Cyclist hit-and-run plays out on Facebook

 

aapd

UPDATED MARCH 10

Lynn Kristianson

The reach of social media has played out in Facebook postings following a Feb. 22 hit-and-run accident in Anne Arundel County that left an Arlington woman critically injured and a College Park woman hurt. Detectives continue their search for the driver who fled the scene.

Anne Arundel County Police Facebook page, Feb. 23.

On February 22, 2014, at approximately 5:09 p.m., officers from the Traffic Safety Section responded to westbound Central Avenue at the Patuxent River Road in Davidsonville for a report of a crash involving two (2) bicyclists.

The investigation revealed that the bicyclists were traveling west on Central Avenue approaching the Patuxent River Bridge. The bicyclists were on or near the roadway edge line when Bicyclist #1 was struck by a light colored SUV that failed to remain at the scene. The striking vehicle fled west on Central Avenue into Prince Georges County.

Bicyclist #2 was riding immediately behind Bicyclist #1 and as a result of the collision between the car and Bicyclist #1, Bicyclist #2 also crashed. After the collision, the bike ridden by Bicyclist #1 came to rest in the roadway and was struck by a 2005 Chevy Impala.

Evidence recovered from the scene indicates that the fleeing vehicle is a Honda SUV. Witnesses describe the vehicle as light in color (possible silver or white) driven by a W/M 50 to 60 years of age with a grey mustache and dark glasses.

Bicyclist #1, Ms. Kristianson was transported to University of Maryland Shock Trauma where she is listed in critical, but stable condition. Bicyclist #2, Ms. Neel was transported to Washington Hospital Center where she was later released. The driver of the Chevy Impala sustained no injuries.

The primary cause of this crash is driver error. The driver failed to yield to the bicyclists lawfully using the roadway. Speed does not appear to be a factor in the collision. Witness report that sun glare may have been a factor at the time of the collision.

Anyone with information about this crash is asked to call the Traffic Safety Section at 410-222-8573.

Bicyclist #1: Lynn Carol Kristianson, 62, of Arlington, Virginia.

Injuries: Life threatening, currently listed in critical condition

Bicyclist #2: Maile Catherine Neel, 52, of University Park, Maryland

Injuries: Non-life threatening, currently listed in stable condition

Vehicle/Suspect #1: Unknown Honda SUV

Light colored, possibly silver or white

Driver: White male 50 to 60 years of age, with gray mustache.

Fled scene westbound on Central Avenue

Vehicle #2 2005 Chevy Impala, MD 3AJ8698

Owner/Driver: Tierra Lesley Harris, 21, of Oxon Hill, Maryland

===

Facebook posting on numerous pages on Monday:

This is Gordon Meuse. I am Lynn Kristianson’s husband, friend and cycling partner. Most of you know that Lynn and Maile Neel were involved in a tragic accident on Saturday afternoon. 2/22. Maile is recovering and will be fine. Lynn is in serious condition, but has stabilized. She has suffered a lot of trauma and is very sick at this point. She is being taken care of by the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Team in Baltimore. They have been professional, caring and continually at Lynn’s side. They have all of the techniques and equipment that modern medicine offers. They are still working on a cue sheet for the route to recovery and getting her ready for the ride. Today will be the beginning. As of 12:30 this afternoon she began about six hours of surgery. These operations will be to put the pieces back together. Other surgery will be needed. Saturday night was a long night with not a lot of optimism that she would make it through the night. At this point she is stable. They have not induced a coma. She goes through periods when she is responsive and others when she isn’t. Her responses are very limited and weak.

I will send out updates as I can regarding her recovery route. For now all I ask is for thoughts and prayers. At this time I am not in a position to receive or respond to emails. Please do not send flowers or cards to the Trauma Center and please do not send flowers to the house.

I don’t intend to discuss details of the accident itself in this note. There will be opportunities and time for that. This isn’t the time.

Thank all of you for your support.

Gordon

==

Facebook posting that followed, also on several pages, by Maile Neel:

With the blessing of Gordon and the Anne Arundel County Police Officer who is investigating the crash, I am writing to tell you all firsthand what actually happened last Saturday. I also want to convey that the best way to help right now is to spread the word about the search for the suspect who hit Lynn Kristianson and I with such horrible consequences for Lynn. I give the description below because I know everyone has been curious and there has been a lot of misinformation in the news reports that has been perpetuated on blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, and list serves. The main need though is to catch the driver.

On Saturday February 22 Lynn and I were riding a 200k permanent. We were heading back to College Park from Deale with about 30 miles to go. It was just after 5 p.m. We were riding west on Central Ave between Patuxent River Road and Queen Anne’s Bridge Road. We were approaching Queen Anne’s Bridge to cross the Patuxent. I was riding right behind Lynn and we were single file. We had been riding on the shoulder to the right of the white line, but as you approach the bridge the shoulder goes away. Still we were right on the line, far to the right side of the road. We were both wearing reflective ankle bands Lynn had on a reflective vest and I had on a bright red jacket with a reflective Amphipod over it.

