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Mon petit biciclette accidente

By Drew Cummings
Posted Monday, June 20, 2005

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I was biking down to Pittsboro yesterday (Saturday) morning to help with a Habitat for Humanity building project through United Church of Chapel Hill. I went through Chapel Hill and down Smith Level to 15-501. I wouldn't normally ride on 15-501 at all, but I figured that south of Smith Level Road at 8am on a Saturday it wouldn't be too bad. In fact, traffic wasn't bad and usually there was a bit of a shoulder to ride on.

I was coming around a gentle curve . . . I think between Taylor Road and Andrews Store Road . . . when the car coming the other way gunned its engines, crossed over the yellow lines, and headed straight for me.

My thought for a second was, "Surely, this guy (I say guy generically, because I didn't notice anything about the driver) is just trying to scare me and will swerve back. By the time I realized that no, he wasn't, there wasn't a whole lot to do. His left wheels were already on the dirt and he was coming straight at me. I was still thinking, "This isn't really happening," but I did start to swerve to the right to try to get out of his way. 25mph + maybe 55mph didn't give me much time. I thought perhaps I was going to make it.

The very left front corner of his car hit my left ankle, which was at the top part of the stroke. It shredded everything over the top of that big round bone on the outside of my ankle and broke a little bone in the side of my foot. They pulled plastic shards of the turn signal light housing out of my ankle at the hospital. However many milliseconds later, probably simultaneously, my left thigh sheared off the guy's driver side mirror AND the front of his car smashed through the back of my bike, ripping the seat stays and chain stays off the down tube and tearing the wheel out of the frame.

I landed in the dirt, and before anything else, looked to see him skidding back onto the road, touching his brakes a bit, and then heading off towards Chapel Hill. Then I looked down at my leg. My cycling shorts were torn away and through a perhaps 8 or 10-inch gash in my thigh a big fist of thigh muscle was bulging up into the air. My left shoe had been torn off and there was bloody grass underneath my ankle.

Though several cars did drive by, despite my frantic waving, two eventually did stop and the people in them were very helpful. I grabbed my cell phone out of my backpack and called 911, where it took several rounds of clarification before the operator understood that I had been on a bike ("Sir, are you still in your car?"), was now not, and that I was looking at the inside of my leg. I didn't know very well how to describe my location on 15- 501, but eventually assorted fire, ambulance, and state police arrived. Nice people got me to UNC's E.R. and I received excellent care there. I asked the surgeons how they got my thigh back together and apparently a med student shoved the muscle back down into my leg, another doctor/resident pulled the skin together, and a third doctor winched the skin back together with some very heavy gauge wire.

I have to talk to the State Police again tomorrow, but they generally don't seem interested at all. All he has written on the report for the other person is "unknown," when in fact he had the mirror, color, and probable make of the car (sand/brown colored 4 door American sedan . . . he thought, based on the mirror, perhaps a Ford . . . I though Buick or Oldsmobile). I'm not sure he got in contact with any county sheriff's departments or local police or did anything to try to move forward with the task of figuring out who this hit-and- run a*****e was. There's not much of a police report (yet) to turn into a news snippet.

MY POINT: I'm not sure. I can't be positive that this was done on purpose. I don't have many clues. My thigh and ankle are pretty screwed, though not permanently. Probably 6-8 weeks before they come out of their assorted braces/casts/etc. and I can start some physical therapy. I'm incredibly grateful for the few inches that saved my leg and perhaps my life, especially with a wonderful wife and a baby due in 2+ months. I wonder if riding in pairs is always safer? Be careful out there, because there are whackos who will not only yell at you and thrown *$#& out the window at you, but will actually try to end your life.

MY QUESTION: Anybody have any good ideas about how to pursue this / who to contact? I know one person who hired a private detective after a hit-and-run bike accident and actually found the person that way.

Mmmmmm . . . Oxycodone . . .

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Mon petit biciclette accidente