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CHP: No charges recommended against truck driver who injured bicyclist

• Bicyclist John Draxler remains hospitalized with injuries suffered when he was hit by a truck on a rural road in February.

• Antoinette Draxler said the family is hopeful her husband can go home for his birthday next week.

• She says the family holds no ill will toward the driver.

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The California Highway Patrol is recommending that no charges be filed against the truck driver who struck and seriously injured a bicycle rider in the Hanford area in February.

John Draxler, 54, an avid bicyclist, has been in Community Regional Medical Center since the Feb. 26 collision on Excelsior Avenue near Avenue 13-1/4.

The CHP reported that D. Monteiro, 28, of Riverdale, was driving a Ford F-350 behind Draxler when Monteiro took his eyes off the road, drifted to the right and struck the bicyclist. Draxler, who was wearing a helmet, was thrown to the ground. He was airlifted to the hospital.

Adam Barresi, a spokesman for CHP’s Hanford Office, said the incident was treated as a collision between two vehicles, and charges often are not filed in such situations. That one vehicle was a truck and the other a bicycle would not be a consideration, he said.

Antoinette Draxler said her husband sustained two spinal injuries and has undergone three major surgeries. The family is sorting through how their insurance and the insurance of the dairy company that employed Monteiro will manage the medical bills.

She said her husband is “doing well,” but still has no use of his right leg. Draxler’s left leg is 90% functioning, she said. “We’re not sure of the long-term effects and whether he will be able to walk again.

“We have a lot of family and friends supporting us,” she said.

Antoinette Draxler said the family is hopeful her husband can go home for his birthday next week.

She feels fortunate that because he was wearing his helmet, he had no brain injury.

“He is very safety-conscious,” she said, adding she hoped other bicycle riders would use head protection.

As for the past month, she said: “It’s been a wild ride.”

The collision has been a hot topic among local bicycle enthusiasts. Excelsior Avenue, where it took place, is a route used by many bicyclists.

Antoinette Draxler said she harbors no bitterness against Monteiro, the truck driver, who is the same age as her children.

“I don’t wish him any ill will,” she said. “I hope he has peace. (But) a mistake has turned our lives upside down.”

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