The motorist accused of hitting a LOTOJA cyclist while under the influence pleaded not guilty to three charges Wednesday.

Patricia Gene Williams, 62, of Hoback Junction, faces charges of DUI, leaving the scene of an injury accident and reckless endangerment after a Wyoming Highway Patrol investigation concluded that she was driving a truck that sideswiped a competitor in the LOTOJA cycling race Sept. 12.

Her attorney, Richard Mulligan, filed an entry of appearance on her behalf Wednesday morning along with a written not-guilty plea.

Her trial is scheduled for December.

Williams is said to have knocked Marci Simons of Springville, Utah, off her bike while she was crossing the Snake River bridge north of Hoback Junction near the Henry’s Road turnoff. She then drove away without stopping, according to investigating troopers.

Simons did not fall over the edge of the bridge, and escaped the incident with minor injuries.

A motorcycle chase crew following the racing group followed Williams until police could catch up to her.

When a trooper questioned her on the matter, she said she felt “something” and heard “something” when Simons fell. She is said to have then burst into tears, explaining that “all the way to where she was stopped she wanted to turn around, go back and see how the person was” but did not, troopers said.

Troopers reported that Williams blew a 0.193 on a portable breath test, more than twice the legal limit for blood alcohol content while driving.

Williams has been out of jail since soon after the crash after posting a $2,500 cash bail.

Between the three charges, two misdemeanors and one high misdemeanor, Williams faces two years imprisonment and $2,500 in fines.

Teton County Deputy Prosecutor Terry Rogers and Mulligan have until Dec. 7 to reach an agreement on the matter before it continues to trial.

Contact Emma Breysse at 732-7066 or courts@jhnewsandguide.com.

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(1) comment

Nate Cazier

How is this not attempted vehicular manslaughter? She was drunk. She hit a cyclist with her vehicle. She then _flees_ the scene and is only apprehended because a Samaritan was good enough to follow her until the police catch her. AND SHE'S ONLY CHARGED WITH MISDEMEANORS? I'm no fan of legislators - but I can't believe this isn't a felony.

Also, would Ms. Breysse be so kind as to define "minor injuries" for me? Because if being hit by a car so hard that you have to be stretchered off onto an ambulance and to the hospital is "minor," I'd hate to see what constitutes "major" injuries! Also, where is the cyclists' side of the story? Simply reporting that the drunk driver "felt really, really sorry" (for almost killing a woman) turns this into more of a tabloid piece than any sort of informative journalism.

The cyclist had the right to use the entire roadway if she wanted. After the tragedy on that bridge in 2012, I wouldn't blame her if she did. But even if the cyclist didn't choose to take the full lane, Patricia Williams was required to give her 3-feet of space while passing. But I guess Ms. Williams didn't care. You know, because she was drunk. And to be honest, she probably doesn't care that much right now either - because without any legitimate penalty for the attempted murder, there's no reason for her to stop drinking and driving into people.

This legal disdain for cyclists is abhorrent. Hopefully the DA's office treats this as seriously as it is, refuses any plea, and starts protecting cyclists' lives.

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