ONLY ON 4: Cyclist says hit-and-run crash appeared to be 'intentional'

Posted at: 06/12/2014 5:23 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A witness believes a hit-and-run crash that nearly killed an Albuquerque music teacher who was riding her bike was intentional.

The witness, who was also on a bike, said the same SUV that hit the woman also tried to run her off the road.

Barbara Rivers is recovering at UNM hospital from a long list of injuries including bleeding in her brain, a broken ankle and severe road rash. But her husband, Thom Stein, said she's expected to make a full recovery.

"Had she not been wearing a helmet she most certainly would have died," he said.

Rivers is a well-known music teacher for APS and also an avid cyclist.

"She's a competent, conscientious cyclist,” said Stein. “She was just out there on a beautiful day having a good time."

Saturday morning an SUV hit Rivers as she rode her bike through this round-about at 4th Street NW and Roy Avenue. The driver didn't stop. Another cyclist found Rivers unconscious in the middle of the road.

“To me, it was an intentional hit and run,” said Roni Gibbons, who called 911 and stayed with Rivers until paramedics arrived.

Gibbons said the same SUV honked at her and swerved into the bike lane just moments before hitting Rivers. She said the SUV went up on two wheels when it turned into the round-about.

"There was a cyclist further east of her that says they had done the same thing to him,” she said. “And when they got to me they harassed me. They got to her and they actually hit her.”

At this point, investigators aren't considering the crash intentional. Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputies said it's more likely the driver was speeding and lost control.

Stein has a strong message for whoever was behind the wheel.

"I need them to think about what they're doing, why they're doing it, and whose lives are truly affected by this,” he said. “They're careless and senseless. Maybe it was for fun. I need them to know that they're affecting more than just their good time afternoon. They're affecting people's lives."

Witnesses weren't able to get a license plate number. But they describe the SUV as a dark green, faded Isuzu Rodeo. There was plastic over the back window with a hole for the driver to see out of. Deputies said there was also a ‘NOTW’ bumper sticker on the back, which stands for ‘Not Of This World.’

If you have any information about the vehicle or the driver that hit Rivers, call the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office at 505-798-7000.