Bicyclist flown to hospital after hit & run in Guntersville; suspect caught

(Photo: Carson Clark/WHNT News 19)

(Photo: Carson Clark/WHNT News 19)

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Police have charged a man with leaving the scene of an accident Tuesday morning in Guntersville.  Police say Robert Wesley Westmoreland, 33, hit a bicyclist and drove away.

The collision happened around 9:30 a.m. on Highway 431 in Guntersville, on top of the mountain in front of the Wavaho station.

Guntersville Police Chief Jim Peterson identified the man riding the bike as Presume Mibia.  He is Haitian, and was in the area on a work visa.

Mibia had severe injuries, police said, and was flown to Huntsville Hospital for treatment.  As of Wednesday afternoon, he was listed in good condition.

Witnesses at the scene were able to give a description of the driver and the Jeep Cherokee involved.  Albertville Police found him at the Crossroads Mall.

21 comments

  • Scott Murphy

    This is why Alabama is ranked 50th in bicyclist friendliest States and number 1 in obesity…..

  • NUNJA

    Bicyclist should not be on main roads !!!!!! period , Every cyclist I have ever come across looks at you with a go to H*** LOOK when you pass them. Get off the main highway. & use better judgment. And No the motorist should not have left the scene (probably illegal or on meth) & if they find out who he or she or it is they should be thrown under the jail.

    • Randall

      @Nunja, whether you agree with it or not, cyclist are allowed on highways and other surface streets. Maybe they look at you with anger because you’re passing them too closely or at unsafe speeds. Cyclist have no problem whatsoever with motorists that give them 3 feet of space and pass in a safe manner. And before you whip out the “they don’t stop at stop signs or red lights” argument, save it. We’ve all seen those lines regurgitated time and time again – it’s a straw man argument. Motorists do the same things, and they also text message, and speed, and eat, and a myriad of other illegal activities while driving. Furthermore, studies and statistics show that most cycling accidents have nothing to do with the cyclist rolling through stop signs or running reds, but rather motorist error.

  • Justathought

    @PHIX174: Under Chapter 6 of your aforementioned post in the Alabama Driver’s License Manual, lists LAWS of the road. Bicycles are not mentioned in this Chapter. Bicycles are mentioned in Chapter 3, right after “Sharing the roadyway.” These are purely recommendations not indicating that bicycles operate under the “same” law as motor vehicles. How can they? They are not gas nor electrical powered and can not travel high rates of speed, as to keep up with “motor vehicles.” I would like to insert the LAW, as quoted in Chapter 6, under Speed Regulations, “Where they
    are posted, any speed below that minimum is considered to be unlawful under normal weather, road, and traffic conditions. You must never drive so slowly that you will interfere with other cars or vehicles moving at normal
    safe speeds. Many accidents are caused by drivers who block or hinder other traffic by driving at speeds that are too low.”

    I feel for the injured bicyclist and by no means condone the horrible, thoughtless act of the driver, who is at fault. But to say that bicyclists belong on public roads. I disagree. I’ve seen them riding on a busy two lane highway during rush hour. Why? There are tons of subdivisions along that same highway.

    • jim

      Actually they do belong on public roads and have just as much right to be there as automobiles.
      Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.
      (Acts 1980, No. 80-434, p. 604, §12-102.)

      • Justathought

        Jim… I am aware that you have regurgitated Acts from some form of book. What I’m wondering is what book are you referring to? Citations customarily include the place of reference. Thanks.

    • Jim2

      Justathought, why are you driving on busy highways when you could just as easily be driving through those “tons of subdivisions along that same highway?”

      • Justathought

        A bicyclist doesn’t have the need to travel a highway. Bicycling is a recreational sport. Commuting is a daily necessary task for tax payers such as myself. If you can provide a way home through subdivisions for me, I would like to have those directions.

  • Darryl

    I rarely turn my back to traffic when riding a bike. I use the entire road keeping as much distance as possible from vehicles.

