Five years ago, Rachel Corey barely escaped with her life after a pack of dogs attacked her while she was running.
Wednesday found the 5-foot-nothing Corey clinging to life again. A day after a car hit her while she rode her bicycle south of Boise Airport, Corey was listed in critical condition at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. According to the Saint Alphonsus website, critical condition means “vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.”
“That girl’s tough,” said Dominique Clifford, who helps run TriTown, a triathlon supply store where she mingles with Corey and other triathletes. “I don’t know any different, so I would say, ‘It’s Rachel, man. She’ll be here.’”
The hospital released no more details Corey’s injuries. In Facebook posts, emails and an interview, friends listed injuries that seemed to run the length of her body: brain swelling, teeth knocked loose, damaged lungs, possible spinal injuries and broken bones. They said she was in a medically induced coma.
Clifford said Corey, who she called one of the nicest people she’s met, was gearing up for the Ironman World Championship — triathletes’ version of the Superbowl — scheduled for next month in Hawaii.
According to Boise police, a vehicle driven by a prison guard in his 30s hit Corey about 6:20 p.m. Tuesday as she rode north on Pleasant Valley Road about two miles north of the state prison complex.
It’s unclear how fast the vehicle, which was going in the same direction, was traveling. The Boise Police Department’s crash reconstruction team is investigating. No charges had been filed as of Wednesday afternoon. Corey was wearing a helmet, according to police.
Also unclear is whether the driver was on official prison business when he hit Corey. An Idaho Department of Correction spokeswoman said the agency is not investigating. Police have not released the name of the driver.
In July 2009, Corey was running alone on a road south of Weiser when a pack of dogs attacked. They bit her left arm and legs. Weighing all of 90 pounds, Corey climbed on top of a mailbox to escape. The dogs kept biting her.
A man who happened by drove off the dogs with a shovel.
The dogs were put down. Their owners were charged with harboring vicious dogs.
Clifford said news of Corey’s injuries has hit Boise’s triathlon community hard.
“When it’s somebody you know, it makes it very real — that someday it could happen to you,” she said.
Elite cyclists like Corey go too fast for the Greenbelt, Clifford said, so country roads are their best alternative. Clifford said cyclists and drivers alike need to do a better job of avoiding crashes.
“I don’t think (Corey’s crash) will change anything, unfortunately, as far as the community goes,” she said. “We all know that we still have to ride.”
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