Today's hit and run
I'll come back to the belated story of the vacation later. Today I saw some low-life hit a cyclist and drive off.
Bradley Cox and I were bringing up the rear of the Sunday ride at the time of the incident. We had stopped at the intersection of 185 and 203 before making the left turn to climb Dead Rooster Hill. Bradley was leading, and we had gone something more than 100 yards along the straightaway when I suddenly heard squealing tires approaching us very rapidly.
I knew. I heard the tires and thought, this is bad, this is really, really bad. I yelled, "Get off the road now," and yanked Stripe hard to the right. I managed to get about a yard off the roadway. Bradley was just leaving the asphalt when his rear tire was struck by the right front bumper of a gold Toyota Camry.
The car had slowed to maybe 30 mph by that point, but still. Bradley was pitched off to the right, bike and all. Where he went off the road there was tall grass and a slight embankment, which soaked up much of the impact - if you're gonna have this kind of moment, you can't pick a better spot.
Thankfully, Bradley was clear and lucid the whole time. He sat up and immediately called for someone to get the car's information.
It later emerged that the Camry that struck him, and the dark blue or black pickup truck that was pursuing it, had been observed traveling at high speed moments before by a motorist who stopped and gave us assistance. As Tim Hall, Good Samaritan and general nice guy put it, "if I'd pulled out of my driveway 10 seconds earlier it would have been bad." Other motorists later estimated his speed as approximately 100 mph.
The skid marks looked to be something like 50 yards or more long, indicating that the driver had rounded the corner, saw us and slammed on brakes. That locked them up, skidding out of control. The left tire skid mark at the impact point was to the right of the centerline of the lane. His right tire had come off the road, chewing a tire track in the grass and putting him just enough out to hit Bradley at the very edge of the road.
The driver, and the truck that appeared to have been pursuing him, both left the scene at high speed.
Other motorists came to our assistance, calling 911 and helping with traffic control. Juan Adriatico, a cyclist who was driving by, turned his vehicle around and pursued the car, giving the Highway Patrol a partial license plate number. He estimated the driver, who realized he was being pursued again, was pushing the Camry to 120 mph.
The EMTs arrived and determined that Bradley showed no signs of serious injury. His Specialized bike, however, did not fare so well. The left chainstay is broken, and the components will probably grace a new frame in the near future.
We waited a while longer for the HIghway Patrol to arrive. Trooper Jones was helpful and very interested, but we all acknowledge that catching this guy will require a lot of luck.
Bradley will probably be a bit sore for a few days, but should be back on the road soon.
Please be careful out there. There are people out there who'll hit a 15-year-old and drive off.