Mary Ribar, left, and her cousin Hannah Dooley, both of Northfield, participated in the Bike MS: Buckeye Breakaway ride. Ribar was seriously injured after she was struck by a car. PHOTO PROVIDED
LIVERPOOL TWP. — “We heard sirens … then received the phone call … Mary was hit by a car,” Susan Wiley said. “We knew something happened, but we didn’t think it was our team.”
Dressed in their yellow shirts, “Jennifer’s Warriors” were among the 1,200 riders participating in the Bike MS: Buckeye Breakaway fundraiser Aug. 5. The riders were supporting team captain Wiley’s cousin, Jennifer, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.
The warriors departed Brunswick High School just before 7 a.m. and half of the nine-member team had made it to its first rest stop about 8 miles out when Wiley got the call from a team member.
Mary Ribar, who was participating for the first time, had been hit by a car on Grafton Road.
The Ohio Highway Patrol said Anna Schieferle had to take “evasive action,” to avoid a collision with a vehicle driven by Mark Garrow, who attempted to pass a car and several bicyclists, the patrol said.
Schieferle, of Columbia Station, drove off the right side of the road, lost control of the vehicle, then crossed the road and struck Ribar before hitting a pole and flipping the vehicle.
Wiley and half of the group were ahead of the riders and did not see the collision.
Schieferle, 57, was taken to Southwest General Hospital with minor injuries, but is no longer in the hospital’s patient database.
Ribar, of Northfield, was flown to Cleveland MetroHealth Medical Center.
Wiley said Ribar lost a lot of blood and sustained pelvic fractures, and a fracture of her femur, tibia and fibula. She underwent a five-hour surgical procedure on the day of the crash.
“(The bones) were pretty much shattered,” Wiley said. “She got really lucky because right behind there was a firefighter and trauma surgeons (who were riding) and they tied off her artery because she was bleeding so bad.”
Earlier this week, Wiley said doctors inserted rods and pins in Ribar’s left leg temporarily prior to Friday’s surgery in attempt to stabilize her tibia and fibula.
“She had her third (surgery) today,” Wiley said Friday. “She had a break yesterday (and) next week she’ll probably have another one. She’ll be in the hospital for probably another week and a half.”
Wiley said Ribar is facing a challenging of physical therapy ahead.
“She’s very athletic … that’ll get her through,” Wiley said.
“Yesterday the physical and occupational therapists were able to work with her and she sat in a chair for an hour,” Wiley added. “That was really positive.”
Ribar, a senior in the civil engineering program at Cleveland State University, is scheduled to graduate in May.
“She was doing her internship … this has set her back,” Wiley said. “I’m not sure how it’s going to affect her, if she’s going to graduate on time. She is such a strong-willed person, though, that she will graduate on time.”
A GoFundMe account — gofundme.com/mary-ribar — was created to help Ribar and her family with expenses. As of Friday night, 165 people had donated $9,535 in two days, nearing its goal of $10,000.
The patrol said Garrow, 27, did not stop after the accident and continued traveling on Grafton Road. Troopers interviewed Garrow at his Strongsville home Monday, the patrol said in a news release.
The patrol said the case has been sent to the county prosecutor’s office for possible charges.
“We were saddened to see one of our riders was injured near the start of Bike MS: Buckeye Breakaway last weekend,” said Eileen Curran, spokeswoman from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“Society staff immediately responded to provide support to the rider and her family on the scene and at the hospital. We have been in daily contact with them since.”
Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.