Monday, March 28, 2005

My sister Lura's memorial is tomorrow

Lura and Floyd at their wedding in 1960
On September 16, 1942, my sister Lura was born in Parsons, Kansas.  She died on March 7th of this year. I don't know what I can say about my wonderful and all of the good things she has done for so many people. I made this movie [ 45 MB, Quicktime Movie ] about her life. It only touches the surface of the love she had for so many, and the love we have for her.

If you do not already have it, this movie requires Apple's Quicktime Player.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

April 2005 Final Version Posted

The Final Version of the newsletter is posted here. This is all pages and no missing content! This is how it went to the printer!

Monday, March 07, 2005

My sister died today

My sister died today and I will be off line for awhile. For more information see this post.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

ACTC Cyclist Dennis King hit by truck on Bear Creek Road

The following reports are from the ACTC mailing list. They are mostly from fellow cyclists who were on the ride with Dennis at the time and were sent to the list immediately after the crash, when events were fresh in their minds. They are presented here unedited.
~Steve Sloan

As reported to me by Kim Carr, my co-leader :  A car was coming down Bear Creek Road, then went out of control as it went around a curve, spun out and came across the road, hitting Dennis King and almost Tom Sawyer. Dennis was airlifted out by helicopter. Tom managed to jump out of the way, and is a little sore. Kim and many from the longer option arrived on the scene a little later and stayed till things were finished. Dennis has some broken bones.
As reported by Guy Neenan :  We had a serious mishap ascending Bear Creek.  A pickup lost control coming around a wet hairpin.  It spun 360 and mashed Dennis King's bike.  Tom Sawyer jumped-clear but Dennis was knocked into the ditch and his bike was deeply engaged with the suspension of the truck.  Dennis was medivac-ed to Stanford trauma ward.  He seemed OK, but they want to observe him closely.  Kim, Tom, and others did a great job communicating with the medics and officers.  Kim contacted Dennis wife.  Franz documented the scene.
It could easily have been a multiple mortal situation.  We're glad it wasn't worse. Serious incidents like this are remarkably infrequent when you consider how many miles and hours we're out there.  We lack total control of our safety.  We're exposed to traffic risk on every ride.  The risk isn't just physical injury, it's mortal.  We are lucky to be alive, healthy, and ever ready to get out there with you and all of our cycling friends and associates.
~Don Axtell
Steve and I were just ahead of the crash - the driver of the pickup was accelerating as he was coming down fast and doing four wheel drifts through the turns - he almost lost control as he came around the turn at me and then accelerated on through the next turn.  This was not a case of an accident due to wet pavement - this was a young cocky youth pushing the speed limits with a truck on a winding narrow downhill.  He is lucky he did not kill someone.  If there is a need for any witness to this fact, both Steve and I are willing to bear witness that this was not just an accident due to road conditions.   This case needs some publicity.
~Patrice Carney 
Dennis King Accident On Bear Creek Road March 5, 2005
It may be good for those of us who were witness to share what we saw and feel.
Dennis was at the back of a group of 3-4 riders and I was about 150-200 yards behind. Not long before I was part of that group but as the road tilts up I tend to fall back. We were climbing Bear Creek Rd from Boulder Creak toward Skyline. A pickup truck traveling in the opposite direction (downhill) lost control going around a curve on wet pavement and swerved several times before turning 180 degrees sliding backwards toward this group of riders. Tom Sawyer who was in front of Dennis was able to bail out and get out of the way but Dennis had no place to escape. I did not see this happen as it occurred around a bend in front of me. But I did hear the sound of screeching tires and the impact of two automobiles. It turns out that impact was between a car traveling in my direction, going around the bend, being met by the pickup truck sliding backwards into him. Upon reflection I believe this collision between the two cars may have stopped the pickup and resulted in less impact to Dennis.
I arrived at the scene probably less than 1 minute after the accident. Dennis was lying in a fetal position on soft mud between the pickup truck right front tire and embankment next to the road. His bike was behind the right front wheel of the truck and badly mangled. I called out his name, he recognized me, I asked him how he felt, and he said I’m just lying here thinking about what to do next. He indicated his left shoulder hurt but he did not appear to be in any discomfort. I did not see any bleeding or bruises. I was relieved. Sizing up the situation, this could have turned out much, much worse. But for split seconds and fractions of inches this could well have been a multiple fatality accident.
