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Archive for Friday, November 30, 2012

Former Cordley School custodian recovering after bicycle accident

November 30, 2012

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A 64-year-old former Cordley School custodian is still hospitalized, but making progress in his recovery from a November collision between the man's bicycle and a sport utility vehicle, says a close friend.

Donald Varnau was taken by air ambulance to Kansas University Hospital after suffering critical injuries when he collided on Nov. 14 with an SUV near 11th and Kentucky streets.

"It was really bad, but thanks to the quick response by first responders and outstanding care at KU Hospital, I can tell you that Don is progressing and hopefully will totally recover in time," said friend Beckie Wendland.

Varnau — who retired from Lawrence Public Schools in 2011 — is expected to transfer to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for further rehabilitation, she said. Wendland credited Varnau's wearing of a helmet with saving his life.

Friends and family have been keeping up on Varnau's progress through frequent emails sent out by his bicycle club.

The driver of the SUV that hit Varnau was not ticketed and did not show any signs of impairment, according to police.

Comments

Kirk Larson 1 year, 4 months ago

First, my mother is 82 and safely rides her bicycle nearly every day. Second, aren't some of these folks saying he should give up his car and his bike the same ones who complain about the bus? How's he supposed to get around?

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seagull 1 year, 4 months ago

We should remind Classclown and other mean-spirited commenters that the guilt of the bike rider was based primarily on the testimony of the car driver. There were no eye witnesses. Don is an experienced motorcycle rider as well as a cyclist. Those of us who know him find it hard to believe that he would have knowingly violated the law by running a red light or that he would have turned in front of an oncoming car. Even if he was turning in front of the car it is possible that the car sped up when the driver saw the cyclist, the light could have been changing, etc. The only good thing here is that Don is recovering--and classclown will be 64 one day and apparently will be turning in his driver's license because he will no longer have any judgment or reflexes left.

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majiktami 1 year, 4 months ago

What a relief! He has been on my mind and I was very worried about him. So glad he will recover.

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 4 months ago

'daughter needs to acquire a lot of reading comprehension and some compassion, they're a useful combination. this man has just experienced horendous loss, pain, probably disfigurement, and had his whole life shaken up.

and all she can worry about is misreading his retirement date and how he's taking his retirement?!? GMAB!

^^Varnau — who retired from Lawrence Public Schools in 2011 — is expected to transfer to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for further rehabilitation, she said.

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kef104 1 year, 4 months ago

Don is an amazing person, humble, kind. Here's hoping he recovers completely and quickly.

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kansasdaughter 1 year, 4 months ago

No comments about him retiring from Lawrence Public Schools at 53, taking a retirement check for the next how many years?

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 4 months ago

being only 64, I think it's a bit of a leap to assume he's got a reaction time or impaired judgment problem Classclown.
the fact he rides a bike suggests he's probably inbetter health than the average 64 year oldster.

God grant him a thorough recovery.

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 4 months ago

LJW, thank you so much for printing this update on Mr. Varnau's condition, and telling us a little more about him.

the comments under the original article were almost totally agenda driven, and ignored concern for his condition.
thanks.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 4 months ago

If you choose to ride a bicycle on the street...it is like taking a knife to a gunfight. I too, get tired of the you can just go around me attitude of the bicyclists.

It amazes me that farm equipment requires a slow moving emblem, but other things on the road don't. I dont have much trouble seeing the tractor or combine, but some wrinkled old hippie in spandex ... well.....

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classclown 1 year, 4 months ago

What ridiculous generalization? It's a fact that when people of age start showing signs that letting them continue to drive presents a danger to themselves or others, people talk about it being time to take away their license. Why should it be different for those that ride bicycles?

It has already been established that the accident was his fault. Why? Is he another of those jerk bicyclists that figure he doesn't need to obey traffic laws and can do anything he wants because as a bicyclist, he's special? Or did he turn in front of the oncoming vehicle because he was unable to judge its speed and distance?

Either way, maybe it's time to consider taking his bicycle away before he gets involved in another accident in which he ends up getting killed.

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classclown 1 year, 4 months ago

Everyone talks about taking licenses away from old people. Maybe we need to start talking about taking bicycles away from them also.

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