North Georgia cyclist seriously hurt after being hit by car in Knoxville
A North Georgia cyclist is recovering tonight after being hit by a car and while he was being loaded into the ambulance, the cyclist says someone stole his bike.
A North Georgia cyclist is recovering after being hit by a car and while he was being loaded into the ambulance, the cyclist says someone stole his bike.
It happened on the Henley Street Bridge in Knoxville, July 3rd. James Bacon is without health insurance and right now he's unable to work for the cleaning service he and his wife own. He hopes his story will encourage other drivers to be careful and be respectful of other bicyclists on the roadway.
"I was signaling for a right turn then I woke up in the trauma unit," said James Bacon. " Thankfully, I don't remember anything in between."
James Bacon says he was traveling in the bicycle lane when it happened. According to a police report, eyewitnesses saw the driver swerve into the middle part of the bridge before entering the bike lane, hitting Bacon from behind.
Reporter: "How are you feeling now?" Bacon: "Like I've been run over, it's hard going."
Bacon suffered a partial lung collapse, broken collar bone with broken bones in his neck and spine. There are fractures in his jaw, cheek and eye socket too. Bandages now cover serious road rash down to the bone on both knees, thigh and elbow.
"I consider myself pretty lucky," said Bacon.
The driver who hit him, told police he was looking down at his check engine and battery lights. He claimed the car also lost power steering and he was trying to get off of the road. The driver came to a stop after crashing into a nearby utility pole.
Police cited the driver with improper vehicle registration, no driver license in possession and no proof of insurance coverage. The police report states, the driver was driving on a revoked license and he was not given any drug and alcohol test because there was no evidence of alcohol or drugs being involved.
" I'm really not pleased that he was only ticketed with this and not charged with the 3 foot bike law or maybe assault," said Wife Cindy Pinion. " It's just been a bad dream ever since and it's been a hardship in more ways than one."
A spokesperson for Knoxville Police tells Channel 3, additional charges were not added because the car malfunctioned and the crash was an accident. Officials say the driver would have been charged had he crossed over into the bike lane with negligence.
"He should have been charged and he also should not have been driving," said Bacon. "On top of that, during the time they were loading me up, somebody stole my bike."
According to police, a witness saw at two men taking the bike but he did not inform the police officer on scene until it was gone. Officials called the theft "unfortunate" and said there was nothing they could do. Bacon is asking for the case to be re-opened and re investigated.
" Some moving violations should be punishable and at least field tests would be a little bit better administered at scenes like that," said Bacon. "Securing the scene and making sure evidence and property isn't stolen during it, so many balls were dropped. I wish I was conscious, maybe I could have helped."
The custom bike that was stolen from the scene was worth several thousand dollars. It could take months for James Bacon to get back on his feet but he's staying positive, he says he will ride again.
Dozens of supporters are participating in a "Ride for Justice" in Knoxville Monday, to show support for further criminal prosecution of the driver that struck Bacon. Bike riders plan to follow the city bike route downtown, pausing briefly at the city county building after going on Hensley Street Bridge where the crash occurred.