When 24-year-old Chelsea Norman was run down in a Houston bike lane late one December evening, the motorist who hit her just kept on driving. Norman died three days later in a nearby hospital, which spurred the inside-the-loop cycling community to call for police action in what some perceive as a "war" between motorists and cyclists in Houston. Two more recent hit-and-run deaths of cyclists, although not so widely publicized, have added to the consternation of the larger cycling community.
According to the Houston Chronicle, on February 5 the Harris County District Attorney filed charges against a Houston woman for failure to stop and render aid. Margaret Renee Mayer is accused of striking Norman on Waugh Street at about 10:20 p.m. on December 1, 2013. Norman perished from her injuries two days later.
According to documents filed with the charges, a tip to Crime Stoppers identified a woman with whom Mayer had been drinking on the night of the accident. The unidentified woman told the district attorney's office that Mayer told her that while extremely intoxicated after leaving the club where they had been drinking, she had "gotten lost ...on Waugh… [and] that she thought she hit someone." Mayer's vehicle had suffered damage including a broken windshield. Investigators have taken DNA swabs of Mayer's car, but results were not revealed. To date, no witnesses to the collision have come forward.
Mayer, 35, was previously convicted of DUI in 2002. Court documents do not indicate whether she has been apprehended or advised of the current charge. Conviction for failure to render aid could results in a sentence of as much as twenty years in prison.