Cycling is a vastly popular sport in California where the sun literally shines year round. As popularity of the sport increases, so do the number of accidents caused by a negligent driver. The Santa Rosa-based Bissell Pro Cycling team is waiting on edge, hoping for the recovery of one of their teammates who was seriously injured in a recent car accident -- one of several which have occurred in the North Bay in the past six weeks, five of which were fatal.
More details have come to light this week in the accident that is filled with not only reckless actions but unusual circumstances. The accident began when the 25-year-old cyclist was heading down a hill while another vehicle was driving up. The vehicle failed to see the cyclist and struck him head-on. When the car stopped, the passenger got out to help, and the driver took off leaving his passenger and the injury cyclist on the side of the road.
Not only is the accident considered a hit-and-run, but the California Highway Patrol suspect that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash. The 36-year-old driver was identified this week with the assistance of the passenger who stayed with the victim until emergency responders could transport him by helicopter to Memorial Hospital. While his condition was listed as "fair," he remained in the intensive care unit for at least the first part of this week.
According to the California Highway Patrol, this is not the first time that the driver of the car has crossed legal lines. The driver allegedly has "an extensive criminal history" and was even driving his father's vehicle without permission at the time of the crash.
It is unclear at this point whether the cyclist will file a civil lawsuit for the damages he suffered as a result of the accident. What is clear, is that he will fight for his recovery as his family has said that he has "got a very strong spirit."
Source: Press Democrat, "DUI suspected in Alexander Valley cyclist hit-and-run," Robert Digitale, July 1, 2012