Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Police cite driver suspected in downtown accident with cyclists

April 5, 2013, 11:40 a.m. Updated April 5, 2013, 6:14 p.m.


Police have found and cited a motorist who they believe was involved in a hit-and-run accident with two bicyclists Friday morning at Ninth and New Hampshire streets.

The accident occurred about 10:30 a.m., when a red car sped east on Ninth Street and struck two cyclists while turning north on New Hampshire Street, said Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence Police Department spokesman. Witnesses told police the car accelerated toward the intersection and ignored the stop sign before it hit the cyclists, who were riding west across New Hampshire Street. The car then continued north and turned east on Seventh Street.

Originally, police believed the suspect vehicle had a Cherokee Nation license plate, but they later identified another car.

"The good thing about this case was that we had the help of so many witnesses," McKinley said. "That's what really helped solve this."

Police found the suspect vehicle in the 800 block of New Jersey Street Friday afternoon and cited the driver for leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident, failure to obey a stop sign and having no proof of insurance.

The two young men struck by the car declined medical treatment, though one had suffered an injury to his leg. They also declined to file a police report, McKinley said, but police investigate hit-and-run accidents. Police did not publicly identify the cyclists or the motorist Friday afternoon.


A2000 1 year ago

I stopped to turn right towards Clinton Parkway Thursday afternoon when there was this cyclist at the sidewalk by the light. Waited for cyclist to cross the street but he was just there, staring at me like he was upset. Since he wouldn't cross the street, I prepared to start the car. However, at the same time, he started to cross the street. I abruptly stopped. And he abruptly stopped. I gave him the sign to cross the street and he finally did but not before giving me a taste of road rage. He shouted, "you yield for me." I wondered, how long do I have to yield for him if he wouldn't cross the street. Then I read this article. I've been told I look Native American and I was driving a red car.


smitty 1 year ago


BICYCLIST SHOCKED TO LEARN OFFICER WAS BEHIND WHEEL By Deb Gruver — Lawrence Journal-World August 11, 1999

A bicyclist who was struck by a Jeep last weekend in downtown Lawrence didn't realize the man who hit him was a police officer.

When he saw the headlights coming toward him on the sidewalk where he was riding his rainbow-painted mountain bike, Steve Mitchell thought someone was playing a joke on him.

Then a blue Jeep Wrangler hit him, flipping the 22-year-old bass player three times and turning his right thumb, the strumming thumb, into "hamburger," he said.

Emergency-room doctors treated and released Mitchell after the Saturday accident. He didn't learn until Tuesday that the Jeep's driver was an off-duty Lawrence policeman.

"Oh my God," Mitchell said when a Journal-World reporter informed him.

"I thought maybe it was just a naive mistake," Mitchell said later Tuesday afternoon during an interview at his home. "It turns out it's a man who, no matter if he's on duty or off duty, is supposed to be looking out for the community."

City officials are investigating the accident. Meanwhile, Officer Micah Stegall, 24, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Stegall told Officer Max Dickens, who responded to the accident call, that he was coming out of the parking lot on the northeast corner of Eighth and Vermont streets, making a left turn onto Vermont. While traveling south on Vermont, he tried to make a left turn onto Eighth, but was driving "too fast," he said, and drove onto the south sidewalk off Eighth Street.

The LPD accident report says that Stegall's eyes were bloodshot, that he smelled of alcohol and that alcohol contributed to the accident. Police have not released results of blood-alcohol tests.

After the accident, Stegall drove Mitchell to the hospital.

Mitchell called the accident "unfathomable" and said Stegall seemed intoxicated while driving him to the hospital.

Whether Stegall erred in driving Mitchell to the hospital instead of calling for an ambulance is something the police department's investigation will look into, Lawrence City Manager Mike Wildgen said.

"I asked that question too, so it will be part of the evaluation," Wildgen said.

Stegall did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Mitchell, who plays with the Lawrence band PBJ, is scheduled to undergo plastic surgery today for his thumb. Scabs cover his legs and arms, and his forehead is bruised. But, he said, he's most worried about his thumb because for now, he can't play music.

Mitchell, who doesn't have medical insurance, says he was lucky not to have been more seriously injured.

But, "I wouldn't consider my injuries to be minor at all," he said. "I'm definitely beat up."


bearded_gnome 1 year ago

^^Ron Holzwarth 11 hours, 41 minutes ago

I once called the police station and asked a police officer if it is legal to ride a bicycle on a sidewalk while intoxicated.

