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Cyclist injured in Angier crash questions how accident happened

Posted February 21
Updated February 23

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— One of four cyclists struck by a car in Angier Saturday was recovering Sunday night and said that, even though it all happened so fast, he has distinct memories of the moment he realized he’d been hit by a car.

Joel Lawrence said he was second to last in line on a planned 125-mile cycling route with friends Christopher Graham, Lynn Lashley and Michael Dayton when the incident happened at Massengill Pond Road and Sue Drive.

“We were basically riding along the white line on the right-hand side of the road as opposed to being in the middle of the road,” Lawrence explained.

It was just like many other cycling outings, he said, until something didn’t feel fight.

"I don’t remember hearing the car, but I do remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s something going on here,'" he said.

Lawrence said the group was riding a couple of bike lengths apart, but he remembers feeling a push forward and being concerned that he had run into Lashley, who was ahead of him in line.

"All of a sudden, I thought, 'My gosh, I’m going to run into Lynn,’ but she was several lengths ahead, so that’s when I got nudged forward by the car," he said. "I remember seeing Lynn flying through the air, and I think I saw Mike going down ahead of me."

The State Highway Patrol said that all four cyclists were thrown from their bicycles after getting hit by a 1992 Ford Crown Victoria driven by 50-year-old Donnie Marie Williams.

"I saw a car stop way up the road, and then a lady got out, and she came back, and she was just really carrying on," Lawrence recalled.

As their bicycles lay crumpled on the side of the road, Lawrence remembered Lashley and Dayton not looking well at the scene. Dayton was listed in critical condition at WakeMed Tuesday morning night, and Lashley was listed in serious condition.

As his friends recover, Lawrence said he still has questions about how the incident could have happened.

"If I looked back and this had happened and we were riding four-abreast and messing around, but that was not the case this time. We were single-file, spread out," he said.

Highway Patrol officers said charges are pending against Williams and are expected to come down later in the week.


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  • Marty Baker Feb 23, 2016
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    I guess that for me, this all comes down to one thing. With all the known distracted driving, especially driving and texting, how can any educated person choose to ride a bike on a public road? Doesn't common sense EVER kick in? Sure, you have the RIGHT to do it, but how can it possibly be worth severe injury or even death? I'll never understand people that constantly fight for the right to do something that may kill them.

  • Gregory Beck Feb 23, 2016
    user avatar

    Every time this happens (car/bicycle), I wonder if drivers have thought of the consequences of their actions. Ignorance of the law (cyclists having rights and responsibilities, same as motorists) is no excuse. Instead of waiting for a safe opportunity to pass, leading to an accident, does the driver have the spare time to sit in a patrol car and fill out accident reports, enough money to afford increased insurance rates, lawyers to defend a charge of negligent/reckless driving or worse, law suits by injured cyclists, plus all the attendant time lost from work in dealing with the legal system? I feel sorry for both the cyclists and the driver who did the right thing by stopping after the accident, and who seemed to show genuine remorse. Impatience or inattention has led to a world of pain for all concerned. Sad...

  • Janet Ghumri Feb 22, 2016
    user avatar

    What bothers me is the "Holier than Thou" attitude of cyclists on the roadways. Having the right to do something, doesn't mean that you SHOULD do it. When you choose to don your helmet, shoes and your sporty shortys, and select your route for the day, do you estimate the time of day and traffic loads on that route? Riding down 751, 42, 50, 54, 55, etc. during afternoon rush hour isn't showing much forethought, in my humble opinion. Choosing to add an additional burden on the roads, unintentionally makes you a hazard for vehicles, and endangers us all. If I must slow down to 10 MPh to get around you, you have chosen to endanger me, as well. If you can't maintain the posted speed, you will cause accidents. I see you, I slow down, I stop if needed. I can do no more. Don't be angry with me for driving my car down a road made for cars. That's all.

  • Marty Baker Feb 22, 2016
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    Here is one of the definitions of a road......"Roads that are available for use by the public may be referred to as public roads or as highways". So a road CAN always be referred to as a highway. I guess some people really don't know it all. What a shocker.

  • Mark Cooper Feb 22, 2016
    user avatar

    This is like Groundhog day (the movie). Bikes should be able to ride the road just like a 18yo women shld be able to walk in a bikini anywhere they want, but is it smart? We are not debating right and wrong, its about decisions & risk. We have seen no decline in these accidents so knowing that is it a smart decision to ride on local roads? We can debate right and wrong all day but that does not seem to be pertinent at this point. Let me ask this of the cycling community. We have est'd this is going to happen. We have est'd that nothing is going to change quickly to help this. Knowing all of this do you feel it is a smart decision to ride in traffic in this area? I am not trying to pick on cyclist, I am not trying to say you are not within your rights, I am not saying the cars are in the right or even educated about bicycle regs. What I am saying is this is not going to change. So is it smart to continue to do what is getting cyclist injured and killed?

  • Chase Truman Feb 22, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    It's pretty hard to find 125 miles of good biking trails, though.

  • Chase Truman Feb 22, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Yes, but a road isn't always a highway.

  • Fanny Chmelar Feb 22, 2016
    user avatar

    I slow for cyclists until I can pass them with a decent margin, which usually means my having to cross the yellow lines.

    Recently I was in a situation where there was oncoming traffic and a cyclist traveling in the same direction as me - he was to the right of the white line because there was a shoulder. I slowed down, hugged the yellow and oncoming traffic made room for me.

    As I passed the cyclist he screamed, "HEY!!!!!" at me.

    So I put on my blinkers and stopped (no one behind me) so he could voice his concerns.

    He just rode on by me and didn't even look. So I continued on, again giving him plenty of space. After I passed him I looked in my rear view mirror and he was flipping me off.

    While I try to be respectful, if someone isn't happy and voices it, I'm willing to listen. I have a feeling he didn't see me and I scared him? If he thought I was going to confront him physically he could have left - or stopped way behind me. I'm still confused as to his issue.

  • Marty Baker Feb 22, 2016
    user avatar

    I think I just told him that. He's just not aware of the law. And what kind of person calls people names instead of just educating them? He calls law enforcement "the law" because he comes from a different generation. You'll be older one day yourself. And if anyone calls you a potato head because you say things in a different way, don't believe them.

  • Brandon White Feb 22, 2016
    user avatar

    For those who want to call the "law," it would be wise to educate yourselves. The cyclists have the right to ride in the lane as you described. By calling, "the law," you are just wasting valuable law enforcement resources. What kind of potato head calls law enforcement, "the law?"