HIGH POINT, N.C. – After countless hours of road cycling logged across America and even on foreign terrain in France, Joel Lawrence still never saw danger coming on the road.
The 57-year-old High Point man was one of four cyclists hit in Johnston County on Saturday.
Michael Dayton, 60, and Lynn Lashley, 57, remain in critical condition, according to a Wake Medical Center spokesperson in Raleigh. Lawrence said his fellow cycling enthusiasts are in the Intensive Care Unit.
“Lynn was hunched over gasping for breath and bleeding,” said Lawrence, recounting the first moments after the accident.
Dayton and Lashley were just ahead of Lawrence while another friend, Christopher Graham, 34, was riding behind him.
“Chris was talking about his leg being broken and holding his leg,” said Lawrence. “I hurt immediately but I got up because I didn’t want to be in the middle of the road but the first thing you are thinking is ‘Are my hands still there?”
Lawrence was treated for bruises and scrapes to his hip and elbow but returned home quickly.
On Monday, he visited Bicycle Toy & Hobby in High Point to get his touring bike repaired. He wonders how it looks as good as it does.
“This looks like nothing,” said Lawrence as he mulls over the back end and front tire damage to his bicycle. “The other bikes were destroyed; the other people were destroyed. I walked away from it.”
State troopers said the group of cyclists were riding single file on Massengill Pond Road around 2:45 p.m. when they were hit by a car driven by Donnie Marie Williams, 50.
Investigators determined alcohol was not a factor in the crash, but charges are pending because of the severity of the injuries.
Lawrence said each cyclist was wearing safety equipment like helmets and reflective clothing and had lights on their bikes, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a crash.
“If anything, the message should be watch out for everyone on the road,” said Lawrence. “Be aware, drive alert, and avoid all of those other distractions that we’re all guilty of.”