“This is one of the most fun things I’ve ever done,” Tyler Noe giddily told his riding partner nearly two hours into his first bike ride since he was a kid. The weather was perfect, the scenery beautiful, the traffic thin. The two heard a honk, then an engine revving. Moments later, a black Volvo slammed into Noe. That instant felt like an eternity.
“I closed my eyes,” Noe, 24, said. “I didn’t know if I’d ever open them again.”
Noe slammed hard onto the Natchez Trace blacktop, the impact sparking a sudden surge of adrenaline. He sprang up from the ground, only to watch the Volvo disappear down the road. As he staggered to the grass alongside the road, his riding partner, Greg Goodman, 48, quickly called 911.
Seconds later, Josh Schwartz pedaled up to the two. He’d been riding less than 20 yards away, and saw the horrific scene unfold.
“I was in shock,” Schwartz said. “The Natchez Trace is one of the safest places to ride a bike. It’s a National Park road; every driver knows cyclists are everywhere, especially on the weekend.
“(Noe) was riding in a straight line about three feet to the right of the center line. The Volvo had plenty of room to safely pass, but instead, he hit him. There was no way (Noe) swerved or ran into the car.”
When Evidence Goes Viral
In most instances, the alleged hit-and-run driver might get away scot free, but what made this crash different was Goodman’s helmet-mounted Go-Pro, which recorded the entire event. (Get a Go-Pro hemet mount for $29 on Amazon)
Hours after the crash, Goodman put the footage of his crash on social media, trying to find the Volvo’s driver. The video, which has nearly 300,000 views, would also spark multiple debates about drivers and rider safety on social media in the following days.
Grantly Neely saw the post on Facebook that evening and identified the alleged hit-and-run driver as his “abusive alcoholic” father, Marshall Grant Neely III. (We reached out to Grantly Neely on Facebook, but haven’t received a response yet.) His father was arrested later that night, and later charged with felony reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to immediately notify of accident, and failure to render aid. It’s not known if more charges will follow.
After his arrest, the elder Neely immediately began spinning an ever-changing account of what happened. At first he said that a man and a woman had thrown the bicycle at the car, then, in a television interview, claimed that Noe had actually ridden into him, but he hadn’t realized it until he got home.
Many viewers thought that Noe may have avoided injury, given how quickly he sprang up from the ground, but he suffered road rash and severe bruising to his kidneys and legs. Days later, he was still struggling to walk, relying on a cane that his girlfriend bought him as a joke. He was slated to undergo an MRI on Monday.
Despite the incident, Noe says he intends to get back on the bike when he’s physically able.
“I’ll always have this in the back of my mind (when I’m riding),” Noe said. “It was the scariest moment of my life, but I’m not going to quit because of it. I’ve got to keep moving forward.”
In the aftermath of the crash, the Nashville cycling community immediately tried to help. Red Kite Bicycle Studio began fundraising to buy Noe a new bike and gear, while another group was organizing a fundraising ride later this month. Noe called the response unbelievable.
“There are good people in the world, but the local cycling community aren’t just good, they’re amazing people,” Noe said. “I don’t know how I can ever repay them for this support.”