Girdler pleads guilty to traffic ticket; Civil suit filed by bicyclist

Eddie Girdler

Former Somerset mayor, Eddie Girdler, has pleaded guilty in his traffic court case to one charge of Careless Driving, being sentenced to a $100 fine plus court costs.

Meanwhile, the girl whose bicycle he is accused of striking in the crosswalk at the corner of East Mount Vernon and Maple streets has filed a civil suit against Girdler and the City of Somerset.

Girdler was cited by the Kentucky State Police after an August 2018 incident which became known as an alleged hit-and-run.

Then-mayor Girdler was driving in white Chevrolet Tahoe with official city tags, traveling west on East Mount Vernon when the vehicle "had to stop abruptly and made contact with the victim's left hip and rear tire of the bicycle."

Girdler was stopping for a red light. The bicyclist, 15-year-old Victoria Smith, was in the crosswalk and stated that the pedestrian timer was counting down to show how much time was left for her to cross.

Girdler stated that while he knew he had to "buck up and stop" the vehicle, he was not aware the vehicle had actually made contact with Smith. After seeing her continue to ride her bike to the other side of the street, Girdler continued on his way, chalking it up to a close call.

It was not until he drove by the intersection again a while later that he realized that anyone had called law enforcement, he said.

Smith was checked out by Somerset-Pulaski EMS before being transported to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital by private vehicle.

LCRH personnel indicated she had bleeding in her liver, and she was flown to the University of Kentucky Medical Center for further treatment.

Girdler's Careless Driving charge was amended down from the original KSP citation which charged him with a misdemeanor Leaving the Scene of and Accident and Failure to Render Aid or Assistance.

His attorneys, Gregory Ousley and Carrie Wiese, stated Saturday, "As defense counsel for Mayor Girdler, we are pleased with the ultimate outcome of this matter. The evidence, or rather lack thereof, and the record speaks for itself. We cannot make any further comments at this time due to the pending civil suit filed by the alleged victim."

In that civil case, Smith and her mother, Melody Bradshaw, is suing for an unstated amount of damages "sustained as a result of this accident."

They claim that Girdler operated the vehicle in a negligent manner and is, therefore, responsible for injuries.

A response, filed by Lexington attorney Charles D. Cole, denies any wrongdoing by either Girdler or the City of Somerset.

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