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Steamboat Pilot: Jury awards $2.4 million in bike-car crash near Steamboat

Wayne Ranieri was thrown more than 20 feet when Kathy Whaley cut a corner too close and drove into the oncoming traffic lane, hitting Wayne Ranieri head-on on his bicycle. Wayne Ranieri landed on his buttocks, compressing his spine and crushing a vertebra in his lower back. He was in the hospital for 13 days. The local newspaper of record in Steamboat Springs explains the injuries Mr. Ranieri suffered:

According to his professional website, Ranieri's favorite activities include, "powder skiing, mountain biking, martial arts, snow shoeing, hiking, running, camping and horseback riding."

"When you do this to someone who is highly active, his whole life is changed," Heckbert said.

Since that time, Ranieri has gone through two major surgeries to fuse three vertebrae in his lower back and hold his back together with rods and pins. He now goes to physical therapy several times a week and has tried to ride his bicycle several times since the incident, with little success. The jarring motion, and the pain from leaning over the handlebars, means Ranieri will likely not be able to ride at nearly the level he used to.

"Wayne will have pain in his back at the level of twice a toothache," Heckbert said. "He has a limitation of motion, he can only sit for brief periods of time without having to get up and can only walk for brief periods of time."

Wayne and Julie Ranieri would readily give up the money from this verdict if it meant they could have their lives back.

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