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Four bicyclists in hospital after being struck by car in Angier

Johnston County officials said four bicyclists were struck Saturday afternoon by a vehicle at Massengill Pond Road and Sue Drive.

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JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — Johnston County officials said four bicyclists were struck Saturday in Angier around 2:45 p.m. by a woman driving a 1992 Crown Victoria at Massengill Pond Road and Sue Drive.

Officials said the victims were ejected from their bicycles and transported to WakeMed in Raleigh.

Christopher Graham, 34, Joel Arthur Lawrence, 57, Lynn Lashley, 57, and Michael Dayton, 60, were all involved in the accident.

Lashley was listed in serious condition and Dayton was in critical condition as of Tuesday morning, according to hospital officials.

Authorities said the Donnie Marie Williams, 50, was traveling north on Massengill Pond Road near Sue Drive when she approached and struck the bicyclists from the rear.

Williams' daughter, Tiffany McElveen, said her mother was driving up a hill and around a corner when she noticed the bicyclists, and another car in the opposite direction. According to McElveen, Williams attempted to avoid the oncoming vehicle and the bicyclists.

"She panicked; she didn't know what to do," McElveen said. "She didn't know whether to go over and hit the other car, or try to miss the bicyclists. She just had no idea what to do. She actually stopped in the middle of the road and pulled over to get out of the road, and then she ran back. When I got here she was over there in the ditch crying."

Jerry Phelps, a friend of the bicyclists, said the group left the Starbucks on Peace Street in Raleigh and planned to ride toward Godwin and turn back later in the day.

"I rode yesterday; had I not, I probably would have been riding with them today," Phelps said.

According to Phelps, he credits Dayton with inspiring him to begin cycling.

"It was my first 200 kilometer event. It was the furthest I've ever ridden my bike and he stayed with me," Phelps said. "Although he was much stronger and could've left me, he stayed and talked with me for the last 30 miles."

Williams was not injured in the accident, and alcohol does not appear to be a factor, officials said.

Phelps said he's hopeful the group will join him for a ride soon.

"[They are] just four of the best people I've ever known, and four of the best cyclists I've ever known, too," he said.

Authorities said charges are pending. No further information has been released.


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