Baowen Li, part-time accounting major and English-language study from Guangzhou, China, was struck by a motor vehicle Wednesday evening while riding her bicycle on East Highway 80, near Chili’s Grill & Bar. Li, also known by her American name, Hebe, suffered a broken leg and underwent reparatory surgery in Abilene Thursday night. In an e-mail to ACU international students, Laura Blake, International Student Services coordinator, said Hebe is expected to remain hospitalized for several days.
Li was riding against traffic after sunset without a headlight or helmet.
“The pedicyclist was going against the flow of traffic, which caused the operator of the motor vehicle not to see her,” said Sgt. Doug Wrenn of the Abilene Police Department’s Traffic Division. “That was the largest contributing factor to the accident.”
By state law, cyclists must obey all traffic laws, and bicycles must be equipped with some type of headlight. Bicycle helmets are not required by law.
Elroy Johnson IV, sophomore marketing major from Frisco, Hispanos Unidos president and Student African American Brotherhood treasurer, witnessed the collision. Johnson heard a commotion while getting into his car, looked up and saw people running toward the scene. Johnson called 911 when he saw Li’s leg and the bicycle underneath one of the vehicle’s tires.
“The only thing you could really hear was people screaming and yelling, ‘Get off the girl, get off the girl,'” Johnson said. “It was a very hectic situation. I’ve never seen anything like that.”
Although Li is thousands of miles from home, she will not endure her rehabilitation alone. More than a dozen international students met for dinner at University Church of Christ Wednesday and signed a poster for Hebe, encouraging her and offering their condolences.