Paducah Police interview driver who hit a bicyclist August 27

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Reporter - Elizabeth Fields
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins
Web Editor - Mason Stevenson

PADUCAH, Ky. - The woman who admitted to hitting a bicyclist says she didn't know what to do afterward.  That's according to police in Paducah, Kentucky.

Officers interviewed 83-year-old Willie C. Matheny just a few days after the incident.

It happened on August 27.  37-year-old Leslie Windhorst told police an SUV, driven by a woman, hit him at 13th and Broadway.  He said the vehicle dragged him.  When he crawled from beneath it, Windhorst asked for help.  The woman allegedly said "no" and drove away.

A few days afterward, a woman contacted the McCracken County Sheriff's Department about the incident.  They passed the information onto police who met with the woman and her mother, Matheny.

Matheny told police she turned left onto Broadway through a green light.  That's when the bicycle rode in front of her.  After the collision, the bicyclist said he was okay.  She said Windhorst asked if she had a cell phone and she said "no."

That's when Windhorst picked up his bike and left.  Matheny left too, because she didn't know what to do next.

Windhorst went to a home on Jefferson Street and told the resident he had been hit by a car and thought his wrist was hurt.  The resident called police.

After talking with the McCracken County Attorney's office this week, police say no charges have been filed.

Earlier story:

PADUCAH, Ky. - For the second time in two weeks, the hunt is on for a driver who hit a bicyclist and ran.

It happened on 13th Street and Broadway in Paducah, Kentucky Tuesday.

Police say Leslie M. Windhorst was crossing 13th Street on his bike when an SUV hit him.  Windhorst told police the white or off-white vehicle dragged him a short way.  When the SUV stopped, Windhorst crawled out from under it and asked the driver for help.  The driver refused and drove away.

Windhorst described the driver as a female, between 55 and 60-years-old.  She also had short hair and glasses.

Ambulances later arrived on the scene and took Windhorst to Baptist Health Paducah for treatment.

Anyone with information about Tuesday's hit-and-run is asked to call the Paducah Police Department at (270) 444-8550 or Crime Stoppers at 443-TELL. Tipsters may also text their tips to "CRIMES" (274637) by entering "KyTips" followed by their information, or by visiting the Crime Stoppers website at westkycrimestoppers.info.

Information leading to an arrest or indictment may result in a reward of up to $1,000.

Co-owner of Bike World Martha Emmons told Local 6 she's shocked to hear about another case where a driver left a cyclist hurt. She said it's not always the driver's fault like in this case, but everyone should have the decency to stop.

"The one I witnessed, the bicyclist was clearly at fault," she said of the accident near Carson Park on Wednesday. "He rode right out in traffic without looking."

She said that she thinks the best way to protect drivers and cyclists is to educate and enforce the laws and encourage both to share the road.

Paducah Police officer Nathan Jaimet knows first-hand how hard it is to enforce the laws equally so neither drivers or cyclists feel singled out.

"It makes it difficult because there's so many bicycles out there who aren't following the law and then there's a lot of drivers out there who aren't cautious to people who are riding their bike," he said.

He also knows from patrolling on a bike how cautious you have to be.

"You really have to watch for the vehicles because they won't stop for you," he said.

He agrees with Emmons that more awareness would help. Emmons said she would start with cost effective signs that say "share the road" and paint along the outer lanes to help drivers visualize where bike riders might be.

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