Within 5 minutes of the accident a club member who is a paramedic in Milpitas (can’t remember her name) was on her way to work and came upon the scene. She took control and had some jackets with her so we were able to keep Dennis comfortable.
I was surprised that Dennis was airlifted to Stanford hospital but one of the paramedics later told me there was evidence of memory loss so this is standard procedure. At one point early on the young driver of the pickup (I estimate him to be about 20) came over and apologized to Dennis. Dennis asked him how fast he was going and the young man replied 30-35 mph. Dennis said too fast. Clearly Dennis was fully aware of the situation at that point. Later when the paramedics arrived Dennis could not recall what happened.
Unfortunately I’ve come upon bicycle accident scenes before. The good news is that people always seem to instinctively know what needs to be done. Several riders positioned themselves upstream and downstream to slow down oncoming traffic. Several people stayed with Dennis to keep him comfortable. Everyone else stayed in the background and out of the way. My instincts were to inform new riders arriving at the scene about what had happened and to assure them that it was not serious.
Looking at my cell phone log I see that I placed the call to 911 at 11:46 AM and received a callback 11:58 AM – the same time the ambulance arrived (it seemed so much longer). Looking at my GPS log I see the accident happened 5.0 miles northeast of Highway 9.
~Jerry Schonewille
Paul, Ray and I went down to Stanford to check on Dennis. He was in good spirits, but tired and hurting. He has a broken collar bone and two fratures to the shoulder blade. They kept him until 8pm, as they took xrays twice and then a cat scan. One fracture may go into the joint and that was the cause for additional concern. He needs to go back into be check more extensively on Monday. When we left he was being taken home by Anne and Christopher, and their just arrived out of town guests...
~Grete Johnson
I was within 20 yards in front of Dennis.  I can also be a witness if needed.  The truck driver was going down way too fast on turns.  The truck was sliding to the opposite direction, the truck driver tried to correct it by swinging back to his lane but then he over corrected and tried to correct again.  That caused a 180 degree spin and hit Dennis.  Although I was in front of Dennis, I saw the impact through my rear view mirror.
~Ben Luu
Hi folks,
I'm alright as far as we can tell. The ambulance took me to Dominican Hospital where after various pokings I was deemed fit for discharge. It wil be some time before the image of that F150 coming at me disappears. I leaped off the bike while twisting to my left to avoid the truck and most likely landed on my back where the road "coves" into the ditch. All body parts seem to be working, but I really ache in the area between my ribs and pelvic bones.
I consider myself very lucky. I had heard the tires before the truck appeared and feared trouble. It screeched anound the corner and skidded into the uphill lane (the road is reverse-banked and was wet). The driver over corrected and shot towards the creek side. I was peddling as fast as I could uphill which no doubt saved me. The driver again overcorrected and now came toward me, but was skidding. I jumped, the truck continued skidding, and I heard it hit Dennis.
I really lost it; yelling at the driver - I thought Dennis was dead. I tried to cell-out, but the signal was so low that 911 got me some residence and the person answering couldn't grasp the fact that we needed help. I stopped a truck and sent it back to Boulder Creek asking the driver to call for an ambulance and the police. Other riders were arriving and several took up positions above and below the site to stop traffic, letting one direction go at a time. Litsel(?) Urnst had stopped and volunteered her paramedic training. Dennis was able to move arms and legs and feel everytihing, but didn't want anybody touching his left shoulder - presumably the contact point with the truck.
The truck had done a 180 and was pointing uphill and had hit a pickup coming up Bear Creek. The driver (Brian Iles of Ben Lomand) took down all the accident-related details. It took about 20-minutes for the first ambulance to arrive and about 30 or more before the CHP arrived - officer Griefer. They decided that it would be prudent to medivac Denis. They immobilized him on a gurney and presumably drove down to Boulder Creek where he was picked up. We didn't know where they were taking him until the heliocopter took off.
By now it was hard for me to stand and I felt it would be worse if I sat down. Eventually everything was cleaned up; I climbed into the remaining ambulance and rode to Dominican. My paramedic rider was a Catagory 1 pro and also raced mountain bikes. He had been in so many accidents (including some as a bike-messenger in SF) that I decided not to play the sympathy card.
I'm now home; glad to be alive and uninjured; and not looking forward to living with the bruises,
~Tom Sawyer