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Trial due in cyclists' deaths

The Tulsa World: Trial due in cyclists’ deaths

A woman is accused of driving drunk into a pack of bicyclists, killing two of them.

By BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Published: 12/4/2009 2:20 AM
Last Modified: 12/4/2009 5:31 AM

A man who survived a crash that claimed the lives of two other bicyclists testified Thursday that the bike riders were struck by a vehicle "without any kind of warning."

At a preliminary hearing, John Moore said he was riding third in the group of three bicyclists on the afternoon of June 9 and was the first to be struck.

He said he was thrown into the air and landed on the highway’s shoulder, suffering a concussion, cuts to his back and elbow, and bruises.

Moore’s two companions, Christa Voss, 33, of Owasso and Matthew Edmonds, 34, of Tulsa, were fatally injured.

Tulsa County prosecutors allege that Tausha Borland of Sand Springs, while under the influence of alcohol, drove a Ford Explorer SUV into the bicyclists.

At Thursday’s hearing, Tulsa County Special Judge Allen Klein ordered Borland, 38, bound over for trial on two counts of first-degree manslaughter and a third felony count, leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

Borland is also charged with a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence and injuring Moore, who was treated at a hospital and released.

A laboratory analysis of blood drawn from Borland after the crash indicated that she had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.09, which is more than the 0.08 level that constitutes driving under the influence.

The bicyclists were peddling east when they were struck from behind on the shoulder of Oklahoma 51 near 161st West Avenue, west of Sand Springs.

Moore testified that the three were on what had been a routine training ride and were on the wide shoulder — not in a traffic lane of the highway.

State troopers have said Borland’s SUV swerved onto the shoulder, and they reported that she drove another quarter-mile after striking the bicyclists.

Sherrie Catron testified that she was driving west on Oklahoma 51 and saw the SUV stopped along the highway. It obviously had been in a collision, she said.

She said she saw Borland standing by the SUV.

Catron indicated that after she saw the accident scene, she pulled over to offer assistance, and she came into contact with Borland.

Borland put her hands in the air and said, "I’m fine," Catron testified.

Borland, who was bloodied and had glass shards in her forearm, said "she had full coverage and AAA."

She was "very disoriented" and "unsteady on her feet," Catron said.

Borland denied having hit the bicyclists and said she had swerved to miss "something big and metal" in the road, according to Catron’s testimony.

Sheriff’s Deputy William Adams said he detected a slight odor of alcohol and saw that Borland had bloodshot eyes when he saw her that afternoon.

Borland indicated that she had been driving home and said "something hit her vehicle," Adams said.

She didn’t specify what had hit the SUV, he said.

At one point he asked her to stand up, and when she tried to do so, she "fell to all fours" and giggled, Adams testified.

Borland remains free on bond.