A school administrator has been arrested and placed on a leave of absence after a video emerged over the weekend of him slamming into a cyclist on the famed Natchez Trace Parkway Trail in Tennessee before fleeing the scene of the accident, per the Tennessean.
Warning: Video contains explicit language.
Greg Goodman of Nolensville, Tennessee, was on a ride with his friend Tyler Noe Saturday around 11 a.m. near the northern end of the Natchez Trace Parkway when Noe was struck from behind by a black Volvo SUV driven by 58-year-old Marshall Grant Neely III, 58, of Franklin, Tennessee, who sped off after tossing Noe from his bike, as reported by the Tennessean.
Goodman was wearing a helmet camera during the ride, and just hours after the incident occurred, he uploaded video of the crash to Facebook. It quickly went viral, accruing over 1 million views. From that video, police were able to identify Neely’s license plate and subsequently arrest him.
Per a Facebook post by the Natchez Trace Parkway, Goodman was charged with three misdemeanor charges (leaving the scene of an accident, failure to immediately notify of an accident and failure to render aid) and one felony charge (reckless endangerment) stemming from the accident.
In an interview with the Tennessean, Neely — who formerly served as the dean of students at the prestigious University School of Nashville before moving to a part-time role this summer — claimed he didn’t realize he hit Noe, and said that he thought the two cyclists on the side of the road might have thrown a bike into his car as he was driving by.
“I thought that somebody has thrown his bike at me … obviously the video shows otherwise,” Neely told the Tennessean. “I did not know I hit him, I’m so sorry it happened. I would never leave someone who was hurt, that’s just not the kind of person I am.”
But Goodman isn’t buying Neely’s excuse. In his initial Facebook post, he claimed another cyclist on the Natchez Trace said he had seen Neely attempt to run over somebody else last week.
“He decided to hit Tyler,” Goodman told the Tennessean. “On the Natchez Trace, you’re allowed to ride in the lane. There’s signage we are allowed to ride in the lane, not just the shoulder.”
As Goodman notes, the Natchez Trace Parkway is a designated biking route within the National Park Service (NPS) system that welcomes thousands of cyclists yearly. And while the NPS does say on its website that motorists must allow cyclists the entire lane on the Natchez Trace for safety, it does ask for cyclists to maintain a single-file line on the far right-hand side of the road to ease traffic.
The fluidity of that wording in the Natchez Trace’s safety guidelines is reflected in the comments on Goodman’s video, with some Facebook users expressing their shock at Neely’s actions while others admonished Goodman and Noe for failing to ride single-file.
Goodman reported to the Tennessean that Noe had serious, but non-life-threatening, injuries, and had been released from the hospital.
“He looks awful, but he is going to be OK,” Goodman said.
“As of today, USN has placed Mr. Neely on leave of absence while we investigate the circumstances. All other matters related to his employment are confidential,” the University School of Nashville New York City suffers nation’s second-ever bike-share fatality