BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ A supposedly aggressive dog that caused a Bridgewater cyclist to swerve into a collision with the side of a vehicle about to make a turn set off a chain of events that led to township police tracking down a local resident who said he was unaware that the man on the bike had been hit by his car, township police reported this week.
Police said that the vehicle, driven by a resident of Hartley Lane and the cyclist were both traveling eastbound on Allen Road approaching Hamilton Road at about 6:20 p.m. last Tuesday, Sept. 10, when a large dog being walked by an unknown person supposedly "lunged aggressively" at him.
The cyclist was reportedly traveling straight on Allen Road in the marked shoulder when he said the dog lunged at him, the police report said. At the same time, the vehicle was reportedly preparing to make the right turn onto Hamilton Road, police said.
The cyclist told police he swerved to the left to avoid the dog, but said he stayed within the limits of the shoulder, the police report said. As he did so, the vehicle reportedly reached the point adjacent to him and began drifting right to start his turn, according to the cyclist.
The police report said the vehicle then hit the cyclist, with the first visible point of contact on the front right door panel. The cyclist reportedly had contact with the vehicle along the passenger side before striking the ground and sliding to rest on his left side, according to police.
Bernards Sgt. Kevin Little said in the police report that he observed road abrasion injuries and damage to cyclist's helmet consistent with the crash. Little added that a witness said that the vehicle stopped briefly on Hamilton Road before driving away as soon as a crowd gathered around the cyclist. Another witness reportedly described as a "2007 or 2008 black Lexus E350," but no one was able to describe the driver, according to the police report.
The police report said that township officer Mulhall located the vehicle as described parked in the driveway of a home on Hartley Lane.
Little's report said he "observed fresh sweat and scuff marks on the right rear window/door/ rear quarter with additional fresh scrapes from the bike on the right rear door and rear quarter panel."
Police then reportedly contacted the registered owner of the vehicle and determined that he was not under the influence of alcohol or medication.
The driver reportedly gave police a statement that he was coming from a doctor's office visit and had turned right at that intersection at approximately 6:15 p.m., police said. The driver reportedly denied seeing the cyclist prior to turning but told police he remembered "hearing something" as he turned. The driver said he stopped on Hamilton Road for a second before driving off "because I didn't see anyone or anything."
Little said that based on witness statements and his interview with the driver, he believed that the driver was unaware he had struck anyone at the time of the crash, but that the crash primarily was caused by the vehicle encroaching on the shoulder in anticipation of executing the right turn. No summonses were issued, police said. The cyclist was notified of the findings of the investigation, police said.