Tragic Death In E.P. Tom Sawyer Triathlon

On August 1, 2009, the 28th annual triathlon was held at Jefferson County E. P. Tom Sawyer State Park. This triathlon consisted of a half mile swim, 14 mile bike ride and a 3.1 mile run. This particular event was not an iron man series by any means but a fun family event. Parents participated with their children to spend time with them and have fun.

Related: Riding A Bike Under The Influence Of Alcohol Is Illegal

Drunk driver hits cyclist at triathlon
What started as a fun day for the participants, ended in a tragedy. One participant was killed by a drunk driver. The accident happened during the biking leg of the event. The victim was riding his bike down Chamberlain Lane when he was struck from behind by a motorist. The motorist, 25-year-old Kenneth Yates, did not stop. Instead, Yates continued to drive with the victim’s bike on the hood of his car.

An off duty police officer, who was directing traffic for the event, saw Yates with the bike on his hood and stopped him. At this point, Yates fled on foot to a nearby house. Yates’ mother returned him to the scene. He was charged with murder, drunk driving and assault on a police officer.

Unfortunately, there are some things that are out of our control. One of those things is the irresponsible actions of other drivers and people. Kentucky roads are not known as bicycle friendly. In fact, Kentucky was ranked 48th out of 50 states for “bike friendliness” in 2014. That’s very poor. Fortunately, Louisville is working on improving this ranking. Louisville has added more bike lanes and is working on a bike-sharing program. Louisville is trying to make the city safer for cyclists.

Related: Louisville May Have A Bike-Sharing Program Soon

What do I do if I witnessed a bike accident?
If you witness an accident, your first instinct may be to run over to the victim and help them. While this is a great act, it could be dangerous. If you run over to the victim, you are also putting yourself at risk to be hit by oncoming traffic. Also, if you aren’t trained to handle the victim’s wounds, then you may hurt them even further. You could try to comfort the victim until help arrives, as long as it’s safe to do so. What you should do is call the police.

If you’ve witnessed a bicycle accident, call the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) immediately, and tell them the location of the accident. That way, when the police arrive, they will document the accident. Every eye witness account is important and can potentially make a huge difference in the outcome of legal proceedings. In Yates’ accident case, it could be for the criminal prosecution or the civil wrongful death action. Eye witness testimonies are critical!

If you witness any accident, please contact the police. If you think the victim is severely hurt, ask for an ambulance. It’s important that the accident victim receives treatment right away for their injuries, and this is one way you can help them.

Michael Schafer
The Personal Injury Attorney for Louisville and Kentucky
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