  • RSVR

    Let’s see; the state that is 48th in public education has trouble with their driver’s education also. Go figure.

  • Country Boy

    Section 32-5A-263 Code of Alabama 1975
    Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.
    (a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.
    (b) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
    (c) Wherever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.
    (Acts 1980, No. 80-434, p. 604, §12-105.)
    ****Observe the part about “riding as near to the right of the roadway as practicable…” I can ride my bike on the white line, many times to the right of the white line but I DO NOT have the right to ride anywhere near the middle of the lane, or even several feet to the left of the white line marking the edge of the roadway. Many, many, many times on Huntsville Browns Ferry Road during the most busiest times bicyclists are riding as if THEY own the roadway totally neglecting the law as stated above. It is as if they are trying to get hit in order to facilitate an argument in the hopes of changing laws. I have even seen bicyclists challenge vehicles. Stupidity at the very least. If I wanted to matyr myself for a cause it sure as heck wouldn’t be for bicycle rights!

    • Unimpressed

      Country Boy seems like quite the legal expert. ‘Practicable’ does not equal ‘Possible’. Cyclists are entitled to as much as the lane as needed for safe passage. Cowering in the gutter so motorists can squeeze past in the same lane is neither safe, nor the cyclist’s job. Roads are a public use facility paid for from general funds, not just fuel taxes and title and tag fees. As such, roads are first come, first served. No where under Alabama Uniform Code does it say the slower moving vehicle must yield to the faster or larger vehicle approaching from behind, unless it is an emergency vehicle on official business. However, Country Boy, as a self-appointed legal scholar, fails to see it that way. No cyclist, regardless of location will ever give him the idea that they belong on the road. No argument will convince him. You are better off arguing with a coffee table.

  • Nuclear Mike

    Again, Alabama’s roads & highways are not for bicyclists…the bicyclists endanger all of us driving.

  • Country Boy

    Look at (c) above…There is a pathway along several roadways but I will pick County Line Road for this example. If there is a path along County Line Road (east side) why am I dealing with riders ON County Line Road? According to the law they are to be riding on the pathway. Additionally, what defines a “pathway”? Is that a sidewalk? An asphalt path? As far as I am concerned, if a bicycle can fit on it and it parallels a roadway then drivers should have no dealings with bicycle riders on the roadway because the bicycle riders are supposed to be off the road and on the pathway…period. PS…I am a bicycle rider and I do have knowledge that certain bicycling clubs DO instruct, and/or suggest, that their members take full advantage of the PERCEIVED law AS THEY PRESENT IT rather than the entire written law as prescribed by the law making assembly of this state. Folks, they is more than the one section of code that all the “bicycle coalition” always cites!! Fact is, these ______ bicyclists give all bicyclists a bad reputation. I am actually fearful of bicycling on any roadway anymore because I FEEL the tension between bicyclists and drivers and truthfully, the drivers will win, after all, they already have a lethal weapon in their hands and bicyclists have what?

  • bigrobinson

    There are some good observations on both sides of the issue here. I am a cyclist and primarily want to have fun and stay safe. I do my best to stay out of the way of cars and exercise some mutual respect and common sense. This does not have to devolve into some kind of war between cyclists and drivers. Cycling has some great benefits not just for cyclists, but for the community. Cyclists are also taxpayers, by the way. The sensible thing is to provide more bike lanes for typical commuter routes. That will encourage more people to bike to work and be able to do so without holding up car traffic. That is the point of the bike lane: to keep car traffic moving and make cyclists safer. It cuts down on traffic and congestion, improves health and happiness. Peace brothers and sisters.

  • Unimpressed

    Before the Internet Bike Blather gets too far out of hand, let me hand out these handy bingo cards so we can keep track of those standard-issue tropes that get trotted out on these strings.
    http://imgur.com/f5EzI9j
    You’re welcome.

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