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Island cyclist recovering after hit-and-run accident

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — A Bainbridge cyclist was at home recovering from injuries this week, after being airlifted to Harborview Medical Center following a hit-and-run collision Tuesday on State Route 305.

Bainbridge Deputy Police Chief Mark Duncan said cyclist Mark Seawell, 60, had sustained only a concussion, scrapes and bruises in the accident that tied up commuter traffic for hours Tuesday.

Following the incident, Bainbridge Police arrested a 23-year-old Poulsbo woman suspected of hitting Seawell with her truck and fleeing the scene.

Georgia Leigh Zimmerman was arrested outside of Poulsbo soon after the accident, and arraigned in Kitsap Superior Court Wednesday afternoon on a charge of hit and run. She was released on personal recognizance.

The collision took place just after 2 p.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Hidden Cove Road. Duncan said the roadway was dry at the time of the accident.

According to Bainbridge Police, Seawell had pedaled across the highway from the northbound shoulder and into the left turn lane to turn west onto Hidden Cove Road.

According to a probable cause statement filed in court, witnesses told police that the cyclist impacted the passenger side of a blue, full-size truck which was also driving north in the left-turn lane. Witnesses said the cyclist fell under the truck and the right rear wheel of the vehicle rolled over his head.

Witnesses also told police that the driver of the truck stopped her vehicle and got out to check on the cyclist, but left the scene as sirens were heard approaching.

Duncan said there were Bainbridge officers already on the north end of the island, and they were alerted that the truck had fled the scene. Police arrested Zimmerman at the intersection of SR-305 and Totten Road near Poulsbo.

Police said there was an odor of alcohol on Zimmerman’s breath, her eyes were bloodshot and a half-empty bottle of tequila was visible in the front seat of the truck.

Duncan said Zimmerman told police that she had gotten lost on her way to the Seattle ferry and was attempting to make a left turn at Hidden Cove Road, after she realized she was going the wrong direction.

The probable cause statement said Zimmerman admitted to having been at the scene and said she had seen the cyclist fall down beside her vehicle, but denied hitting him with the truck.

Police and aid found Seawell lying unconscious in the left-turn lane beside his bicycle. He was loaded into an ambulance and regained consciousness as he was driven to the Bainbridge Fire Department’s helicopter pad to be airlifted.

Seawell received care at Harborview Medical Center and was released Wednesday morning.

Duncan said Seawell remembered little about the crash, but said he recalled seeing a flash of blue as he prepared to make his turn onto Hidden Cove Road.

“The next thing he remembered was being in the ambulance asking what had happened,” Duncan said.

Police investigators said evidence at the scene suggested Seawell lost control of the bicycle after it was hit by the truck.

Seawell’s helmet, despite shattering, had absorbed most the truck’s impact and likely saved him from a skull fracture Duncan said. Police found about 20 pieces of his helmet, scattered around the bicycle.

“The bicycle helmet clearly saved his life,” Duncan said. “The bicycle helmet was in a multitude of pieces but his head remained intact.”

Bainbridge Police closed 305 from Day Road to Hidden Cove Road following the incident, and traffic was backed up for miles on a detours around Phelps Road and Manzanita. The highway was reopened at about 5:30 p.m.

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