BY DEAN HOCKNEY
Courtesy of the Kokomo Herald
KOKOMO, Ind. – Excitement turned to tragedy last night north of Kokomo.
McKinley Alternative School teacher and Kokomo High School girls swim coach Donita Walters has been preparing for months for an epic summer bicycle ride from the West Coast to the East Coast (see the Kokomo Herald online story “Coast-to-coast on two wheels”). But last night, as Walters was partaking in her bike ride home, she was struck by a car traveling at a high rate of speed near 450 North and Davis Road.
Walters was thrown from her bicycle, and despite wearing safety gear, she sustained serious injuries, although initial reports are she was awake at the scene. Medics first took her to St. Vincent Health Kokomo before flying her to an Indianapolis-area hospital for emergency treatment.
According to the official Facebook page for The Wandering Project, Walters, “was alert though medicated, can move all limbs, no numbness, possible broken thumb, has two breaks in her pelvis and has a broken neck. It will be determined sometime today if she will need to have neck surgery or not. Thank you so much for the continued prayers and support.”
Walters and childhood friend Kristy Massey were planning the 3,744-mile voyage from San Francisco to Nags Head, North Carolina. While Massey was already driving out to California, Walters was planning to travel west after classes ended for Kokomo Schools on Thursday. Unfortunately, her journey ended before it even began.
“OMG!” Massey posted on Facebook last night. “I’m in total shock! We need your immediate prayers for my dear friend, Donita.”
The biking duo planned the 67-day ride, dubbed “The Wandering Project: Two Girls, Two Bikes, One Cause,” to support Homes for our Troops, a group dedicated to building specially adapted homes for service members nation-wide who returned home with life-altering injuries.
“Our goal is to raise one dollar per mile, so that is about $3,800,” Walters said last month. “We hope we can raise more than that; to adapt one room is an average of $5,000. It would be cool to say we helped build a room for a wounded veteran.”
Follow The Wandering Project Facebook page for additional updates on Walters recovery.