Elderly Driver Cited For Striking Cyclist

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Hopkins student was hit while riding his bicycle near campus and the driver behind the wheel was issued two traffic tickets. 

Andrea Fujii explains why the student’s family is disappointed.

The 83-year-old driver who hit and seriously injured Johns Hopkins student Nathan Krasnopoler as he rode his bike near campus has been ticketed.  The traffic citations include negligent driving and failure to yield.  The maximum penalties are a $500 fine and three points for each violation, but Jeanette Walke can keep her driver’s license.

Andrew Slutkin represents the victim’s family.

“As a result of her age and the fact that she had just seen him, they are concerned that she probably should not have been driving,” Slutkin said.

The state’s attorney would not answer any questions but issued a brief statement that read in part, “Our combined investigation found no evidence of gross negligence, which is required to support a charge of vehicular manslaughter.  We will prosecute drivers who harm cyclists to the fullest extent of the law.”

Krasnopoler will never fully recover from his injuries; his brain was cut off from oxygen for far too long.  His dad spoke to WJZ several weeks ago.

“Three seconds would’ve prevented all that, maybe two seconds.  She just needed to wait,” said Mitchell Krasnopoler.  “If you see a bicycle, you need to pay attention to where it is, and if that means waiting a few seconds, then just wait the few seconds because our life has been turned upside down.”

“The punishment in this case could never fit the conduct that took place,” Slutkin said.  “It is a true tragedy in every sense of the word.  No one benefits from this.”

Facing just two minor traffic tickets, the elderly driver may never even appear in court.

The General Assembly just passed a new law that would create tougher penalties for those who kill people as a result of negligent driving.  It’s been pushed by bikers for years, who say it fills in gaps in the current law.

WJZ was unable to reach the driver for comment.  Krasnopoler remains in the hospital.

  • Ernie

    During 20 years of driving I’ve been hit three times. Each time it was somebody over 70 years old. The last one didn’t even slow down for the red light and rear ended me. She got two tickets. One for not stopping for the red light and the other for failure to control her speed to avoid a collision. She got off of both in court and was still driving. She also had to use two canes to walk before the accident and had no type of hand controls to assist her driving.

  • Em

    Got a father on the road that shouldn’t be at age 80. What do we do to get them off the road? They argue their rights but we have a right too-to live!

  • susan a

    Em that happened to me and it is called “tough love.”..You take the keys and tell them that they are endangering themselves and others and tell them over and over.. You report it to DMV and the doctor but you also provide transportation for them. Get a friend, yourself, family etc.. they can’t be cut off. I took my dad’s keys at the age of 80 and he was angry but who cares.. It may have saved his life or someone else’s. There should be a law stating that those over the age of 60 need to have driving skills retested every 3 years or so.. Not a written test but actual skills. There are way too many older people driving who can’t see like they used to and deny it or don’t even realize it.. Getting old is a bit*h.. you lose so much, especially your independence. Stay tough and know that you are doing it out of love

    • mary

      I don’t disagree with taking their license from them. What i disagree with is your statement of people over 60 years old to be retested and I will be 60 this year. However, if you want to retest then you start wth everyone, because you and I both know there are a lo of crazy people out there up to and including us old folks. So i say everyone get a retest every 2 yrs. Hows that??

  • sylvan finkelstein

    why do they allow old people who have no sense of judgement anymore
    to continue to drive..everyone in politics are always coming up with new laws
    they should pass a law that simply says when lets say you turn 65 you should
    take another driving test..if you can’t pass the exam then take there license away there a danger to themselves as well to every other driver

    • Bernard F Mc Kernan

      Because Sylvan, one day you too will be old & it will come as fast as a thief in the night. Like a hit n run, you won’t know what hit you. I think there are as many young irresponsible drivers out there as there are older ones who struggle with coordination. I would suggest what an earlier poster suggested & have everyone over the age of fifty take the test again when license renewal comes up. The state can then generate more fees FROM US.

