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Charges filed in bicycling death of Virginia Beach (VA) physician

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Almost three months after Virginia Beach physician Joseph Mirenda was struck and killed while bicycling near Harrisonburg, the driver who killed him has been charged with a crime.

Jessica Chandler, 22, was charged with reckless driving, according to The Breeze, the student newspaper at James Madison University in Harrisonburg.

Mirenda was biking 50 miles from Wintergreen to Harrisonburg to visit his son at JMU, The Virginian-Pilot reported at the time.

Mirenda was south of Harrisonburg when he was struck from behind at around 10:45 a.m. on Aug. 24.

Chandler, of nearby Port Republic, was driving the Ford Taurus that hit Mirenda on Port Republic Road.

Mirenda’s son told The Breeze that he didn’t want Chandler charged with a more serious crime.

“I’m glad she didn’t get a felony or anything like that,” Mirenda said to the newspaper. “She’s already going through a lot, and she obviously didn’t do it on purpose.”

His viewpoint is influenced by his father’s outlook, he said.

“Just trying to imagine being in the driver’s standpoint,” Mirenda said, “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”

The fatal crash is a reminder for drivers to take care when operating their vehicle around bicyclists. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles directs drivers in rural areas to keep an extra watch for out-of-the-ordinary vehicles like trucks, oversize and slow-moving farm vehicles and bicycles.

Police looked at Chandler’s cell phone records to determine if she had been texting or talking on the phone at the time of the incident,” The Breeze reported, “which could have resulted in a more serious charge.”

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.

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