Things got personal at the Lincoln police headquarters Wednesday morning, as Officer Luke Bonkiewicz briefed the media on three car crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists on Tuesday.
No one died in the crashes, but a 43-year-old woman was hospitalized with a skull fracture, among other serious injuries, a 12-year-old bicyclist was struck in a crosswalk and a 7-year-old boy on a bicycle was taken to the hospital after riding into traffic, Bonkiewicz said.
All three incidents happened within two hours Tuesday evening, jogging the memory of Bonkiewicz, who grew up in Lincoln and nearly died after a similar incident in 2003.
He was biking on the Rock Island Trail near the Lincoln's zoo, Bonkiewicz recalled. He was wearing a helmet. A truck pulled out onto the bike trail, colliding with his bike.
"I had a torn shoulder, broken foot, and I died in the emergency room," he said. "And they had to zap me back to life."
Bonkiewicz's impassioned retelling came a day after the crashes, the first of which happened near 12th and C streets at around 4 p.m. Tuesday.
As a 12-year-old boy on a bicycle entered the north end of the crosswalk, heading across C Street, a Ford Fiesta driving around 40 mph in the 25 mph zone struck the boy after braking, according to the crash report. The driver told investigators that he didn't see the boy until it was too late, according to the report.
Bonkiewicz said the 12-year-old was taken to the hospital with abrasions and other non-life-threatening injuries. The driver, a 30-year-old man, was cited for negligent driving and failing to yield to a pedestrian.
A little more than an hour later, a 16-year-old driver heading eastbound on Morrill Street struck a 43-year-old woman walking in the crosswalk, Bonkiewicz said.
The 43-year-old was transported to a local hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, including a fractured skull, lacerations, bruising and abdominal and hip pain, Bonkiewicz said. The driver has not yet been cited, but an investigation into the crash is ongoing.
Less than an hour after the incident near 65th and Morrill streets, a 7-year-old boy was struck while riding his bicycle -- the last crash in a trio that has prompted concern from police.
Witnesses told police that the boy darted out into Lake Street near 20th Street, as a 41-year-old man was driving westbound down Lake Street through the intersection, Bonkiewicz said.
The bicyclist was taken to an area hospital with non life-threatening injuries. Bonkiewicz said the driver hasn't been cited for the crash, and it's unclear if he will be. There is no marked crosswalk at the intersection.
"We are urging Lincoln residents — motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists — to use caution when using and crossing the roadways," Bonkiewicz said. "It is summertime. There's a lot of people out on the road. We understand this."
Bonkiewicz recited guidance from LPD, urging motorists to avoid distracted driving and obey traffic laws and pleading with pedestrians to wear bright clothing, use sidewalks when possible and keep headphone volumes low.
"For the love of God, wear a helmet," he said. "If you are a parent, get your kid in a helmet. I don't care if they don't want to wear it. I don't care if it's uncomfortable."
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