Menlo Park cyclist back on her bike after 2006 crash 

Dragged nearly 35 feet underneath a truck, avid bicyclist MaryAnn Levenson remembers thinking as paramedics arrived after a horrendous accident in December, "Oh my God, I’m lying here naked, I must’ve been hit."

Her jaw was broken in two places. Her larynx was crushed. She had a broken hip, broken vertebrae and extensive road rash. The skin on her right heel came off.

On Dec. 23, Levenson was pedaling on the shoulder at Sand Hill Road off Interstate 280 when Walter Sorenson, 76, of Hillsborough, allegedly barreled his truck into her.

"He was in the far left lane and came all the way across into the shoulder and proceeded to drag me about 35 feet," she said.

But Levenson, a sports nutritionist, hasn’t thought of hanging up her bike. An extraordinary example of someone who rebounds after a setback, she is back to cycling up to three hours a day after her near-death experience.

Levenson believes cycling daily is her way of fighting back. Last month, Levenson and her bike coach, Dan Smith, completed a Lance Armstrong Foundation 10-mile race on Cañada Road.

"Her personality, her go-get-it attitude, her focus on life is amazing," Smith said. "I’m blown away."

As she approaches full recovery, Levenson is seeking to become a bike-safety advocate. She was recently appointed as a bike commissioner for the city of Menlo Park and she has approached the League of American Bicyclists about safety campaigns for the public.

"If you follow the law and make yourself visible, you minimize problems unless the person is impaired, and that’s what happened in MaryAnn’s case," said Amanda Eichstaedt, the league’s president. "There was nothing she could’ve done about this guy."

On Thursday, Sorenson will appear in court in Redwood City on charges of felony drunken driving causing bodily harm. He had a .07 blood alcohol level, taken by police about two hours after the crash, said Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Sorenson’s attorney, James Blackman, said his client is "remorseful."

Levenson is anxious to put the incident behind her and continue cycling, motivated by her 10-year-old son and her 7-year-old twin boys.

"I’m getting stronger every day," she said. "I don’t like the negativity of it. But that’s why I started riding again. I don’t want my kids to have that fear."

bfoley@examiner.com

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