Nearly six months after hitting a Starkville woman who was riding her bicycle, Robbie Norton of Cedar Bluff was found guilty of simple assault with a deadly weapon by the Clay County Justice Court yesterday.
Norton hit Jan Morgan, who was out on a training ride with Kim Richardson, on the morning of May 22 on Highway 50 near Pheba.
Norton entered not guilty to the charges of simple assault with a deadly weapon so the case proceeded with a trial.
Morgan could not testify to the events of that day because the head injury she suffered due to the accident caused her to forget.
Monica Jones testified that she was driving behind Norton going approximately 70 miles per hour and had seen Morgan and Richardson before the accident. When Morgan was hit, she said she “thought it was a piece of furniture or something,” but realized it was the bike flying up into the air and breaking in two.
When she and her husband realized what had happened, they pulled over and called 911. Jones said she witnessed Norton getting out of the car on the phone “saying ‘they came out of nowhere, they came out of nowhere.’” Morgan’s body landed on the hood of the car, but slid to the ground, landing near the passenger-side tire.
She said Norton was panicking when she got back into her car and in an attempt to move the car out of the way, ran Morgan over and stopped with the wheel still on Morgan’s head. Jones said they were all screaming at Norton to “get off her head,” but Norton became confused, got out of the car to look before getting back in and backing the car off Morgan’s body.
Jones said Norton got back in the car again, but they were afraid she was going to try to move the car again, so they forced her to get out of the car and give them her keys.
She said she never saw Norton’s break lights until after the impact.
Richardson also took the stand to testify. She and Jan were about 30 miles into their ride when the accident happened. She said she was riding just a few feet in front of Morgan when Norton hit her. The impact made a sound “like a gunshot,” and the car sped past Richardson while Morgan’s body flew approximately 6 feet in the air. Richardson said she saw Morgan’s body bounce twice on the hood before falling to the pavement. She, too, witnessed Norton on the phone as she emerged from the car, but said she heard her asking someone to “come and get her.”
Following the accident, Richardson said she “didn’t think (Morgan) was going to be alive when I got to the hospital.”
Read the complete article at Starkville Daily News.