Local News

Raleigh bicyclists survive hit-and-run wrecks

Posted June 2, 2012 10:37 p.m. EDT
Updated June 3, 2012 9:47 p.m. EDT

— Two bicyclists were injured in separate hit-and-run wrecks on Raleigh roads within seven hours this weekend.

A sunny Saturday afternoon tempted Jason Adam Epstein out on a 40-mile bicycle ride from his home in north Raleigh into Granville County. He was only 2.5 miles from home when, police said, an SUV struck him in the 9600 block of Falls of the Neuse Road at 2:58 p.m. 

Epstein rolled onto the windshield of the SUV and then fell into the road. His bike got stuck on the front of the SUV, which dragged it almost a mile to the entrance ramp to Interstate 540 West. The driver didn't stop even after the bike dropped off the SUV.

"You can't say if I come across your windshield that you didn't see me," Epstein said.

Later, in a separate incident, police said, another driver kept on going after hitting Donald Lawson Lowry, 23, on Hillsborough Street, at Ashe Avenue, around 1 a.m. Sunday. Lowry, who was wearing a helmet, suffered a concussion, but police said his injuries were non-life-threatening.

The passenger's-side rear-view mirror of the car fell off at the wreck scene. Police said they are searching for a black Chevrolet Monte Carlo between model years 2000 and 2004.

Epstein had been released from the hospital and was at home recovering Sunday.

He suffered a cracked leg bone and required 70 stitches for cuts and road rash along his face and left side. He credited wearing a helmet with saving his life.

"I'm not upset at all. I could be dead, and I'm grateful I'm not," Epstein said.

In his case, police identified the suspect, Linda Thomas Banks, 48, of 401 Sawmill Road, through tips from people who witnessed the crash, and they took her into custody. The arresting officers suspected alcohol might have been a factor and tested her blood alcohol content.

Banks faces charges of felony serious injury by vehicle, driving while impaired,  felony hit-and-run, fictitious registration plate, driving without insurance and failure to register a vehicle. She was given a $26,000 bond and scheduled to appear in court Monday at 2 p.m.

Epstein said his injuries won't make him give up his 27-year-long hobby of cycling.

"My wife immediately asked me if I'd consider taking up golf," he said. "It's not going to pull me off the bike, but it makes me thankful."

The crash investigation is continuing and is being conducted by the RPDs Crash Reconstruction Unit.