AUSTIN, Texas – Police say a man who reportedly hit a cyclist from behind has admitted to taking the prescription drug Ambien, a sleep aid, two hours before the crash.
Stephen Murphy was arrested for failure to stop and render aid and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Witnesses stopped him from trying to leave the scene of the crash.
“He was weird, whatever. Kind of seemed like he might have been on prescription drugs or something,” said Donald Morrow, a passerby who came to the aid of the victim.
An Austin firefighter for six years, 33-year-old Colin Camp was an avid bicyclist. He was riding in the bike lane of the road while wearing a helmet. As of Wednesday evening he remained in a coma in critical condition at University Medical Center Brackenridge.
One Austin attorney who represents injured cyclists and motorcyclists told KVUE News Wednesday that this case is sad but not surprising.
“I would say 50 percent, if not better, of my case load is involving some sort of impairment, intoxication or distracted driving,” said Lenore Shefman with Cyclist Law Attorneys.
Shefman believes stiffer penalties and consistent prosecution could be the key in changing attitudes and behaviors.
“When we take negative actions into a very populated area, the likelihood of injury or harm to another is going to be that much more severe. If we know that the penalty is consistent, if we know that the penalty is harsh, and if we know that the penalty will be exacted, perhaps people would choose well,” added Shefman.