I heard a very loud vehicle approaching from the rear – that is not unusual as vehicles are on every road and one typically hears them as they approach. It was unusual when I felt the vehicle hit my left hip and leg. I went straight down hard on my left side on the road — I did not slide along the road. I could not move at all once I landed. I did not see the car nor did I see what happened to Lynn. After everything came to a rest, I remember looking over and seeing Lynn ~20 or so feet further up the road from me. I could see no details. But she was not far from me.

Citizens arrived right away and were tending to us, controlling traffic, calling 911, and getting key phone numbers off my phone to call and to give to the police. Very soon the paramedics, EMTs and police arrived and immobilized me and also blocked (I think intentionally so) my view of Lynn. They would then not say anything to me about her condition except that she was in much worse shape than I was in, and the she would be transported via helicopter to Baltimore. I was transported via PG County ambulance to Shock Trauma at Washington Hospital Center. I was thoroughly tested and x-rayed. I was released just after 2 a.m. I am bruised up and down my left side and am not very mobile due to lower back and pelvic issues but it is all muscular. I am in pain, but there are no broken bones and no immediately apparent internal or head injuries. My helmet was cracked on the left side but my head has only a slight bruise. This all is in stark and horrifying contrast to Lynn’s condition.

You know of Lynn’s status from Gordon’s accounts. It is not entirely clear what happened in those few feet and seconds to make the outcomes so different. There will undoubtedly be lots of speculation but it may never be resolved.

What the investigators do know is that we were both hit by a silver/white Honda CRV driven by a white male between 50 and 60 years old. The man had a mustache and dark glasses. An eye witness saw him hit both of us and flee the scene by continuing to drive westbound across the bridge from Anne Arundel County into Prince George’s County. The side view mirror from the vehicle remained at the scene and that has allowed the police to narrow down the year-range of the vehicle to 1995-2001. In addition to missing a passenger side mirror, the vehicle will likely be dented and scraped on the right side and perhaps on the front. Lynn and I were both on unpainted titanium bikes.

A second vehicle that was headed westbound immediately after the initial collision ran over Lynn’s bike. Witnesses state that the second car did NOT run over Lynn. She did not remain clipped to the bike. The car swerved left to avoid everything but could not avoid the bike. The damage from the bike being run over makes it difficult to piece together the original impact. Seeing the Honda CRV would help fill in some but not all the details, but it still may never be clear what exactly happened to cause such severe injuries.

The fact that the person who hit us left the scene changes the nature of this case dramatically. Nothing will ever change or compensate for what has happened to Lynn but there is at least hope of some consequence for the driver beyond a moving violation. And it is encouraging that there is so much evidence. The investigating officer is doing an outstanding and thorough job. He and his colleagues are pursuing many avenues and leads. They are taking this very seriously. But he stressed to me that it is still far from a sure bet that they will be able to find the person.

I have seen some of the accounts and have heard through the grapevine that descriptions of various versions of this incident are showing up all over social media outlets. What would help more is spreading the word about the need for people to be on the lookout for a vehicle and driver matching the description above.

I have attached a flyer from the Anne Arundel County Police but I am not sure it will make it through the list serve filters.

Thanks so much to everyone who has written to express concern and to offer help. You are all wonderful.

Maile

Facebook posting  mid-week:

Dear friends of Lynn Kristianson,

Here is an update from Gordon as of this morning. It’s all good news, but have your hanky in hand when you read it.

Lynn had a good day yesterday — not a great day but a good day. Her pelvis is now “fixed”. It may need additional work later, but for now is secure. Her left forearm has been set. She was in surgery for another seven hours.

At this point, all of the critical issues have been attended, and today will mostly be a day of rest for Lynn. There are still concerns that will be monitored: her right lung, internal pressure on the brain, and keeping her body temperature where it should be. She was cold after a full day of surgery.

Flowers are not allowed within the Shock Trauma area. If they arrive, they are kept in a receiving area and have to be taken home. She did receive a special arrangement yesterday with this note; “My boyfriend and I were there at the scene of the accident and I held your hand until EMT’s came. I’m so glad you’re stable (even if you’re listed as critical). I think about you every day. I’ll try to visit.” – No name was given.

Gordon

==

Facebook posting by the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office on Wednesday. (State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess expressed frustration with limitations in the law after a cyclist was killed in the county last August.)

This afternoon, representatives from the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office will testify before the House and Senate Committees in support of bills to revise Maryland’s Criminal Negligence Law.

Senate Bill 565 and House Bill 835 both seek to create a more appropriate standard to prosecute drivers and boaters whose actions result in the death of other persons. The bills would amend the current law so that anyone driving a motor vehicle or operating a vessel would face up to 3 years of incarceration for any death caused when their actions create “a substantial and unjustifiable risk” that such a result would occur.

