MANSFIELD --Dillon Carr was on the last stretch of an 18-mile bicycle ride on Wednesday morning, planning to return home to get to his job as a reporter for Ashland Source.
He exited the Richland B&O Bike Trail and turned right onto Marion Avenue, enroute to his home in Woodland around 7:45 a.m.
"A couple cars passed me. I have ridden on that road countless times and it's always sort of busy," the 29-year-old said Thursday morning. "People often drive fast there and it was at the forefront of my mind to be conscientious and stay to the right.
"I had just crested a hill and was making my way to the next one when all of a sudden I hear a crunch and I am flying through the air," Carr said.
A newer model slate gray Toyota Highlander SUV had crashed into him, sending Carr flying onto the ground with enough force it knocked one of his shoes off.
"The car put on its brakes and looked like it was stopping, even turning around. I was angry, I knew something was wrong with my shoulder, I was holding it in place. I was looking for my phone. I was looking for my shoe. My bike was a crumpled mess.
"I didn't really look that hard at the driver. I thought for sure this person would stop and try to help. But it just turned around and drove past me in the complete opposite direction it had been going," said Carr, an Ontario High School graduate who grew up in the area.
By the time he realized the SUV was not stopping, it was too late for him to see the license plate.
"I just kept thinking I needed to get to work. I was only like five minutes from home," Carr said. "A couple of cars drove past and finally a woman named Lisa from Lucas stopped and asked if she could help. I had passed her on the bike trail just a few minutes earlier when she was walking.
"She offered to give me a ride home or to the hospital. I asked her to just take me home and I will figure it out from there. In hindsight, I should have just had her take me to the hospital," he said.
When he got home, his wife, Caitlin, saw his injuries and knew he needed medical treatment. The adrenalin from the accident had worn off and his pain was increasing.
Carr spent the next several hours at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, diagnosed with a rare posterior shoulder dislocation, a compressed fracture of his T-11 vertebra near the base of his spine and "some really gnarly road rash" on the left side of his body.
Based on a CT scan, doctors initially feared bleeding inside his head, but that later proved incorrect. He was not released until after 6 p.m. He has appointments in the coming days to see a neurologist and orthopedic doctor to follow up on the spine injury.”
Carr was fitted with a sling he will wear for the next week or so and was advised by doctors to avoid lifting and strenuous physical activity for awhile due to the spinal fracture.
He still finds it hard to believe the driver who sent he and his bike flying through the air never stopped to offer assistance.
Carr contacted the Mansfield Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol from the hospital. A trooper came and took an accident report.
"I really want to emphasize my gratitude to Lisa," Carr said. "I wish I had gotten her contact information so I could thank her. And to everyone that has been reaching out to me: my sincerest thank you."
If anyone has information on the SUV, which may have sustained damage to its right front, please call the patrol post at 419-756-2222.