AVON LAKE, Ohio (WJW) – A woman who pleaded guilty to hitting a bicyclist and leaving the scene in Avon Lake was sentenced Monday morning.
Allison Spoerl, 23, is accused of hitting cyclist Patty Banks with her car and leaving the scene.
The incident happened on May 15, 2019.
Prosecutors say the impact caused Banks to be thrown into the air.
Banks was seriously injured.
Investigators eventually found Spoerl’s car at a body shop, where it had been taken to repair a cracked windshield and front-end damage from the crash.
Prosecutors say Spoerl additionally tried to cover up the accident by calling the insurance company and saying she had hit a trash can.
Spoerl entered a guilty plea in September.
The cycling community turned out before the sentencing Monday in a show of support for Patty and to bring more attention to the dangers cyclists face on the road.
“We have to make people aware that cyclists have the right to be on the road, hitting them is unacceptable and leaving them for dead is inhumane. I would have died on Lake Road that day had Marcia Herwaldt not been there,” said Patty Banks.
Herwaldt was at the rally and the sentencing.
“She just landed right in front of my feet,” she said describing the day she found Banks.
“There was so much blood,” she told FOX 8. “She was not moving.”
Herwaldt said that Banks had a severed carotid artery. She stopped the bleeding until emergency crews arrived.
Herwaldt called an ambulance. Banks was taken to the hospital via life-flight.
Three days after the hospital, Herwaldt said Patty called her to take her out for lunch.
She says since then the two have stayed in touch.
She says Patty tells her whenever something good happens in her life.
“Thank you for allowing me to be here,” Herwaldt says Patty tells her when she shares good things that happen in her life.
“She almost took a mother from 3 boys,” Herwaldt said of Spoerl.
Banks spoke at the sentencing.
“If Marcia hadn’t been there, I would have bled to death,” she told the court.
She shared that she was a lifelong athlete, a former Ironman competitor and an avid cyclist.
“Because of that incident, I’ll never ride that bike on the road again. I’ll never do a triathlon again,” Banks said. “She took that away from me.”
Banks asked the judge for jail time.
“I’m blessed to be alive,” Banks shared.
Spoerl’s defense said Allison’s guilty plea shows that she has taken responsibility for her actions.
The defense said that Spoerl had the right-of-way and claimed Banks was traveling 18 mph, which put her at risk.
“She regrets it every waking minute of every day,” Spoerl’s defense attorney said.
The defense said Allison has severe anxiety which was the reason she left the scene.
“Accidents happen,” he said.
“I did not mean to hit you,” Spoerl read from a written statement.
“I don’t remember what happened at all,” she told the judge.
“I hope and pray every day that you are getting better,” Spoerl read in the statement.
“This was a negligent assault. Carelessness,” Judge John Miraldi said, telling the court that the case was not a vehicular assault or aggravated vehicular assault.
The judge said he would be sentencing Spoerl for leaving the scene and lying to the police.
“I don’t see a young lady sitting there with evil or callus, I see someone who panicked,” the judge said.
The judge sentenced Spoerl to community control sanctions for 1 year and a suspension of her driver’s license. She will have driving privileges for school and work.
The judge ordered her to pay $3380 in restitution.