Bicycle commuter left for dead: Wife comes across scene of hit-and-run right after it happens
by David A. Grant
After a hit-and-run driver slammed into his bicycle and left him for dead by the side of the road, Ed Schmidt is taking some time to decide whether he'll resume his 26-mile round-trip commute from his south Bellevue home to downtown Seattle.
Schmidt was resting at his home Thursday, still suffering from nausea and vertigo after the accident Tuesday at 5:12 p.m. in the 5400 block of Forest Drive Southeast, not far from his home.
He suffered a broken collarbone, a concussion and cuts and bruises, leading to mixed emotions.
``I'm just grateful to be alive,'' Schmidt said. ``I feel horrible.''
He estimates he was going about 5 mph and the car was moving at more than 30 mph.
``So many things could have gone wrong. I must be living right.''
Wife came upon accident
Schmidt's deliberation about continuing his bike commute probably will be appreciated by his wife, Lisa, who is also an avid cyclist and by coincidence came upon the accident scene just moments after it happened.
She knew immediately it was her husband because the location was close to their home and because of his large commuter-type bike with its distinct rack. Other motorists already had stopped to help.
``I went `Oh, my God.' It was a nightmare it was him,'' she said. ``I spoke to myself out loud, saying `Don't freak out. Keep calm.'''
He had blood all over his face, Lisa Schmidt said, but the wounds turned out to be superficial. After the medics took her husband to Overlake Hospital, her unruffled exterior collapsed.
``I came completely unglued and was shaking,'' she said. ``My son arrived shortly after that. He helped get me together.''
Woman stops to help bicyclist
Meanwhile, the last thing Ed Schmidt remembered was riding up a hill in a well-marked bike lane, the same as he'd done several hundred times before during the commute he makes about three times a week on average.
The next thing he remembers, Schmidt was lying on the ground with a people around him.
``I had no idea where I was,'' said Schmidt, who supervises audits at the office of the inspector general with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. ``I'm a very safety conscious rider, but I had no chance here.''
It turned out a woman in the car behind the one that struck him stopped to help rather than chasing after the hit-and-run driver, a decision for which Schmidt is grateful.
``I don't understand why anyone would do that,'' he said of the hit-and-run driver. ``It's illogical and immoral to leave someone hurt. I would never hesitate to help someone.''
Wife appeals to hit-and-run drivers
Lisa Schmidt appealed to the driver who ran her husband off the road to ``come forward and do the right thing; learn from the mistake.''
She also wants motorists to be more patient and to slow down because, like her husband, ``A driver's life can change in an instant.''
``We're just so blessed there were people there,'' Lisa Schmidt said. ``It makes me feel good about living here, people wanting the right thing to happen.''
Well at least the cops are trying to nab the suspects.