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Elderly Woman Ticketed In Crash With Hopkins Bicyclist

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Nathan Krasnopoler

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)— A Hopkins student is on life support after being hit riding on his bicycle. The driver gets two tickets but keeps her license.

The victim was riding his bike when he was run over by an 83-year-old driver. Now Baltimore’s state’s attorney hopes the accident will lead to big changes.

Adam May is following new developments in the case.

The elderly driver will not lose her license. Prosecutors say her conduct didn’t rise to level of gross negligence.

The investigation into a bicycle accident that left Johns Hopkins student Nathan Krasnopoler in a coma resulted in two citations for Jeanette Walke, 83.

Cited with negligent driving and failing to yield, Walke could receive a maximum penalty of $500 and three points on her driving record for each violation.

“We thoroughly investigated, worked with the police department, interviewed witnesses, did accident reconstruction, and it was our view the citations were appropriate,” said Gregg Bernstein, Baltimore City State’s Attorney.

The student’s family agrees on the outcome.

“The family is relieved that the police and state’s attorney have taken this case seriously and decided to charge Ms. Walke with a crime,” said Andrew Slutkin, attorney for victim’s family.

Krasnopoler is still hospitalized— unlikely to make a full recovery. 

“My poor son, the smart boy who was great at math and computer science now has brain damage,” said Nathan’s father Mitchell Krasnopoler. “Three seconds would have prevented all that, maybe two seconds. She just needed to wait.”

Last month, Krasnopoler’s parents joined efforts to increase bike safety awareness.

In 2009, 630 Americans died in bicycle accidents, 70 percent in urban areas. In our region, Maryland has the second highest fatality rate— only behind Delaware.

“When you prosecute a case like this with citations, at least you’re drawing attention to it so that the public and motorists are aware, and you hope they’ll [be] more conscious of bicyclists on the road,” Bernstein said.

“If you see a bicycle, you need to pay attention to where it is,” said Mitchell Krasnopoler. “If that means waiting a few seconds, just wait because our life has been turned upside down.”  

Nathan Krasnopoler’s family has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the driver.

This week, the General Assembly passed a driver negligence bill. It creates a new misdemeanor charge possible for drivers involved in a fatal bicycle accident.

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