South African Krige Schabort, a world-class wheelchair racer, was injured in a hit-and-run accident that was allegedly caused by a man driving under the influence. Schabort was traveling with a group of six cyclists (including his son) in Cedartown, Georgia when the back wheel of his wheelchair was struck by a driver, sending him into a ditch. According to the Northwest Georgia News, Schabort received a large cut on his cheek and a multitude of bruises and was treated at Polk Medical Center, where he was later released. Two men, John Rampley and Joseph Jeffers, were arrested for the DUI hit-and-run accident, officials reported.
Cedartown has many Georgia Department of Transportation designated bike routes throughout, and is a popular bicycling tourist destination. Witnesses say that the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed when it hit Schabort’s wheelchair. John Rampley was charged with driving under the influence (DUI), following too closely, driving on a suspended license, and failure to report an accident with injuries, damage, or death. He also reportedly had an existing warrant out relating to charges of first degree forgery, and two previous bonds that have since been dropped. Joseph Jeffers was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a license. They both remain in Polk County Jail.
Schabort had just returned from the Kona Ironman wheelchair racing competition in Hawaii, where he won his division’s championship and set a world record. He was paralyzed while serving in the military in 1987 when a Russian plane dropped a bomb that hit him during a battle with Angola. Before becoming a wheelchair racer, Schabort broke the South African disabled athlete swim record and played wheelchair basketball. Schabort moved to Cedertown from South Africa in 1997 when his wife was offered a job near Atlanta.
Effective July 1st, a new Georgia law requires motorists passing bicyclists to leave a minimum of three feet of clearance between their vehicle and the bicycle. Despite this, accidents still occur between vehicles and bicyclists. Especially when the vehicle is moving quickly or the driver is intoxicated, bicycle accidents can be catastrophic, and even fatal. Injuries by bicyclists in these types of accidents can be very serious given their vulnerability.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, contact an experienced Georgia bicycle accident attorney to see if you could possibly receive compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free, no-risk case evaluation. Our attorneys can handle any auto accidents, including those caused by issues like drowsy driving.