A woman who collided with a jogger while cycling on the Roanoke River Greenway sued the pedestrian and has won a six-figure verdict from a jury.
Late last month, a jury in Roanoke Circuit Court awarded cyclist Ann Shepherd $300,000, determining that jogger William Bundy caused the run-in through a negligent act.
The incident occurred about lunchtime on June 11, 2012, a Monday, as both parties passed Smith Park, with Bundy running ahead of Shepherd as both proceeded toward Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Shepherd’s complaint, filed in 2013, alleged that “as the plaintiff approached the defendant on her bicycle, the defendant turned around suddenly and without determining that it was safe to do so.”
“This caused Ms. Shepherd to be knocked off of her bicycle and to crash on the Greenway. As a result of the collision, Ms. Shepherd was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital for treatment,” the complaint concluded.
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Shepherd’s suit had sought $750,000, and in her filings she cited just under $88,500 in expenses — $80,779 in medical bills and $7,625 in lost wages.
Anthony Russell, her attorney, said Shepherd, now 57, hit her head hard enough to crack the outer shell of her helmet. Her scalp was cut and she suffered bleeding and bruising of the brain, he said.
A defense motion filed by Bundy, 62, said there were no outside witnesses around when Shepherd approached him from behind, and he said he heard no approaching warning.
Bundy has high-frequency hearing loss in both ears, according to a defense deposition by his audiologist, Kimberly Lower, and he wears hearing aids. Lower testified before the trial that the devices clarify the quality of sounds and words he hears.
According to court documents, Shepherd suffered retrograde amnesia, which left her unable to recall the specific details of the accident. She was unable to say whether she announced she was passing Bundy on the left.
“The next thing she remembers is waking up in the hospital,” Russell said Wednesday.
“If you’re going to make a U-turn, you need to look behind you before you do it,” Russell said. “Not only did he not look, he also did not make any warning that he was going to be turning.
“That’s one of the reasons this lawsuit was brought. To prevent it from happening to someone else on the greenway,” Russell said.
Defense attorney Phillip Anderson said Bundy also suffered injuries in the collision but did not require medical treatment.
“The court found sufficient evidence to submit the questions of negligence of both parties to the jury,” Anderson said this week in a written statement.
“Despite undisputed evidence that the plaintiff had seven feet of unobstructed greenway on which to avoid a collision with the defendant, who never heard the plaintiff announce herself as she approached, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff,” Anderson said.
“Although we disagree with the jury’s conclusion,” he said, “no appeal or post-trial motions are contemplated.”
The case was heard across two days before Judge David Carson. Jurors deliberated for about an hour and 15 minutes before returning their verdict. They also ordered Bundy to pay interest on the award across the three years since the crash occurred.