Police investigating whether alcohol was a factor
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT - A veteran who came roaring the wrong way up South Main Street on a mountain bike equipped with a small motor was taken to the VA Hospital late Monday afternoon after he crashed headfirst into a pickup truck parked next to the Polka Dot Diner.
Witnesses told police that the man "reeked of alcohol" but police said it was not immediately clear whether the small 48cc motorized bicycle falls under the jurisdiction of Vermont's drunk driving laws since the state does not normally apply DUI laws to bicycles.
"That's what we're currently looking into since bicycles are not considered motor vehicles," Hartford Police Officer Thomas Howell said shortly after the crash.
Witnesses told Hartford Police Officer Tom Howell that the cyclist clipped the blue car on the right and then went headfirst into the pickup right above the rear tire
A witness who gave his name just as Ray said the bike rider, who he said he only knew as "Robert," had driven up South Main and continued the wrong way through the downtown Square despite efforts by himself and others to get Robert off the bicycle minutes earlier at his apartment building because of what they said was his apparent alcohol use.
A close-up of the dent in the pickup truck
"I said 'Just park it there because you smell like alcohol, man'," Ray recalled, adding "I told him to park it because I was worried about all the kids" who were playing around the apartments along the South Main Street neighborhood at the time.
Ray said the bike had been worked on all afternoon Monday and that appeared to be why "Robert" took it for a ride. "My neighbor just put on brand new tires and tuned everything up for him," Ray said.
The 48cc motorized bicycle appeared to be largely unscathed
Ben Griggs of Lebanon said he and other construction workers at the new office building site going up beside the Polka Dot were packing up their Nott's Excavating pickup truck which was parked next to the Polka Dot when the bike came flying at them.
"I was leaning into the truck putting stuff into it so I didn't really see it hit but I felt the truck move," Griggs recalled. "He hit his handlebar on the next car and then went headfirst into our truck. I don't think he was hurt too bad. He was up and walking around," before emergency responders arrived on the scene.
The bicyclist was loaded on a Hartford Ambulance and taken to the VA Hospital with a head injury
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