News

MP cyclist severely injured

Driver arrested for felony drunken driving

Menlo Park resident MaryAnn Levenson, a 48-year-old bicycle racer and mother of three, is slowly recovering from the severe injuries she suffered two days before Christmas when an allegedly drunken driver in a red pickup truck struck her as she was riding on Sand Hill Road, dragging her about 35 feet.

Ms. Levenson was returning from a training ride at about 3:40 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23, and heading east on Sand Hill, just east of Interstate 280, when a truck driven by Hillsborough resident Walter

Sorensen crossed into the bike lane and "ran up and over" Ms. Levenson and her bicycle, said Sgt. Ron Prickett of the Menlo Park Police Department.

She and her bike were dragged about 35 feet, said her husband Scott Levenson, a gastroenterologist at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City who said he talked with some of the five witnesses to the incident.

Ms. Levenson rolled free of the truck when it jumped the curb and opened up space underneath, her husband said.

The 76-year-old driver tried to drive away with the bicycle still under his truck, but someone in a sport utility vehicle blocked his way, witnesses told Mr. Levenson.

With extensive injuries to her head, neck, spine, ribs, airway, pelvis, arms, legs, and feet, she was rushed to Stanford Hospital, where a team of 10 surgeons operated on her for nine hours, her husband said.

Her neck has been immobilized because of broken vertebrae and she has had a breathing tube inserted through her shattered larynx, he said. Part of her right foot had to be reattached. Her bike helmet was crushed and worn in places where it had been dragged, Mr. Levenson added.

Menlo Park police arrested Mr.

Sorensen at the scene for felony drunken driving.

The police department's incident log entry for Dec. 23 notes Mr. Sorensen's arrest on drunken driving charges and describes his truck, but says nothing about the accident or the bicyclist.

The speed limit on Sand Hill Road where the accident happened is 45 mph, Sgt. Prickett said.

San Mateo County Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Mr.

Sorensen is scheduled for arraignment at San Mateo County Superior Court on Tuesday, Jan. 30, but that his office has not yet decided on the charges.

Ms. Levenson, a dietitian, is the mother of three boys -- 7-year-old twins and a 10-year-old. She is a category 2 racer -- just below professional -- for the Bay Area-based MetroMint Cycling team, her husband said.

With her jaw wired shut, Ms. Levenson spoke briefly over the phone with the Almanac. "I am thankful to be alive," she said, adding that she plans to "get back on (her) bike" when she recovers.

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