Cyclist survives crash with truck
August 26, 2004
A truck driver ran over a bicyclist Thursday afternoon while making a right turn from Highway 50 into a parking lot near Tahoe Keys Boulevard.
The bicyclist, identified as a 35-year-old from South Lake Tahoe, was conscious and breathing after the accident, which occurred around 2:30 p.m. at the entrance of the Keys Liquor Market parking lot.
“The driver was turning right into the parking lot; he didn’t see the bicyclist and ended up dragging him 5 or 6 feet,” said South Lake Tahoe police Officer Brandon Auxier.
The South Lake Tahoe man was transported by helicopter to Washoe Medical Center in stable condition, according to staff at Barton Memorial Hospital.
He had been riding westbound in the bicycle lane along the highway before the collision, which resulted in the right front tire of the truck coming to rest on his right shoulder. Witnesses said the man had a cut in his mouth, injured ribs and a bulging eye.
“He was under the truck for at least two minutes,” said Theresa Stewart, an employee of the Keys Liquor Market. “While (the driver) was backing the truck off him, we held him still and told him to calm down. He was getting real nervous.”
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The truck driver, James Martell, 55, who works for Schneider National, which transports auto parts, declined to comment on the accident. The impact broke the handle bars on the specialized road bike and twisted its front tire.
South Lake Tahoe police officer Skyler Beaty said no citations had been issued for the accident but that the investigation is ongoing.
The parking lot where the accident occurred is a popular shortcut that allows drivers to avoid the light at the intersection of Highway 50 and Tahoe Keys Boulevard by taking James Avenue to Tahoe Keys Boulevard.
“People come flying through the parking lot like it’s nothing,” Stewart said. “There are people walking, kids riding bikes – you can’t be doing that stuff.”
The accident limited westbound traffic on Highway 50 to one lane for about 45 minutes.
– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org