Monday, April 13, 2009

Man Down, Road Raging Motorist Flees/Goes Home

***The following was written by my friend/teammate Heather Myer-Davis following a group ride Saturday. She posted it on her Facebook page after returning from the ride/accident/hospital.

Our friend and sponsor, Doug Smith was hit by a truck during this ride. Heather was riding with the group and witnessed this horrible event. Doug is still in ICU at Methodist and is expected to recover, but with a very long, painful journey ahead. Doug is pictured above at a a photoshoot he donated to our team earlier this year.

By Heather Meyer Davis

This note isn't going to be flowery or inspirational and there will probably be many typos and it might not make sense.

Here goes, tho.My friend Doug Smith was hit by a truck during our training ride this morning. A group of 8 of us had just left the turnaround point outside of Winterset and were headed back to DM. We were riding in a paceline on the Cumming Rd. We were in a no passing zone and were riding to the right. (The shoulder was gravel.)

Suddenly a driver came up behind us and began laying on his horn. He was driving a large truck and pulling what appeared to be anhydrous tanks. Before we knew what was happening, we were being buzzed by this guy. Then he pulled into us! NOT IN FRONT OF US-INTO US!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doug got caught by the wheels of the trailer, was thrown up (his bike literally exploding) and was then run over by the rear wheels of the trailer. The driver kept going!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I cannot even begin to describe the horror of this. I truly thought that Doug was dead and even after I knew he was breathing, I feared he would die right there in the road.

Mark Hanrahan was an absolute hero, holding Doug's hand, monitoring his pulse and breathing and, once he regained consciousness, keeping him calm.There was no oncoming traffic so there was no legitimate reason for this driver to have done this.

Some good samaritans (fellow cyclists Shalee and Marc Hobbs) pulled up and, after being told what had happened, chased down the driver. He claimed he didn't know he'd hit anyone.


You didn't notice the guy flipping in the air and being shot into the middle of the road????
You didn't notice the other cyclists throwing down their bikes and running to him?????

Doug was severely injured. He suffered a skull fracture w/concussion, a severely broken pelvis and other internal injuries. There is no evidence of any brain damage- Thank God he was wearing a helmet. He was still being treated in the ER when we left the hospital around 1:30. He was still suffering from internal bleeding that the doctors hope will stop in the next few hours. If not, he will most likely face surgery.

Doug has no memory of what happened. His concussion/shock are so severe that he has virtually no short-term memory at all right now. He continues to ask what happened to him even after being told over and over again.

Please keep Doug and his family in your thoughts and prayers. This will be a long, painful journey for them.

A Madison Co. Sheriff's Deputy was on the scene of the accident relatively quickly. The driver returned to the scene- after heading home to drop off his tanks and, apparently pick up his son or a friend. The driver was allowed to leave the scene. I believe the Deputy issued some sort of citation but I am unsure at this point.

If you are a cyclist, if you love a cyclist, if you even know a cyclist- PLEASE contact your state legislators and tell them that this bloodshed has to end!!!!

A 5-ft passing rule (if obeyed) would have prevented this. Even if the driver chose not to obey such a law, there would at least be specific penalties. This type of thing is happening far too often and drivers have GOT to be held accountable for their actions.

It feels like it's open season on cyclists in Iowa. I fear that this driver will not be charged. Madison Co. is a rural county and he is a "good ol' boy" farmer who appeared to be in his late 60's/70's.

I'm sure he'll claim it was all just an accident. Guess what, asshole? When you swerve into a group of cyclists, someone's bound to get hurt! And get hurt badly.

God dammit- I'm a wife, stepmom, daughter, sister, friend, Polk Co. homeowner, and tax-paying Iowan. I (and all my friends and even people I DON'T like, for that matter) deserve to be able to enjoy my state from the saddle of my bike without fearing for my life!!!!!! I'm mad as hell.

1 comment:

  1. Of course, since Doug got clipped by the trailer and not the truck, what's going to happen is that the driver is going to get off because he's going to claim he thought he had safely passed everybody.

    It has happened before, and not just in Iowa. About a year or so ago, near La Crosse WI, a group of four got run off the road by a man hauling a Bobcat on a trailer.
    (for more details search Google using "Alan Sagler + Vernon County" as search terms)

    The guy later pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge and got probation.