Teen bicyclist says accident is a minor setback for major goals

Laura Tellez was riding her bike when she was hit by a distracted driver on Martin Luther King Dr.

It was another Sunday for Laura Tellez, training where Martin Luther King Boulevard meets Highway 213 for a big race in February.

"Me and my friend, we kept going. And at that moment out of nowhere the car came from behind and hit me. I blacked out for that moment,” Tellez said.

A Christmas morning that took a turn for the worst.

"Once I hit the floor I woke up and I was a little bit confused about what had happened, but everything was hurting,” Tellez said. “The man who hit me went and he said that he thought he ran over bike parts."

Once the ambulance came, pain and anxiety followed for her.

“I remember once I was in the ambulance I was praying to my grandma,” Tellez said.

Tellez was taken to University Medical Center for treatment and surgery.

“I was hoping that it wasn't that bad. That I was just bruised up, cuts, not a fractured vertebra,” Tellez said.

Worry didn't just set in for Laura, but also for her father, Lorenzo.

“It's my daughter there. So I was like I couldn't and the guy who caused the accident I was sort of going nuts. But first it was her,” Lorenzo Rodriguez said.

It was a situation Rodriguez knew all too well.

“I've been hit by a car and ran off the road twice,” Rodriguez said. “I knew it was a big hit. I was worried about the injuries. I was worried about a broken back."

New Mexico State Police told Rodriguez the driver who hit Tellez was cited for distracted driving. This accident reminds his entire cycling family of the dangers of riding.

"We have to share the road,” Rodriguez said. “As a cyclist, you always have to be alert."

Tellez got plenty of cuts on her arms and face, and broke a vertebra. But her spirit wasn'tbroken.

"She's a feisty fighter. She's got it in her mind to go,” Rodriguez said.

Tellez said this whole situation is a minor setback for her major goals.

"While I was in the hospital I told my dad 'I'm going to Tokyo, Dad, I'm going to Tokyo,'because I have it in my head that I want to be in the next Olympics,” Tellez said.

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