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Owens Healthcare Cycling Team Members Injured in DUI Hit and Run
Record Searchlight - September 8, 2006

Bicyclist Todd Dodds didn't immediately realize he and his friends had been hit by a car, or driver suspected of drunken driving.

The 38-year-old Redding man remembers something that felt like "a ton of bricks" pushing him into another bicyclist, then hitting the ground and seeing a car driving away on Eastside Road, he said Thursday at Mercy Medical Center.

"It was pretty scary," Dodds said. "It's one of those fluke accidents."

Redding police said the northbound car, driven by Jonathon Lauer, 27, of Shasta Lake, swerved Wednesday night, hitting Dodds, who was third in a line of five cyclists, and two of his friends: William Reuss, 34, a dentist who works in Anderson, and Michael Simpson, 46, a registered nurse at Mercy Medical Center.

The last two cyclists, Mark Blaser, 48, a chemistry instructor at Shasta College, and Adam Pressman, 41, an attorney, crashed into the other three, and all lay sprawled in the road, bleeding, among their broken $5,000 racing bicycles, the men said.

Bicyclist Todd Dodds didn't immediately realize he and his friends had been hit by a car, or driver suspected of drunken driving.

The 38-year-old Redding man remembers something that felt like "a ton of bricks" pushing him into another bicyclist, then hitting the ground and seeing a car driving away on Eastside Road, he said Thursday at Mercy Medical Center.

"It was pretty scary," Dodds said. "It's one of those fluke accidents."

Redding police said the northbound car, driven by Jonathon Lauer, 27, of Shasta Lake, swerved Wednesday night, hitting Dodds, who was third in a line of five cyclists, and two of his friends: William Reuss, 34, a dentist who works in Anderson, and Michael Simpson, 46, a registered nurse at Mercy Medical Center.

The last two cyclists, Mark Blaser, 48, a chemistry instructor at Shasta College, and Adam Pressman, 41, an attorney, crashed into the other three, and all lay sprawled in the road, bleeding, among their broken $5,000 racing bicycles, the men said.

Cars drove by, honking, and several drivers yelled at them to get out of the road, Dodds said.

"We were just flabbergasted," Dodds said from his hospital bed Thursday afternoon; he's being treated for a deeply bruised hip.

But Simpson said he wasn't surprised that no one stopped for them.

"This is typical for bike riders," Simpson said. "This is probably one of the most dangerous towns to bike ride in."

After the collision, a woman living nearby redirected traffic, provided them with blankets and let them use her phone, the bicyclists said. Two ambulances, Redding police and the California Highway Patrol quickly arrived.

Simpson, Reuss, Blaser and Pressman were treated for multiple bruises and released from the hospital Wednesday night, police said.

"It could have turned out a lot worse," Pressman said Thursday. "It's not like we're going to give up cycling."

All of the cyclists except Pressman are on Owens Healthcare Cycling Team. Dodds is the director of operations at Owens Healthcare.

Although the wreck was a hit-and-run, the alleged driver didn't get away.

Brian Jackson, an off-duty Shasta County sheriff's deputy, saw the collision and stopped to tell Reuss, whom he knew from high school, that the car had a flat tire and he was going after the driver, Reuss said.

Jackson and police officers caught up with Lauer at South Bonnyview Road and Indianwood Drive and found him to be intoxicated, police said. Lauer was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI, hit and run and for violating parole, police said.

In 2000, Lauer was charged with drunken driving, spent 48 hours in jail and had his license restricted, according to Shasta County Superior Court records. In 1997, he spent 60 days in jail after being charged with possession of marijuana for sale. In 2005, he was charged with possessing narcotics, according to records.

Lauer's bail was set at $50,000, and he has a court date today at 1:30 p.m., according to Shasta County jail records.

On Thursday, the five cyclists independently recalled the accident and said they were lucky to be alive and that they hope drivers will share the road and be more aware of bicyclists.

"I'm surprised we're alive," Simpson said. "We're skinny guys in Lycra. We don't have armor plating."

Cars drove by, honking, and several drivers yelled at them to get out of the road, Dodds said.

"We were just flabbergasted," Dodds said from his hospital bed Thursday afternoon; he's being treated for a deeply bruised hip.

But Simpson said he wasn't surprised that no one stopped for them.

"This is typical for bike riders," Simpson said. "This is probably one of the most dangerous towns to bike ride in."

After the collision, a woman living nearby redirected traffic, provided them with blankets and let them use her phone, the bicyclists said. Two ambulances, Redding police and the California Highway Patrol quickly arrived.

Simpson, Reuss, Blaser and Pressman were treated for multiple bruises and released from the hospital Wednesday night, police said.

"It could have turned out a lot worse," Pressman said Thursday. "It's not like we're going to give up cycling."

All of the cyclists except Pressman are on Owens Healthcare Cycling Team. Dodds is the director of operations at Owens Healthcare.

Although the wreck was a hit-and-run, the alleged driver didn't get away.

Brian Jackson, an off-duty Shasta County sheriff's deputy, saw the collision and stopped to tell Reuss, whom he knew from high school, that the car had a flat tire and he was going after the driver, Reuss said.

Jackson and police officers caught up with Lauer at South Bonnyview Road and Indianwood Drive and found him to be intoxicated, police said. Lauer was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI, hit and run and for violating parole, police said.

In 2000, Lauer was charged with drunken driving, spent 48 hours in jail and had his license restricted, according to Shasta County Superior Court records. In 1997, he spent 60 days in jail after being charged with possession of marijuana for sale. In 2005, he was charged with possessing narcotics, according to records.

Lauer's bail was set at $50,000, and he has a court date today at 1:30 p.m., according to Shasta County jail records.

On Thursday, the five cyclists independently recalled the accident and said they were lucky to be alive and that they hope drivers will share the road and be more aware of bicyclists.

"I'm surprised we're alive," Simpson said. "We're skinny guys in Lycra. We don't have armor plating."

Reporter Lauren Brooks can be reached at 225-8215 or at lbrooks@redding.com.