Cyclists injured in hit and run still love the ride
By Wes Wade | (email@example.com)
It’s been almost a year since two Maryville bicyclists were injured during a hit-and-run on State Highway 73 in Townsend, but Franklin Woody and Barry Crowson said they’ve been back on their bikes for nearly as long.
Woody, 52, said he and Crowson, 47, took their first real ride about a month after the Aug. 11, 2011, incident. On July 15, police took a Townsend woman into custody and charged her in connection with the hit-and-run.
Amy Shondale Myers, 32, of Wears Valley Road, made her first appearance in Blount County General Sessions Court July 18. Myers faces charges of DUI, two counts of vehicular assault, two counts of violating the three-foot law (Jeff Roth and Brian Brown Bicycle Protection Act of 2007) and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident with death or injury.
Woody and Crowson, who suffered multiple injuries in the accident, said they want justice and are relieved an arrest was made following the nearly yearlong investigation.
Woody said it was also important that Myers was charged with violating the three-foot law. It’s something he hopes will put the legislation in the spotlight and make more drivers aware of its importance on roadways.
“The three-foot law, that’s a point we really need to stress,” Woody said. “That’s a real sticking point with us ... the drivers are our lifeline; they make the decision for us.”
While Woody and Crowson were treated at Blount Memorial Hospital and released the same day of the accident, they haven’t completely recovered. Woody underwent surgery on his left wrist in January after initial attempts at therapy failed. Following his surgery — and additional therapy sessions — his wrist is essentially back to normal, he said. But he’ll have scars that will last a lifetime.
“(We were) scraped up, banged up, just scratched up pretty good,” Woody said. “(And) jolted up, had a lot of road rash.”
Crowson said his doctor referred him to seek out chiropractic care for pain in his neck, back and left knee several months after the accident.
“Some of that’s just, I guess, old age,” Crowson said. “But when something happens it just kind of compounds it. But really my big issue is my lower back, and that’s one of those things the doctor says you’re probably just going to have to live with.”
After three months of visits to his chiropractor, Crowson said he’s doing much better.
“It’s not 100 percent, but I’m blessed and doing well,” he said. “So I’ll live with that. It’s better than the alternative.”
Yet even after all that, Crowson said, he doesn’t hold any ill will toward Myers.
“We want to see justice, (but) I guess my heart goes out to her too, you know,” he said. “I think I could speak for Frank (Woody) too — there’s forgiveness there on our part. (I’m) just hoping that (if) the things they allege are true, that this will help her and change her, and hopefully this will be a good, positive thing for her in the end, too.”
Back on track
At the time of the accident, Woody and Crowson were training for an upcoming ride in Clarksville. It was a bright, sunny day, Woody recalled, and the two had started at Coulters Bridge on a ride up to Tremont. They were on their way back, traveling west on state Highway 73, when they were struck by what witnesses described as a red, older-model four-door sedan.
“(We) had a good ride,” Woody said. “Had a good training ride, everything was awesome. You’re just in your zone and then out of the wild blue yonder you just hear a big thud and you’re on the ground, not where you’re supposed to be.”
Woody said it took about three weeks just to get on a bike, although not in the sense of an actual ride. At first it was just to peddle around, to get back in the feel of things.
And while they weren’t even halfway recovered yet, the two did in fact make it to the organized 100-mile ride in Clarksville that September. It was the first real ride for both since the incident.
“We crawled around and scratched a bit,” Woody said. “It was ugly, but we did (it).”
Woody, who’s now entering his third year as a serious cyclist, said that in the year since the accident, he’s become a better rider. Much more aware of his surroundings and ever more cautious, Woody said it’s something positive that came out of the incident — even if it was a bit of a battle to shake what happened.
“It’s been a year, and I’m still very, very jumpy,” Woody said. “I mean I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it. Once you make yourself get back on the bike, I was real apprehensive, but you’ve got to force yourself to get back on the bike. But if I wouldn’t, I never would have been able to get back on the road. You’ve just gotta overcome it and be more cautious than you were before, and (I) still am to this day.”
Crowson, who Woody said is responsible for his own interest in riding, has been biking on and off nearly all of his life. Crowson said that for him, the incident has had much the same effect.
“I’m just a lot more aware and present and alert of what can happen,” Crowson said. “I don’t know that I’m a better rider, but I think I probably took for granted (that) nothing’s going to happen, people just gonna go around. I (now) take every car as a potential accident.”
This year the pair plan to once again join the organized ride in Clarksville. Woody estimated that anywhere from 400 to 500 riders took part during last year’s ride. Both are currently training for the event, which takes place in September.