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Wednesday, Feb. 21
The Indiana Daily Student

Friends of Cutters recall hours surrounding collision

Freshman cyclist Eric Brodell was getting ready for a typical day of training with his team, the Cutters, as he talked with his roommate and longtime friend Josiah Lamb.

It had rained just once in Bloomington so far this semester, and for the first time, Brodell was putting on his cold gear.

The weather didn’t bother the latest addition to the 11-time men’s Little 500 champions too much.

“He was bitching about how he hadn’t got his covers for his shoes, his little neoprene socks to put over his cleats,” Lamb recalled. “It wasn’t raining at the time he left. I mean, it was wet, but it wasn’t raining.”

As Lamb got ready to head to dinner, Brodell told Lamb he would be back at 6:30 p.m., leaving his cell phone on his desk.

3:30 p.m.

Freshman Taylor Haville was saying goodbye to his longtime friend Brodell outside Eigenmann Hall before Brodell left for his ride. Brodell had stopped by, per Haville’s request.

As Haville watched his friend cycle away, Brodell rode out of the parking lot and tried to come to a stop. Brodell’s back brake locked up, then the front, and the wet conditions sent him skidding toward a car.

“He almost T-boned it,” Haville said.

Brodell managed to slide to a stop before he hit the car and then pedaled off to practice with his reigning champion team.

5:30 p.m.

While Lamb ate dinner, he received a call from a friend who lived in West Lafayette, Brodell’s hometown. The friend’s mother had just heard from Diane, Brodell’s mother.

She was on her way to Bloomington; her husband had left shortly before.

“Do you know what’s happening with Eric?” the friend asked.

“I haven’t seen him since five,” Lamb replied.

For the next 45 minutes, Lamb called several hospitals, hoping to find out where Brodell was. He finally heard from a mutual friend that Brodell was in the emergency room of Bloomington Hospital. He and two fellow Cutters had been struck by a car while on their ride.

The accident occurred at 5:05 p.m. on Ind. 446. Brodell suffered a deep laceration to his left leg that severed scar tissue but caused no bone damage. The other two riders, senior Eric Young and junior Michael Schroeder, suffered less severe injuries.

“I was more confused than anything,” Lamb said, sitting in a chair waiting for his turn to see Brodell. Only a light-brown wooden door separated him from his best friend. “I hadn’t really heard what was going on. ...Nobody knew anything. I wasn’t really aware of the extent of the injury, so I kind of tried to keep an open mind.”

Lamb was involved in a minor accident of his own a week ago, when a driver clipped Lamb’s handle bar with his rearview mirror and ran Lamb off the road. The driver drove on, and Lamb brushed himself off.

“I figured it was something like that,” Lamb said.

Once he discovered how wrong he was, Lamb leapt onto his bike, pumped the pedals and sped toward Bloomington Hospital.

He wore a white v-neck T-shirt, a gray zip-up hoodie, dark green Nike training pants, ankle socks and gray slippers as he took off into the rain.

6:45 p.m.

Lamb arrived at the ER, 10 minutes after Haville and six other friends.

Haville was visiting Brodell while the others updated Lamb on Brodell’s status. There were suggestions Brodell would need to be airlifted to Indianapolis for surgery. Lamb guessed that wouldn’t happen, but nothing was certain.

“I’m no doctor,” Lamb said. “I’m a jazz major. I play trumpet.”

8:15 p.m.

As Haville entered his friend’s room, Brodell turned on his side, exposing a torn cycling jersey that lay beneath his body.

Brodell would not have to be taken to Indianapolis and would spend the night in the hospital for surgery. Soon his parents arrived. One by one, Brodell’s friends took turns seeing him.

“It was definitely a relief in the fact that it could have been a lot worse,” Haville said. “But it was definitely kind of heartbreaking because I know how much he likes biking right now. To have him sit out and have to watch while they all bike, it kind of sucks, but he’ll be back in it.”

10:10 p.m.

While Brodell was being prepped for surgery, most of the visitors left to give him space.

As they drove out of the hospital parking garage, a mural could be seen painted across the lower level.

It is a tribute to IU and the Little 500, a race Brodell might someday ride.

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