Pinnacle Airlines executive in critical condition after crash

By Lori Brown - bio | email

Germantown, TN (WMC-TV) - The Vice President and Controller of Pinnacle Airlines was in critical condition one day after a car crashed into him while he was on his bicycle in Germantown.

The crash happened at eight in the morning Sunday near Houston Middle School. As a driver turned left from Wolf River Boulevard onto Grovecrest he hit the bicyclist, Paul Lopez.

"He never stopped," Eva Paharik said. "The guy on the bike went flying into the air, lands on the guy's windshield, and then almost just flopped off, and came and rolled head first."

Lopez lives in Collierville and is a husband and father of three small children.

"He was having a hard time," Paharik said. "You could see that in him....He had that wet gurgle....Blood starting coming from his nose."

Paharik says while the driver was pulled over in his car apparently in shock, she flagged someone down to help. That person happened to be a doctor, and he may have helped save Lopez's life.

"He said we need a towel."

Paharik was able to call Lopez's wife because he was wearing a Road ID wrist band.

"That was the first thing I looked for," Paharik said.

A family friend says a day after the crash Lopez is showing good signs.

"He is responding very well to doctors, is able to squeeze hands, when asked to lift one or two fingers he's able to do that," Molly Stevens said.

Stevens says Lopez was training for a triathlon. Stevens read us a message from Lopez's wife Connie.

"Bikers everywhere want drivers to know to be kind to us and please pay attention," the note said.

"It just takes a second," Stevens said. "It just takes a second to change someone's life forever."

Connie Lopez hopes every bicyclist or runner wears what's called a "road ID" with emergency contact numbers on it. You can get more information about road ID's when you click on the link by this story.

Germantown police say they are still investigating the crash, the driver may face misdemeanor charges.