“It is clear to me that the current law is insufficient,” said State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. “Every year I see pedestrian, bicycle and motor vehicle fatalities that I would like to prosecute in the criminal court, but the law stands in our way. This proposal will go a long way to enable us to address fatalities that result from more than mere negligence, and make roads safer for the citizens of Anne Arundel County.”

Update on Lynn:

Lynn’s Update: February 27, 2014

Yesterday was a day of rest for Lynn. Not sure you can call it rest, but it was a break from any invasive or surgical procedures. They continue to be concerned not only about her right lung, but breathing in general. She is on a respirator and will be for “a long time” (surgeon’s words). Even so, she is having more issues than she should. They are actively looking for the “why.” Keeping her temperature up where it should be was a challenge yesterday. She was cold after surgery and they warmed not only her, but everything that went into her as well. Late in the evening, it finally started rising.

Today she is back into surgery and was to go in first thing. They will do additional work on her legs, her left ankle and her right heel. These procedures are important not so much to repair what is broken, but rather to keep out any infections.

She follows commands from the nursing staff, and that is extremely positive. However, and to be perfectly clear: Lynn is on “Life Support” and it will be some time before we see significant improvement. The lead critical care doctor says that Lynn is the sickest person presently under his watch. Small and large miracles are needed, but I expect them to happen.

On an up-note, yesterday the nurse advised me that she was going to have to increase Lynn’s level of sedatives because she was getting a little “wild.” I thought she might be trying to get in a little workout.

Gordon Meuse

Sunday, March 2, 8 days after the collision:

Dear friends of Lynn Kristianson,

Here is an update from Gordon on Lynn’s condition as of this morning, March 1. It’s all very encouraging news!

Lynn had a very good day yesterday. She went into surgery at 12:30 and was not back into her room until 7:30. Everything that was scheduled to be done was done. All of her vital signs stayed right were they wanted them. This morning she seems relaxed and you can’t quite say why, but for the first time, visible improvement is there. She is responding to commands.

Today and tomorrow will be days of rest and recuperation. Monday she will be back for additional surgery, but they have not said what will be done. This morning it was mentioned for the first time that they may do a tracheotomy so that she can breathe more comfortably. They have cut the amount of blood going to the dialysis machine in half. Her bodily functions are starting to work again. All good. The nursing staff assumes that she can hear them and they announce to her any time they are going to make any adjustments.

Gordon Meuse

Update March 6:

March 6.

Lynn continues to make progress. Yesterday she was alert most of the day. Her cousin, a speech therapist, visited Lynn in the evening. Lynn was trying to tell her something. They tried a couple of methods, but finally her cousin wrote letters on paper towels. That worked and Lynn’s first conversation was “I am thirsty”.

She was in pain last night. They were going to reduce pain meds, but haven’t yet.

This morning she is off for a short stay in the operating room. They want to clean the two vacuum bandages that she has on her right leg. There has been some indication of bacteria on one of them.

The anesthesiologist that prepared her for OR this morning was with Lynn when they first brought her in. She says Lynn was conscious and gave my name and phone number. She says that Lynn amazed her.

Waiting for her to be come back to her room.

Gordon Meuse

Update March 10:

All that can be said about yesterday is that Lynn slept all day long and looked like she enjoyed it.  She was taken out of her room for a little while.  They did another Cat Scan of her neck.  They want to start sitting her up.  She has a neck brace on.  I thought it was to help hold her breathing tube.  Yesterday I was told that she has a fracture of the C1 vertebrae.  The neck brace seems to be giving it adequate support.  They might try to sit her up today.  They are increasing the amount of breathing on her own she has to do.  This is a trial to see how much she can do.  She is still sleeping like a champ.

Gordon Meuse

Second March 10 update:

As all of you know, Lynn Kristianson and I were hit by a car while riding a permanent on February 22nd. Lynn remains in the hospital as a consequence of the collision with life altering injuries. A fund has been established to create a reward for capture and prosecution of the hit and run driver and to defray some of the medical costs associated with Lynn’s medical care and recovery.

The police have been diligently investigating the incident and tracking down leads. Unfortunately nothing has yet led to capturing the person who fled the scene, leaving two people laying in the road. We are hoping that a reward might trigger someone’s memory of a friend or neighbor showing up with a damaged CR-V on the night of February 22.

Everybody has been asking what they can do for Lynn and to support Gordon and Lynn’s family through this. They will need a lot of help and support and help in the coming months. For right now, most of what needs to be done is in the hands of the doctors and nurses at the UM Baltimore Medical Center Shock Trauma unit.

What you can do is donate to the reward and care fund at www.youcaring.com/forlynn. Please also spread the word by posting the link to the fund through your favorite social media networks.

An initial reward will be issued this week. When it is posted it will also need to be spread far and wide. More on that when it comes out.

Thanks everyone,

Maile

 

Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.
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