‘Was she texting?’ injured bike rider asks after driver hits 4 Johnston Co. bicyclists

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ANGIER, N.C. (WNCN) — Four bicyclists are recovering after they were hit from behind by a driver in Johnston County on Saturday.UPDATE: Woman who hit 4 cyclists in Johnston Co. was on probation for drug charges

Two cyclists hit by a car Saturday in Angier have been released from the hospital, while two other riders hit remain in WakeMed’s Intensive Care Unit.MORE NEWS: 2 cyclists released, 2 in ICU at WakeMed after getting hit by car in Johnston Co.

The cyclists, three men and one woman, were hit around 2:45 p.m. on Massengill Pond Road near Sue Drive, officials said.

The four bicyclists all suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were identified as Christopher Graham, 34, Joel Arthur Lawrence, 57, Lynn Lashley, 57, and Michael Dayton, 60, according to officials.

Lawrence, who lives in High Point, has been released from the hospital with very minor injuries. Chris Graham, of Durham, was released from the hospital with a broken pelvis and bone chips in his knee and ankle.

Lynn Lashley, who suffered multiple broken bones, and Mike Dayton, who has been unconscious since the crash, are both still listed in critical condition.

Lawrence, who spoke to WNCN on Skype from his home in High Point, says all four bicyclists were riding in a single file line on the far right side of the road when they were hit.

“We were all wearing safety reflector vests, we all have blinking tail lights,” said Lawrence. “We’re very deliberate and we all have lots of experience. Why she hit us, I don’t know.”

Lawrence says they were traveling a route called the “Carolina Crossroads,” created by Dayton. The route takes them from Downtown Raleigh, through Benson and they turn-around in Godwin. They claim the route is very bike-friendly.

“All the roads are very quiet and there’s hardly any traffic,” said Jerry Phelps, who knows and rides with all four of the victims. “It’s just hard to believe that this happened, especially to those four.”

Donnie Marie Williams, the driver in the crash, did stop at the scene after the crash, officials said.

Williams’ daughter came to the scene and told WNCN that her mother, who was driving, didn’t see the bicyclists until it was too late.

Her mom was too distraught to speak. The daughter, Tiffany McElveen, says her mother was coming up over the hill and didn’t see the cyclists. A car was passing in the other direction and she panicked.

“…she didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know whether to hit the other car or to try to miss the bicyclists,” McElveen said.

McElveen said that her mother was “hysterical” when she called her to the scene.

“I really could hardly understand her. She just kept saying ‘Tiffany I hit somebody, I hit somebody.’ She said ‘come down here, come down here.’ I said ‘where you at’. She told me like ten times, but I couldn’t understand what she was saying because she was so hysterical,” Tiffany McElveen said of her mother, who was not injured.

However, Lawrence questions McElveen’s account of the crash. He claims he never saw a car coming the other way.

“Was she texting? Was she fiddling around with something else? Was it just a moment when she looked one way or another? I don’t know,” said Lawrence. “In my own opinion, she probably hit all four of us before she realized that she hit anybody.”

Troopers are consulting with prosecutors about what kind of charges to file against the driver. They say they’re still looking into if the driver was texting or using her phone, but say alcohol and speed were not factors in the crash.

“I’m not going to judge her because I wasn’t in her shoes, but it just seems completely ridiculous that that was her only choice was to hit four people,” said Phelps.

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