  • Doug

    ” Young,whipper snapper,OUT of my way “

    • mary

      You all will be old sooner than you think..

  • A

    Now I don’t know all the details, but I see way too many bicyclists ignore traffic laws to blow through stop lights and around stopped cars. Of course there will be accidents until everyone starts following the same set of rules!
    You have to be a super defensive driver when on a bike, and watch when you are in a blind spot.

  • 1uniquemonique

    With all due respect, people that age should be required to apply for a driver’s license all over again. Don’t just apply for a renewal, take the written test and road test all over again.

  • T

    Was he in the lane beside her? Coming towards her, across the street onto which she was turning? I’ve never read anything clear on this, other than the driver was making a right turn.

    Anyway, this is a horrible accident. I could have happened to anyone at any age.

  • Ab

    Most importantly, my best wishes go out to Nathan Krasnopoler and his family.

    I agree with the other commenters: not enough details in the article. This reads more like an RSS feed than a journalist’s product. Not even a writer’s name? When did it happen? Exactly How and Where did it happen? A balanced What?… My guess is that there was an earlier article weeks or months ago. CBS could have at least linked to it, especially if it contained more details.

    However, drivers in Baltimore are **generally speaking** a very inconsiderate group of drivers. Multiply this by a few decades and you have the inconsiderate, sight-challenged elderly who barge their way from point A to point B daily. It’s like some cosmic joke of a hybrid between Florida and Rude-ville. The only thing worse than them are the texting and drunk/drugged-up drivers. I agree, force a re-test of anyone over 60, then again each 5 years. Good luck out there.

  • whatnow

    I think retesting after a certain age is a great idea but I think 60 is a little young, I think 70 would be better. As for being rear-ended, I have been rear-ended twice, both by boys in their 20’s in too big of a hurry. Now this young man, God bless his soul, was apparently doing everything right and I feel horribly for him and his family. But as for other bicyclists, you too must obey the law. I live right by a bike path and daily I am forced to slow to 15 in a 35 because the bikes are illegally in the middle of the road, they run lights, they dart out, they ride side by side, etc. After riding bikes, their second favorite activity is flipping the bird at people in their cars. Bikers need to stop and think the roads really are for cars and you need to obey the law and be more cautious. A car can’t stop on a dime like you seem to think.

  • Ab






    …Feb. 26…

    …83-year-old woman trying to make a right turn in her car hit Krasnopoler…

    …bike lanes aren’t clearly marked. In fact, a lot of times the bike lanes disappear so there’s no continuity,…

    …the brain damage that Nathan sustained as a result of the accident appears to be permanent and he is not expected to recover any cognitive function…

    ….Krasnopoler had been in a coma since the collision. His case has aroused anger among the region’s bicycle advocates, who saw the Baltimore police department’s original response as inadequate. The police have since promised a thorough investigation…

    …The family of a comatose cyclist is suing for $10 million the driver of the car that struck him…

    And here’s a comment by Michael:
    “I mean no disrespect to the family and hope for Nathan’s sake that he pulls through and fully recovers from this unfortunate incident. However, I’m sick of these lawsuits… 10 million dollars…. an 83 year old woman, get real.

    March 23, 2011 at 8:00 am | Reply | Report comment”

    Sorry, but I have to take issue with this comment. Michael, I doubt the family is expecting to get $10 million. If I were this poor kids parent, I would sue the bejeezus out of everyone to, first, have as much money as possible to care for him, possibly for the next 40+ years! Second, to use as much money as possible to campaign for elderly driver retesting, improved cycling lanes and markings and for stiffer penalties for those who break the laws. It’s not about the money. It’s about holding people (elderly AND young) accountable for their actions behind the wheel of their precious cars, AKA, 2+ ton cruise missiles.

    The fact remains that a young kid is irreparably hurt and it could have been avoided.

  • joe

    this is a joke he should have his license taken away and fined and probation now if that was a young man or women they would have been arrested for sure

  • mike

    @sylvan finkelstein has to be the most jewish name i have seen in a while

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