginia Beach commonwealth's attorney.
Bryant's decision outraged many in the cycling community, but he said there was no evidence the driver broke any law. The driver claimed she never saw Hersh, pedaling east on Shore Drive near Starfish Road before 6 a.m., until after the impact, Bryant said. Hersh was wearing a helmet and yellow windbreaker with reflective stripes.
Bryant, 62, said the woman passed a blood-alcohol test and there was no sign she was distracted.
He dismissed Hardman's claim, saying he'd file charges only "when there is substantial, admissible evidence... To do otherwise is considered unethical and unprofessional."
Hardman's comment "comes from someone with almost no experience in criminal law," Bryant said.