Sunday, August 02, 2009

Identity of Cyclist Revealed, More Accident Details

The identity of the cyclist who collided with a car yesterday, was revealed as 29-year-old Jessica Purcell of Manhattan.

The driver involved in the incident was 59-year-old Stephen Spiegel of Glen Rock, NJ.

The exact nature of Purcell's injuries are still not known, though she is still listed as in critical condition at the Westchester Medical Center. Last night she underwent surgery for her injuries. (See letter from her father, Greg Purcell below for more details, added August 2, 4:13 pm).

Several eyewitnesses have said Purcell crashed into the back of the car, which had stopped at the red light at the intersection of Rte.. 9W and the exit 4N from the Palisades Interstate Parkway.

Although an accident report has not yet been released, one witness to the accident who spoke off the record because a police report has not yet been issued, said that three or four cyclists in front of Purcell had been slowing but appeared to be proceeding through the red light, and then Purcell, who was several cyclists back, hit the car, a Chrysler Sebring 2004 convertible.

There was a scream, and the witness said Purcell was lying on the ground, her face bleeding profusely, and in convulsions.

Spiegel's car had damage to the rear and rear right, indicating that Purcell hit the rear right of the car before falling.

It was not clear if Purcell only collided with the back of the automobile, or if she first glanced off one of the other riders, lost control, and then went into the back of the automobile.

One witness conjectured that she may have not expected the other cyclists to slow down at the light.

None of these eye witness accounts have been corroborated by the Alpine NJ police department, which has still not released an official accident report, so the exact nature of the accident is still a matter of conjecture.

Purcell is ranked an elite level triathlete on the Nautica New York City Triathlon website, and recently competed in the New York City Triathlon 2009 which was held on July 26, 2009, a race that included a 1.5 km swim, a 40 K bike and a 10 K run.

Her total time was 2:27:53, which was about 19 minutes more than the top elite age finisher Linda Robb who finished at 2:08:56. She placed 17th out of 26 elite age female triathletes.

Several nurses and a doctor came to the scene from cars waiting for the light behind Purcell and several people called 911, while her husband, Steven Purcell comforted her.

It was not clear if she was conscious after the accident, or coming in and out of consciousness.

Both Purcell and her husband Steven were wearing the blue NYC 2009 Triathlon jerseys.


Greg Purcell said...

I am Jessica's father; another family member directed me to this blog. My wife and I would like to thank the people who have expressed concern for Jess. Jess is now in the NeuroICU at Westchester Medical Center in New York. They are keeping her sedated because of the brain trauma, which is their number one concern. She also has facial cuts, which they've sutured, and facial fractures and dissected arteries which they will address once the brain trauma is under control. She can move all of her limbs, and she's doing as well as or better than expected so far on the neurological tests, probably because she's in such good shape from her triathalons. Her husband, Steven Zebrack (they were recently married and Jess hasn't had time to change her name) has a broken collarbone and cuts and bruises but he's basically OK and is by her side. Keep praying for Jess; knowing her I wouldn't be surprised if she makes it back for the 2010 NYC Triathalon.
Greg Purcell

Jen Benepe said...

Mr. Purcell. Thank you for keeping us updated. I know that so many people are thinking about Jessica, and hoping she makes a speedy recovery. This must be very difficult for you. And I am sure everyone will be praying for her.
Thank you for writing in.
Jen Benepe

JT said...

Nice to hear that things are looking up -- I hope her recovery goes well.

Fendergal said...

Mr. Purcell, thanks for the information. I happened to pass the scene before 9W was shut to southbound cyclists, and it was pretty horrifying to see the crumpled bike on the roadway. Jessica and all her family and loved ones have been in my thoughts ever since.

Mary said...

Greg and Patsy, it brings tears to my eyes. We love you all!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Purcell,

Thank you for your update. All of my cycling and tri friends throughout the NYC area are watching her progress and most in the cycling/tri community have heard about this unfortunate incident. Our thoughts are with you, your family and her for a speedy full recovery.

Clifford Press said...

Mr Purcell,
So many of us who ride 9W are thinking of your daughter and hoping for the best. We really hope that her recovery goes well, and our sympathies go out to you and all your family. This terrible accident could have happened to any one of us, and we all know that. Please keep us updated on Jessica's progress.

Anonymous said...
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Ajlouny said...

Thoughts and prayers are with her.