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Motorist cited in bicycle fatality

Southern Maryland Newspapers Online: Motorist cited in bicycle fatality

Hollywood woman’s ticket charges negligent driving

Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009

By JOHN WHARTON
Staff writer

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Maryland State Police have issued a citation with a charge of negligent driving to a Hollywood woman who was driving a car that struck and killed a bicyclist last month on Clarke’s Landing Road.

The ticket issued to 20-year-old Kathy May Lee states that the alleged infraction contributed to the Oct. 5 accident, and it was issued after state troopers conferred with a county prosecutor. Killed in the crash was Curtis Andrew Leymeister, a 47-year-old former print shop supervisor also living in Hollywood.

Leymeister was riding the bike west in the westbound lane of the roadway at 7:58 a.m. that day, police report, when it was struck from behind by a Honda Accord driven by Lee.

"We’re all required to keep a proper lookout," St. Mary’s Assistant State’s Attorney Robyn Riddle said of the recommendation that the motorist be charged with negligent driving, which the citation states carries a payable $280 fine.

The police investigation determined that the motorist was distracted from her driving, and that the morning dew was still on her windshield, police Lt. Michael Thompson said.

"She had a partially obstructed windshield, and she was preoccupied. She was reaching for a cigarette lighter," Thompson said.

Lee could not be reached for comment this week in calls to a number listed to her address. The citation states that she may request a trial in the case.

The prosecutor said there were no indications that Lee was sending a text message or otherwise using a cell phone when the collision occurred, and that there were no contributing circumstances amounting to gross negligence, a wanton and reckless disregard for human life.

"She momentarily looked down," Riddle said. "There was no alcohol, no indication of speeding [and] no indication of anything that would amount to reckless driving. We’re nowhere near the gross negligence standard."

The prosecutor reiterated earlier police comments that a bicyclist is required to ride on a roadway’s shoulder if it’s usable or as close to the edge of the roadway as possible.

"It appears from the [accident investigation’s] reconstruction that he was in the middle of the road," Riddle said.