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Elderly Driver Cited For Striking Cyclist

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A Hopkins student was hit while riding his bicycle near campus and the driver behind the wheel was issued two traffic tickets. 

Andrea Fujii explains why the student's family is disappointed.

The 83-year-old driver who hit and seriously injured Johns Hopkins student Nathan Krasnopoler as he rode his bike near campus has been ticketed.  The traffic citations include negligent driving and failure to yield.  The maximum penalties are a $500 fine and three points for each violation, but Jeanette Walke can keep her driver's license.

Andrew Slutkin represents the victim's family.

"As a result of her age and the fact that she had just seen him, they are concerned that she probably should not have been driving," Slutkin said.

The state's attorney would not answer any questions but issued a brief statement that read in part, "Our combined investigation found no evidence of gross negligence, which is required to support a charge of vehicular manslaughter.  We will prosecute drivers who harm cyclists to the fullest extent of the law."

Krasnopoler will never fully recover from his injuries; his brain was cut off from oxygen for far too long.  His dad spoke to WJZ several weeks ago.

"Three seconds would've prevented all that, maybe two seconds.  She just needed to wait," said Mitchell Krasnopoler.  "If you see a bicycle, you need to pay attention to where it is, and if that means waiting a few seconds, then just wait the few seconds because our life has been turned upside down."

"The punishment in this case could never fit the conduct that took place," Slutkin said.  "It is a true tragedy in every sense of the word.  No one benefits from this."

Facing just two minor traffic tickets, the elderly driver may never even appear in court.

The General Assembly just passed a new law that would create tougher penalties for those who kill people as a result of negligent driving.  It's been pushed by bikers for years, who say it fills in gaps in the current law.

WJZ was unable to reach the driver for comment.  Krasnopoler remains in the hospital.

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