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Respected rowing medalist dies in Wichita pedestrian crash

A breast cancer survivor and rowing champion was struck down and killed in Wichita's Sedgwick County. The 52-year-old woman, her husband and pet dog were walking along a gravel road when the accident occurred. The man survived. His wife and their Labrador retriever died at the scene.

Since the fatal accident in mid-November, people who knew the geologist and athlete through the Wichita Rowing Association came forward to express memories of friendship. One young woman said she was inspired by the older woman's rowing dedication throughout a course of cancer treatments. The victim received 19 rowing medals since her bout with breast cancer began, including a gold medal in a national rowing event in September.

The husband who witnessed the death of his wife remembers seeing a glint of light in his peripheral vision just before the truck accident. He yelled his wife's name, but not in time to save her or their pet.

Published reports did not identify the Wichita pickup truck driver or mention whether the truck operator would be cited for the fatality. Details of the accident went unreported - the time of day, weather and road conditions, the driver's physical state during the crash and opinions of authorities.

The loss of companionship is deeply felt by the surviving spouse, co-workers and other rowing athletes who encountered the well-loved wife and athletic competitor. A lack of information makes it unclear whether Kansas police will file criminal charges against the driver of the pickup truck.

Civil charges could result. A wrongful death complaint does not depend upon an arrest or conviction. Victims of injury accidents and spouses who are widowed by negligence have the right to ask for compensation for their losses, both financial and emotional.

Wrongful death damages may include recovery of expenses associated with a victim's funeral and burial. Damages might also cover a loss of support and pain and suffering.

Source: kansas.com, "Woman killed while walking dog was a rowing champion, breast cancer survivor," Beccy Tanner, Nov. 28, 2012

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