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Suspect of Fatal Hit-and-Run Has Record of Hitting Cyclists

WESTERVILLE (Lu Ann Stoia) -- The hit-and-run incident that killed a St. Francis DeSales teacher may not have been the first for the driver who allegedly caused the crash.

New information about the suspect, who is not being named because no charges have been filed, revealed that she struck another cyclist two years ago in the same rural Delaware County neighborhood.

A neighbor said what happened to Robert Lennon -- the 64-year-old teacher and coach killed in September while biking on Miller Paul Road -- seems like a re-run. The difference is that that neighbor, Bill Harris, lived to tell his story. 

Harris was riding his new bike on July 2, 2011 on Fancher Road near Westerville when he was struck by a car and tossed into a soybean field.

While Harris spent two days in the hospital and months recovering, the Ohio Highway Patrol charged a 36-year-old woman with not keeping assured clear distance ahead.

She went to court and paid a $130 fine.

According to the Patrol's report, the woman said she was blinded by the sun as she came over a hill while traveling west on Fancher Road. Unlike in Lennon's case, the driver stopped after striking Harris' bicycle and wagon. Witnesses called the police.

In the 2011 case, according to the report, the suspect told troopers she was taking four medications, including drugs used for depression and mood disorders.

These types of medications can cause drowsiness and dizziness, Ohio State University pharmacist Robert Weber said. People taking these drugs should not get behind the wheel, he said.

The driver's insurance covered Harris' medical bills and Harris said the driver did call him two months after the crash to apologize.

Special Prosecutor Ken Oswalt said he is aware of the suspect's prior record. Oswalt said he plans to meet with Lennon's family on Tuesday to "discuss the options" in the case.

 
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