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Spokesman: Gov. Ritter 'went down hard'

The Los Angeles Times: Spokesman: Gov. Ritter 'went down hard'

Governor hospitalized with broken ribs

DENVER - Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter remained hospitalized at Denver Health Medical Center Tuesday evening after breaking several ribs in a bicycle crash, a spokesman said.

Spokesman Evan Dreyer says the governor sustained five or six fractured ribs when he "went down hard" after his bike ran into the back of another as Ritter was riding with a group of four people in the area of 23rd Ave. and High Street around 6 a.m. Tuesday.

No automobiles were involved in the accident.

"The governor and the rider who was just in front of him touched wheels." Dreyer said. "The governor went down. He was wearing his helmet but he bumped his head. And then the rider behind him came down as well."

The other cyclist had a wrist injury and reports said he did not need to go to the hospital.

Dreyer says the governor is an avid cyclist and regularly goes on morning rides through the city. They group was in the first half of their ride when the crash happened, Dreyer said.

Gov. Ritter was to remain in the hospital overnight for treatment and evaluation.

News of the governor's crash traveled quickly via social media. The following message appeared on Twitter from what would appear to be from one avid bike rider to another: "@lancearmstrong: I hear my good friend and Colorado Governor Bill Ritter had a bike crash and broke some ribs. Gov, be careful!! Get well soon."

Dreyer says Gov. Ritter is in good spirits, laughing and joking with hospital staff and his wife Jeannie. He didn't know how long the governor would be out of work.

"We've cleared his schedule for today, and we'll take it one day at a time," Dreyer said.

The governor remains in charge of the state, and the state's business was continuing as normal. Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien planned to stand in for Ritter at a couple of events Tuesday.

One of the messages the governor passed along after his accident was "wear your helmet if you're riding a bike. Anybody who rides a bike without a helmet is just nuts," Gov. Ritter told Dreyer. He always rides with a helmet, and he credits it with saving him from more serious injuries. The governor did have some scrapes and bruises, but no major "road rash," according to Dreyer.