Robbie Norton strikes Mississippi cyclist, pauses, then runs her over again

By Mihai Peteu

Jan Morgan, 57, was struck from behind by a vehicle traveling at 55mph Highway 50 in Clay County, Mississippi, on the morning of Sunday, May 22nd. Robbie Norton, a Cedar Bluff woman, rammed into her while allegedly on the phone, stepped out to observe her on the ground, yelled at her, then ran over her again.

David & Jan Morgan
David & Jan Morgan

Jan is the owner of Boardtown Bikes in her hometown of Starkville. It took over two weeks for the police to file misdemeanor charges against Robbie Norton. Different part of the country, yet very similar situation to our own recent cyclist carnage in Culver City.

Unfortunately, and downright inappropriately, some media outlets chose to use the word “accident” to describe this attempt on Jan’s life. Even though they also have “ran over twice” in the article title.

As usual, reporters felt compelled to mention whether or not she was wearing a helmet.  In an otherwise sensible article, Starkville Daily News alludes to the “wear bright clothing” bit, because that is the imaginary armor that will protect cyclists from insane, bloodthirsty motorists.

Jan's wrecked bike
Jan’s wrecked bike

Jan was treated for multiple fractures, significant head injuries, collapsed lungs and road rash over most of her body.

“The impact threw her into the air and she landed on the hood of the car. The driver continued for a few feet before stopping when Morgan was thrown to ground.”

Norton exited her vehicle and “observed the cyclist while talking on the phone,” before getting back into her car and running over Morgan again.

Norton had to be forced from her car by witnesses.

Jan Morgan spent four weeks in critical condition at a Tupelo hospital. She has recently started acknowledging human interaction with basic body motions and very simple verbal responses.

Jan two weeks after the incident
Jan two weeks after the incident

The motorist had the nerve to claim that she does not remember getting back in the vehicle and driving over her again as she lay unconscious on the road.

Bike Portland has also picked up on the story. The Morgan family and their friends are hoping to bring this heinous incident to national attention.

David, Jan’s husband, is keeping a daily blog of her slow recovery.

According to District Attorney Forrest Allgood and Clay County Prosecutor Angela Turner-Lairy, there is no law in Mississippi that allows for this case to be upgraded to a felony. As of June 22nd, the attempted murder of Jan Morgan is classified as a misdemeanor. The worst-case scenario for the motorist would be six months in jail and $500 in penalties.

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11 Responses to “Robbie Norton strikes Mississippi cyclist, pauses, then runs her over again”

  1. If you read the Reddit thread in detail, you’ll notice a mention of the motorist possibly panicking, and “accidentally” hitting Jan Morgan the 2nd time while attempting to move her car off the road.

    I don’t buy it. Guilty until proven otherwise.

  2. We now know how to get away with murder. Just do it in a car.

  3. I am appalled and angered by this collision, and I understand the emotions behind feeling the suspect is “guilty until proven otherwise,” but that phrase is a dangerous one to throw around in any context and stoops to the low level of so many in the media, law enforcement and the motoring public who have that same opinion about cyclists.

  4. It’s quite a bit different from our thinking in America, but in the Netherlands and some European countries, a concept of strict liability means if a driver hits a cyclist or pedestrian, it is their fault automatically unless in some cases like a cyclist running into a car that was not moving. If a cyclist hits a pedestrian, likewise, the cyclist is at fault.

    The assumption is that if you are in an environment with more vulnerable road users, you exercise more caution, and give your self time and room to react to any changing situation like a cyclist swerving to avoid a pothole or any other occurrence.

    Since drivers are capable of causing the most harm, under a system of strict liability, they have the greatest responsibility to exercises caution, and will be held liable should they hurt others.

  5. a friend of Robbies June 29th, 2011 at 7:03 am

    I am truely sorry for Mrs.Morgan being hurt in the ACCIDENT, but that is what it was. I have known Robbie for over 20 years and I promise you that she never ment for this to happen. I want to tell you who Robbie truely is, Robbie took care of her mother until she passed away a couple of years ago, she is a great mother and grandmother, she is a woman of God, I admire her relationship with God,and she has prayed every day for Mrs.Morgan , we all have. She is a very giving person, she loves children and loves my children and they love her. She gives her time to help feed the less fortunate, she just helped pass out over 100 boxes of food to shut ins and single parents. She stayed up until 4am a couple of weeks before Christmas to pack boxes to send over seas to our troops and also to pack shoe boxes for children in foster homes @ a church that she is not even a member at, because it was what God put in her heart to do.
    Please dont judge her, you do not have all the facts because she did not yell at Mrs. Morgan and she did not mean for this accident to happen.
    We will continue to pray for Mrs. Morgan and we will also pray for God to take the hate out of the hearts of people who decided that they do a better job than He and judge her.

  6. To: a friend of robbies, she ran over a cyclist, TWICE. She carried the cyclist almost 200′ on the hood of her vehicle before dumping her on the road, and then running over her again. Your Woman of God almost KILLED an innocent women. TWICE. Intentional? Is that really the issue?

    Maybe your friend, who has devoted so much of her life to the service of other’s, in the name of GOD no less, can volunteer to help with the daily medical care that Jan Morgan is likely to need for the rest of her life.

  7. What the hell does religion have to do with any of this?

  8. To: a friend of Robbie’s. I understand that you know Robbie and oviously respect her. That doesn’t change the fact that what happened was criminal. Perhaps it started out an accident but it appears to have grown into criminal neglect. Being familiar with the area of MS in which this happened, I feel confident that misdemeanor charges is all she will face. I can envision certain law officials sharing your same feelings perhaps because they attend the same religious institutions as she. I’m glad to hear that she and others are sending prayers for the victim. However, it has been my observation that prayers will not bathe this victim (possibly for the rest of her life). Prayers will not clean her house or do her laundry. Prayers will not take her trash to the street for pick up. Prayers will not pay the absurd costs she and her family will face for a long time to come. I can go on and on with this list. The point I want to make is that Christian communities offer up prayers instead of actually doing something to help. A local church may send meals to her house two or three times the first week or so. Church ladies may deliver flowers occassionally the first couple of weeks. Beyond that they will only offer up prayers. This victim’s life and that of her family has been horribly altered not for a couple of week or two or even for a couple of months, but for years. Perhaps for the rest of herlife. My question is this; Is Robbie going to do the Christian thing or the right thing? They are not necessarily the same.

  9. The appropriate response to an event like that is to get off the phone, get out of the car, immediately call for an ambulance, and stay put with the injured person. That’s part of the responsibility of being a driver. Whether she yelled at her or not, and whether she intentionally drove over her or not, the fact that the driver stayed on the phone and then got back in the car and started driving is what’s criminal. The driver’s friend can defend and pray all s/he wants, but seriously: driving away from the scene where someone has been injured by your car is a selfish, horrible act. The fact that she sends boxes to orphans and veterans has nothing to do with it.

  10. I have met lots of people like Mrs Norton. They always look to god when they need to look in the mirror. Hitting the person once is an ACCIDENT, twice is assault with a deadly weapon. I could go on but why beat a dead horse.

  11. We have two crimes in these circumstances in the UK, careless driving and dangerous driving. The difference is intent. Mrs Norton is either a careless driver (misdemenour in the US?) or a deranged one. We have inattentive drivers on this side of the pond who kill cyclists and pedestrians and face quite small fines or driving bans. Always a difficult call. There seems little doubt that Mrs Norton is a very poor driver! There is a great deal of sympathy on this side of the pond for Jan and David.

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