The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Bicyclist hit by distracted driver Thursday

Local man is recovering from injuries after the collision


Valdez Star photo

Valdez man Eric Auten is recovering from a number of injuries after he was struck by a vehicle Thursday evening.

A local lawyer's dream of cycling in next month's Fireweed 400 was dashed after he was hit by a car Thursday evening while out for a ride.

Eric Auten, looking a little worse for wear Friday, said that he was heading towards the bike path for "about a three minute bike ride," at the time of the incident, which occurred as he was crossing Pioneer Dr. where it meets the Richardson Highway.

Steve Revis photo

Police prepare to move the mangled bicycle.

He said he saw the driver of the compact car, Tamara Orr, who was preparing to turn onto Pioneer Dr. from the Richardson Highway – a split second too soon, as it turns out.

"A tenth of a second," he said, "it would have been much worse."

The next thing he remembers is the faces of emergency responders on the scene.

"I blinked and they were there," Auten said, marveling at the fast response time.

Auten was up on crutches Friday, but his injuries were serious. In addition to a large number of cuts, contusions, a skull fracture and the usual road rash, he had others he called bizarre.

The bike, a Trek Fuel 901 frame, appeared to be totaled.

Valdez police did not respond to enquiries regarding the accident.

As for Auten, instead of hitting the road in Alaska's largest bicycle race next month, he will be on the road to recovery.


Reader Comments

Katmal writes:

Why is there not in more information in this article about the driver? She was distracted yes, but it would be good to know what she was doing. People need to know that she had turned completely around in her seat to tend to a child. We have had a number of bicyclists killed because of this. Are there charges being pressed against the driver?

BikerAnon writes:

Yet another reason why I'm afraid to ride in this small town of Valdez. I'm not afraid of rain, snow, ice, or bears... I'm afraid of drivers with very little consideration who haven't learned to share the road (ugh so selfish!) Wake up, people! Pedestrians are real! Get out of your big honkin car and smell the nature as you pedal to work. BTW haven't you noticed gas is $4.76??? Can you imagine how much $$$ you'd save with a bike? **Just a reminder hand out is left, hand up is right. Thanks.


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