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After former NBA star Shawn Bradley was involved in a car collision that resulted in his paralyzation, neither driver involved in the Jan. crash were reportedly cited for their role in the incident. Bradley was struck and paralyzed by a driver while riding his bike along a narrow suburban roadway in Utah.
In the heavily redacted crash report obtained by Streetsblog, an officer for the police department of St. George, Utah, offered new details about the collision. In it, the officer stated that Bradley was heading north on his bicycle on a two-lane street with no bike infrastructure shortly before 3:15 p.m. – when driver visibility was presumably high — when he approached a vehicle that had been pulled over along the shoulder of a road with the driver inside.
Bradley was attempting to pass this vehicle when a second driver approached the athlete from behind and attempted to pass him on the left with her car. She ultimately struck Bradley, who was thrown first into the rear bumper of the parked vehicle before being pushed up the length of that vehicle’s trunk, ricocheting into the side of the passing vehicle, and finally landing on his back in the middle of the road.
As written by Streetsblog, “The police report highlights how little is known about the crash, how little investigation the responding officer did at the crash scene and in the days after, and how readily police officers accepted the driver’s account.” The publication pointed out the following points:
The aforementioned driver reportedly said that in the instant after the impact she looked into her rear-view mirror just after she passed both the cyclist and the parked car and “saw the cyclist flipping forward through the air.” She pulled over as the driver of the parked car got out to check on Bradley, but she then left the scene to pick her kids up from school, returning after to talk to cops. The police noticed then that her passenger door had a “fresh scratch” with “fresh plastic on the paint,” which had come from Bradley’s handlebar end cap. Further investigation showed several dents in the parked car, which resulted from the force of Karsky slamming Bradley into the other vehicle, the report indicated.
Moreover, the officer obtained Bradley’s trip data from a Garmin system, which confirmed that he was indeed traveling at a low speed at the time of the collision.” His bicycle never exceeded 14 miles per hour, the report said.
No citations were filed, and the report does not note any field sobriety test administered to the driver.
The collision itself did not become public information until the Dallas Mavericks, for whom Bradley played the last nine years of his 14-year NBA career, issued a statement earlier this month. In it, Bradley said he would not be commenting publicly about the incident. The release also noted that the crash occurred on Jan. 20, and that Bradley has since been undergoing rehabilitation for a traumatic spinal cord injury that resulted in paraplegia, or paralysis of the lower extremities.
A recent estimate showed that the annual incidence of spinal cord injury is approximately 54 cases per one million people in the U.S., or about 17,730 new cases each year. According to Statista, the estimated lifetime cost of a patient who is 25 years old and suffering from paraplegia in the U.S. was around $2.5 million as of 2019. Just like the brain, the spinal cord cannot regrow new cells. Therefore, victims of spinal cord injuries are often left to deal with lifelong disabilities, including paralysis from the waist down (paraplegia).