He answered yes, it is legal, but he recommended that I not do it.[lol] Then he pointed out that it is illegal to cross any streets on a bicycle while intoxicated, or in fact, to cross any streets on foot while intoxicated either. Or to even be on a street while you are intoxicated. I didn't say anything, but I did wonder how you are supposed to get into a car with a designated driver if you can't set foot on the street. [well, obviously you levitate]

So I suppose you can get drunk and ride your bicycle around the block, if you can do that without falling down or colliding with anything. Anyway, that ruined my plans to ride my bicycle to the local bar that night. But I quit drinking now anyway, so I guess it doesn't make any difference to me personally.

---Ron, thanks for this, and glad you kicked the demon. I inserted a couple responses in your msg above.


bearded_gnome 1 year ago

yes, who indeed sides with a negligent driver?

answer: other negligent drivers?

^^Frankie8 11 hours, 9 minutes ago

Best comment! I was going to write something but you covered it quite well.

---thanks Frankie8. sorta like the crazy bone got hit a few times or something.


Liberty275 1 year ago

I don't like bikes on the road because I don't want to hit them or have to slow down and be overly cautions because they might fall in front of me. I saw a guy fall off his bike last week at the corner of 31st and Iowa. Bikes are clumsy so you have to give them lots of room.

The law say's bikes can be ridden on the street, so unless you want to pay more for insurance you treat them like the plague and stay away from them.

And don't run stop signs. At least California stop: at least then you get a second to look around for the fuzz... or bikes.

Who sells good used bikes around here? Like used Giants.


cateastrophe 1 year ago

It says they were struck while the car was turning which indicates the cyclists may have been crossing the street so don't assume the cyclists were negligent. Unbelievable that people are siding with a speeding hit and run driver.


James Minor 1 year ago

It seems the message from the cop was to not drink at all!! A solution would be to ride your bike immediately after leaving a bar where a friend waits with a pickup truck. You then ride your bike on to the back of the pickup truck and crawl into the front of the vehicle without touching the ground. No laws are broken and all are happy!!! I forgot to add that your friend can't be intoxicated then both of you will be sharing a room at the Douglas County Hotel and Jailrista!!


kernal 1 year ago

In case cyclists missed it, you CAN ride your bikes on sidewalks, just not in Downtown Lawrence.

I wish cyclists would do that on West 9th St and 23rd St. Very scary for them and drivers.


bearded_gnome 1 year ago

some of the comments above make me wonder if this is the Twilight zone!

drinking and pot? huh?

going to totally avoid downtown, for what?

start blaming all cyclists? "one day I saw a cyclist do this ... " ... amazing! [the driver was at fault!]

and, "some day the Cherokee people will return" so you better watch out!


bearded_gnome 1 year ago

Police found the suspect vehicle in the 800 block of New Jersey Street Friday afternoon and cited the driver for leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident, failure to obey a stop sign and having no proof of insurance.

---C'MON! one of the young men suffered a leg injury! there's no charge here representing that! even if he/they declined medical attention, can't the carge be based on the observation of witnesses/the officer? this is a driver who should have more charges lodged against him/her.


James Minor 1 year ago

If Kansas would go on and follow Washington and Colorado regarding Marijuana the driver would not be drinking and driving, and this would be a safer place to live!!!


Machiavelli_mania 1 year ago

I think the answer to avoid anything like this from happening to me, since bikers are so dangerous and do not follow any rules of the road, is to seriously and constantly AVOID going downtown. Easy remedy. No money spent on Mass from here on out. YAY!!!


footnote2 1 year ago

The sentence "Originally, police believed the suspect vehicle had a Cherokee Nation license plate" implies that the original belief was not substantiated later. Clarification is important, especially if there was no such license plate on the suspect vehicle.


Biscayne 1 year ago

Bike riders need to follow laws also, riding single file in traffic, and not running stop signs! I see this all the time.


mom_of_three 1 year ago

They shouldn't have to stay to the sidewalks if they follow the rules. The car was breaking the law... running a stop sign and hitting cyclists... Hopefully the cyclists stopped at the stop sign and followed the rules, too. glad the injuries were not serious....


skinny 1 year ago

That's why bicyclists need to stay on the bike paths and sidewalks! Lets see, a 3500 lb car VS a 160 lb bicycle, who's gonna win that one???? Duhhhh


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