SPOKANE, Wash. -- A Spokane woman is suing a cyclist who she said crashed into her on the Centennial Trail.
Virginia Pearsall said she was walking on the trail near Kendall Yards with her sister, when she heard someone behind her yell, “hot pizza!” Her attorney, Daniel Fasy, said she had to go to the emergency room after the crash.
“Virginia has suffered some pretty serious injuries,” Fasy said. “She's fractured her elbow, she has leg injuries, but more importantly, she's afraid to go walk the trail. He's taken that away from her. He's taken her ability to enjoy this trail by her house from her and she may not get that back."
Fasy said Pearsall did not know what the man meant when he yelled “hot pizza!”
KREM 2 asked Justin Haller, the man on the bike, explained what he meant when he yelled out “hot pizza.”
"Hot pizza is a way in which people can calmly turn around with a smile on their face and assess for themselves what they need to do, when they see what they see," Justin Haller explained. "Versus me barking an order, 'you need to move!' If I say on your right or on your left, people do not know if that is my right or your right."
Haller said when he has yelled “hot pizza” in the past, it gets people’s attention.
"If I say on your right or on your left, people don't know if that's my right, your right, and they freak out and they get herky jerky, and then you end up getting in a close call anyway," Haller said.
Fasy said the term was confusing in this case.
"Frankly, I have no idea why anyone would yell, 'hot pizza!' I do not know why he yelled 'hot pizza.’" Fasy said. “It makes no sense, and at the end of the day, hot pizza should be left for pizza parties and other things like that, not for cycling."
Haller also said he was trying to avoid a group of women with strollers.
"It was a perfect storm of bad things that could happen,” Haller said. “This is not the first time I have seen stroller people take up the whole lane."
After the crash, Pearsall and other witnesses said Haller yelled profanities, instead of asking if she was okay.
"After he falls on top of her, he begins to, not ask her if she's ok, not check to see if she's alright or injured, but he yells at her,” Fasy said. “He swears at her. He says the path belongs to cyclists and that she shouldn't be there."
"I don't know what my reaction is, I don't really remember a lot,” Haller explained. “But, people said I promised to meet them at the hospital, which I didn't. People said I hit and ran, which I didn't. I was there for three to five minutes in a daze and didn't even move for the first minute just trying to assess what just happened and what I broke."
Pearsall is suing for negligence, outrage, and consortium. Her attorney said the main concern though is safety on the trail.
"This is to promote safety, to do the right thing, and to make sure this kind of accident does not happen in the future," Fasy said.
Haller said he is now avoiding that portion of the trail.
"I want people to be safe and know that this was accident and not on purpose," Haller said.
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