A bicyclist and her 4-year-old daughter, who were struck by a suspected drunken driver Monday, are recuperating from injuries that police say could have been life-threatening had they not been wearing safety helmets.
Linda Holt, 34, of the 12200 block of Green Meadow Drive in Columbia, and her daughter, Gina Holt, of the same address, suffered internal injuries and only slight head injuries in the 9:20 a.m. accident on Little Patuxent Parkway near Harpers Farm Road, police said.
Linda Holt remains in serious but stable condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center at University Hospital in Baltimore, while her daughter was released the same day, according to a hospital spokesman.
According to police, both were thrown from the bicycle after being struck by a car driven by Gregory Lamont Green, 20, of the 1400 block of Stonewood Road in Baltimore. Green has been charged with driving while intoxicated and is being held in the Howard County Detention Center on $25,000 bond.
On Oct. 1, police began enforcing the county's controversial new bicycle helmet law, which requires anyone under age 16 to wear a helmet on county roads or pathways.
"It was a bad accident as it was, but it could have been much more serious if the helmets weren't being worn," said Sgt. Gary L. Gardner, a county police spokesman.
Linda Holt's injuries were mainly to her legs and internal organs, Gardner said. Gina Holt, who was riding in a child seat on the back of the bicycle, suffered a cut to the head that was caused by the helmet itself when the child fell to the ground.
"It's just like with a seat belt," Gardner said. "You sometimes get a gash or a bruise, but a much more serious injury is prevented. In this case, a head injury to a young child didn't happen because of the helmet."
Police say Green was heading west on Little Patuxent Parkway when the vehicle went out of control, went over a curb and struck Holt, who was turning into the Early Childhood Learning Center. Green was treated and released the same day at Howard County General Hospital.
Holt family members were not available for comment.