Man on life support after bike wreck
A man who struck a wall while riding a bicycle Thursday afternoon was fighting for his life Friday in the hospital.
Benny Lee Mahan, 48, of 523 Hill St. was speeding down the hill on Wheeler Street on his bicycle about 4:45 p.m. and was not able to negotiate a left-hand turn onto Willow Street, wrecking the bike, flying into a block wall and falling to the ground in a 3-feet-deep drainage ditch, Lenoir police said. Becky Bridges, who lives nearby and ran over to him, said, "He was bleeding from his ears and was unconscious."
Mahan, also known as Benny Lee Hood by friends, was taken to Caldwell Memorial Hospital and then flown to Carolinas Medical Center. Shakera Dula, daughter of Mahan's girlfriend, Karen Dula, said Friday afternoon that Mahan was in critical condition and on life support in the hospital's intensive care unit.
Before setting off on his bike, Mahan had called Shakera Dula to say he was on his way to Shields Furniture to buy some fuses for the house. Dula said Mahan was probably in a hurry to get to the store before it closed at 5 p.m.
"I was concerned because I knew he had been drinking, and had seen him staggering earlier," she said. "I tried to get him a ride. I feel terrible that I didn't try harder."
Police said alcohol was a factor in the wreck. He also was not wearing a helmet.
Melvin Denny, who lives nearby, said Hood often went faster down that hill than Denny thought was safe.
"He'd ride down the hill like the wind," Denny said. "I told him, 'If you ever see a car coming at the corner, you're in for a bad day.'"
Fred Bridges, Becky Bridges' uncle, said he also had warned Mahan to slow down on the turn.
"I would tell him to slow down or you're going to miss that curve one day," he said.