BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – An accident on Sunday afternoon has left a former Olympic bicyclist seriously injured in Boulder County, but on Monday his family reported some encouraging news about his condition.
According to Cpl. Heather Cobler, Dale Stetina, 57, was cycling in Lefthand Canyon with a group heading eastbound when an SUV heading westbound crossed the center line all the way to the eastbound shoulder. The driver then corrected just as the group of cyclists was coming around a slight corner.
None of the cyclists collided with the SUV but Stetina lost control and went over his handlebars after swerving and braking hard.
Dale Stetina was wearing a helmet but sustained life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to Boulder Community Hospital. He’s reported to be in critical condition with a brain injury. On Monday Dale Stetina’s brother, Wayne Stetina, said he was making significant strides that are surprising his doctors.
“Dale has a serious brainstem injury and yesterday his entire left side seemed to be paralyzed,” Wayne Stetina said. “He has regained almost full movement of his left side and at this point appears to have no paralysis, so that is incredible progress.”
The driver of the SUV remained at the scene. His name hasn’t been released.
The Boulder Daily Camera reported that according to 303cycling.com, Dale Stetina is a two-time winner of Colorado’s Coors Classic and father of Boulder pro cyclist Peter Stetina.
Dale Stetina has won more than 200 domestic and international bike races during his career.
Stretches in Lefthand Canyon can be dangerous for cyclists.
“It’s very popular, so there’s a lot of bike traffic and automobile traffic,” competitive cyclist Steve Porsborg said.
Porsborg says sometimes the difference in pace between the two can cause serious problems — and serious accidents.
“There is a degree of animosity between certain riders and automobiles, automobile drivers, and you can feel it when you are out there,” Porsborg said.
It’s not clear if there was any malice involved in the incident, but it doesn’t appear that way. So far the driver of the SUV hasn’t been cited.
“Dale is a bit of a fixture in the bicycle community, and so I think it affects a lot of people,” Porsborg said.
Dale Stetina’s family has been posting messages on Twitter saying he may have started to respond to communication requests but it’s still too early to tell.