STANLY COUNTY, N.C. -- A Stanly County cyclist is so upset at a hit-and-run driver, that she’s offering money out of her own pocket to find him or her.
Michelle Dowdey is offering $500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver that hit her while she was out for her ride, then left the scene. Another friend matched the amount Saturday night, bringing the total reward to $1,000.
“My head and my shoulder impacted the vehicle,” she said, describing the accident, “and from that point I don't remember anything until I woke up on the asphalt.”
Dowdey showed off the helmet she was wearing when she was hit. The back is crushed and the insulating foam is cracked where it cushioned the impact of her head hitting the pavement.
Witnesses told her she and her bike tumbled end-over-end for about 30 feet before she came to rest in the middle of the road.
She remembered being out for her normal 25-mile bike ride around 7:30 Thursday evening on Renee-Ford Road. She was about four miles into her ride when she signaled her left turn onto Nance Road.
“This driver came up behind me, went over the double yellow line like he was going to pass me, and when I went to make my turn he just impacted me,” she said.
She found herself sprawled out and drifting out of consciousness as two people who saw the accident ran up to help. Her neighbor, Liesel Norris – a 19-year-old college athletic trainer – also drove up seconds later.
Norris said she knew because of her training, she should help the injured cyclist – even before she knew it was her neighbor.
“It was traumatic,” recalled Norris. “She was kind of at her wits end, going into shock.”
But even as she lay there in pain, Dowdey said the worst feeling was knowing that the person who hit her had driven off.
“After I was hit,” Dowdey recalled the witnesses telling her, “the driver floored the vehicle and pulled away very quickly and didn't even stop.”
“I couldn’t understand how someone would leave someone laying in the road and drive off, because you wouldn’t do that for a dog.. you would go back for an animal,” she said, holding back the tears. “That thought has plagued me since it happened. Who would do that?”
Dowdey is determined to get back on her bike – even riding the same route – but she wants to get at least one driver off the road first.
“It's not going to change what happened to me,” said Dowdey, “but it might save somebody else from getting hurt, just to get this person off the road.”
Witnesses describe the car as a late 1990’s or early 2000’s silver Honda 4-door Civic or Accord, with tinted windows, “foggy” headlights, and damage to the front right headlight. The headlight was hanging out, they said, and there was a black streak across the hood of the car.
Anyone with information should call Stanly County police dispatch at 704-986-3700.