North Carolina

Cyclist in critical condition after being hit on curvy road near Grandfather Mountain

A mini van driver strayed across traffic lanes on a curvy mountain road toward a group of oncoming bicyclists Thursday near Grandfather Mountain, leaving one rider in critical condition, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

The van driver fled and a search is underway for the driver, officials said in a news release.

It happened at 11:40 a.m. Thursday on U.S. 221 near Grandfather Mountain in Caldwell County, according to the highway patrol.

The injured cyclist was identified as Ignacio Giraldo, 61, of Sunrise, Florida, the news release said. None of the other bicycle riders were hurt.

Giraldo was cycling north on US 221 “when a southbound minivan crossed the double yellow line in a curve, collided head-on with one of the cyclists, and continued without stopping,” according to the press release

Giraldo was with a group of four cyclists that included his daughter, officials said. He was airlifted in critical condition to Johnson City Medical Center in Tennessee.

“Investigators are searching for a charcoal gray 2005-2010 Toyota Sienna minivan which may have damage to the right front, headlight, and/or right front fender area,” the release said.

“Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the SHP Troop F Communications Center at 828-466-5500,” N.C. Highway Patrol officials said.

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