Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cyclist Fatality in Lafayette

A cyclist died this week in Lafayette after an early morning accident. There is no word yet on whether the driver was charged with any crime, but the evidence (as listed in the newspaper) is sketchy. The cyclist is blamed for possibly not using lights and for not wearing his helmet, while the driver was said to have frosted windows - I guess he didn't scrape them very well. Poor visibility, presumably fog, was also cited as a factor.

I'm not the kind of guy who will attempt to decide the case based on poorly written news articles, but I do have one point to make. Not wearing a helmet may have increased his injuries, but it didn't cause him to be run down by the car.

Here is the text from the two articles.

First on the 20th:

Early morning bicyclist hit, critically injured


A bicyclist suffered a serious head injury Tuesday morning when he was struck by a car in a predawn crash at 18th and South streets.

Stephen K. Jones, 52, of Lafayette was in critical condition at Home Hospital late Tuesday.

Lt. Chris Weaver of the Lafayette Police Department said limited visibility because of darkness and the fact that the car's windows were still partially frosted are being investigated as likely contributing factors in the 5:45 a.m. crash.

Weaver said Robert M. Lovvorn, 31, of Lafayette, the driver of a Pontiac Grand Prix, was southbound on 18th Street and made a left turn onto South Street, striking the bicyclist, who was headed east on South just east of the intersection.

It appears the bicyclist struck his head on the south curb of South Street, Weaver said.

There was no major damage to the car or the bike, which was equipped with a light. Police aren't sure whether the bike's light was turned on.

Medics who responded found a bicycle helmet hanging from the bike's handle bars. Police suspect the rider was not wearing the helmet at the time of the crash.

"No skid marks; no tire marks," Weaver said. "It was probably a low-speed crash, but when you're on a bike it doesn't take much speed."

Lovvorn submitted to all required tests, and police determined that alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

South Street was closed between 19th and Main streets until about 8:30 a.m. while traffic investigators took measurements.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is encouraged to call Officer Tim Bonner of LPD's traffic division at 807-1292.

Next on the 21st:

Bicyclist dies after car crash


A bicyclist from Lafayette died Wednesday morning after he was seriously injured when struck by a car at 18th and South streets.

Stephen K. Jones, 52, suffered massive head injuries in the predawn crash Tuesday after falling and hitting his head on a curb, according to Officer Tim Bonner of the Lafayette Police Department.

He was pronounced dead at Home Hospital.

Tippecanoe County coroner Donna Avolt said Wednesday that Jones died of multiple traumatic injuries. An autopsy will not be done.

Police said limited visibility at the time of the 5:45 a.m. crash Tuesday and the fact that the car's windows were still partially frosted were investigated as likely contributing factors.

Jones was hit by a Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Robert M. Lovvorn, 31, of Lafayette as Jones was headed east on South Street, just east of the intersection with 18th Street.

Lovvorn, who was not injured, was turning left on South from 18th.

Medics at the scene found a bicycle helmet hanging from the bike's handles bars, and police suspect Jones was not wearing it at the time of the crash.

Police found no major damage to the car or the bike. The fact that neither skid marks nor tire marks were found at the scene indicate that it was a low-speed crash.


Blogger Fritz said...

Bummer. In darkness, you gotta have lights.

12:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think anytime you're out on a bike you've got to remember that accidents happen, and take the proper precautions. We all wish drivers were a little more attentive, but wishes aren't going to save your life like a helmet might.

What makes it even worse is that he had the helmet with him.

Sucks all around. I hate reading about this stuff.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, this is a tragedy, but why blame the victim?! Yes, not wearing the helmet may have played a part in his death, but it didn't cause the accident, the driver not properly cleaning his windshield impaired his visibility which resulted in the accident. I've read many of the newspaper articles about this accident, and they all focus more on the victim's poor judgement and not the driver's. Lets put some perspective on this.

2:12 PM  
Blogger hotlips said...

You are so quick to point fingers yet you was not there and have no idea what really happened. Accidents happen all the time and they are called accidents for that reason. I am sure the driver did not set out that morning with the intent to hit anyone and you have know idea what anyone involved has went through because of that very tragic second that this happened. The bible says the he without sin cast the first stone. So look at yourself before you pass judgement on others.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I don't believe for a minute that 'accidents happen'. Regardless of whether the driver meant to hit a cyclist that day, he was (according to the article) driving in an unsafe manner. The cyclist also made bad decisions that contributed to the results. This was NOT an accident, but the consequences of poor choices.

Furthermore, I am not saying that my driving or riding is above reproach. Instead, we should educate all about safer ways to travel. Saying that these type of incidents are bound to happen is just an attempt to deflect blame from those involved and instead chalk it up to fate, or god's will, or luck, or whatever. WE are responsible for all of our actions.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

One more thing, talking about 'what anyone involved has went through because of that very tragic second' has nothing to do with the causes and possible means of prevention. That was/is later, after the damage is already done.

3:57 PM  
Blogger hotlips said...

I understand what you are saying but you need to understand that yes they said the window was fogged up but have you ever been in a car and the window was fogged up you put your defrost on and the widow clears. Then after you start driving the window starts to fog up agin. I know I have had it happen many times to me. Do you keep pulling over and wait for it to clear up again. Im sure you don't. All I am trying to say is put yourself in the mans shoes. If this was you would you want people that have never met you or don't know you pass judgement. Im sure you have know idea what happen and I'm sure you was not there to see any of it and don't even know the people involved. I try to see the best in everyone and I'm am sure that the driver did not want this to happen and did not want anyone to die. This is one of those things that if you could go back in time and change it I am sure the driver would. We all have faults and I just don't think anyone has the right to point fingers at anyone else unless you walk a mile in their shoes. I always look at it this was while you are pointing one finger at another you have three fingers pointing back at you.

11:32 AM  

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