Bicyclist's family wants answers in her death [via Dispatch]

Sister hopes civil lawsuit also will raise awareness about liability insurance

Saturday, January 29, 2011  02:51 AM


Michelle Kazlausky was killed by a truck with failed brakes.
Michelle Kazlausky was killed by a truck with failed brakes.
Patti Byerly still has so many questions about the death of her twin sister this past summer.
She knows some details, of course, and they are forever etched in her mind: Michelle Kazlausky was riding the Columbus-to-Athens leg of the Pelotonia Tour for cancer research on Aug. 21 when she was hit by a pickup truck and killed at the intersection of Rts. 180 and 374 in rural Hocking County during a rainstorm.
Authorities say 58-year-old Ervin Blackston of Rockbridge had repaired part of the brake system on his brother's pickup truck just that morning.
Then, prosecutors say, the brake line that Blackston had not repaired failed as he approached the intersection where a state trooper was stopping traffic to let the Pelotonia riders turn. Kazlausky, a 57-year-old medical technologist in the oncology lab of University Hospital East, was hit.
Blackston has pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter, a second-degree misdemeanor, and to an equipment violation. He is due back in Hocking County Municipal Court to change his plea Feb. 7. He could get up to 90 days in jail, though Prosecutor Laina Fetherolf said she won't ask the judge to impose any jail time.


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