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Cross-Country Ride for Charity Turns Tragic on Northeast Florida Highway

Stan Bippus was an adventurer who kept an active mind and body. He served in the Marines, and then became a teacher. He served as the mayor, chief of police and school superintendent in Craig, Alaska, before continuing as a school superintendent in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico and Indiana.
He proudly raised a family and taught his children the beauty and wonder of the outdoors. An avid cyclist, Stan participated in RAGBRAI, a 500-mile “great bicycling trip across Iowa” on several occasions. To continue feeling vital, vigorous and active after retirement, Stan played tennis, golf, racquetball, and jogged regularly. He went scuba diving.
But Stan wanted to set a significant physical and intellectual goal, so he decided to climb the highest peak in every state in the United States. He made great progress in achieving this goal and climbed 48 of these peaks, mostly unassisted, and sometimes staying overnight in the pup tent he carried on his back.
Always seeking new challenges, Stan added another goal to his list — a cross-country bike ride to raise awareness for cerebral palsy. He arranged to ride from San Diego, California, to St. Augustine, Florida, with his nephew Jeremy, who suffers from cerebral palsy. The pair aimed to spread hope to all people with handicaps.
But the adventure nearly cost Stan his life.
On September 17, 2008, Stan and Jeremy were riding on the shoulder of State Road 16 in Penney Farms, Florida, only 35 miles from the end of their 2,500-mile journey. This was a road that should have been safe for cyclists. The weather was clear and visibility was superb.
As they pedaled along the far shoulder of the 24-foot-wide road, a tractor-trailer, operated by Mid-Fla Hauling, crossed the white line and hit Stan and Jeremy going 55 mph. The truck was only eight and a half feet wide, but somehow couldn’t stay within its 12-foot-wide lane. The side of the truck tore into Stan from behind, removing a large chunk of flesh from his back and chest, and throwing him a long distance. The impact shattered Stan’s shoulder blade, elbow, and numerous ribs and vertebrae. He also suffered a punctured left lung. Paramedics rushed Stan to Shands Hospital, where he was placed on a ventilator. He was kept at Shands for just under a month and was delivered by ambulance to Fort Wayne, Indiana, near his current home, where he underwent more rehabilitation and surgeries.
Now, five months later, Stan feels blessed to be alive. But he is a shell of the active adventurer he once was. He has undergone numerous surgeries and procedures to treat his back wound, including a skin graft, but the wound has not closed and oozes due to infection. He suffers constant pain and has limited mobility with walking and almost all upper body movements. His wife notices how old and frail he looks.
However, Stan does not accept that he will never climb the remaining two mountain peaks. He longs to finish the last 35 miles of his cross-country bike trip. But he knows that these goals are no longer realistic.
Stan is unable to walk or stand without pain. He faces monstrous medical expenses, immobility, depression and chronic pain for the rest of his life.
Terrell • Hogan has filed a legal action against the tractor-trailer driver and his company to recover full and fair compensation for Stan Bippus. We are committed to bringing justice to Stan and his family. While we cannot recover his health, we intend to secure all compensation for Stan which the law allows. We intend to prove to the truck driver, his company, and a jury if necessary, that the accident was totally preventable and resulted from recklessness and carelessness — changing a life forever.
Stan Bippus’ injuries after being hit by a tractor-trailerfrom behind on Northeast Florida’s S.R. 16 while on a cross-country cycling trip for charity.


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About The Author

Picture of Laura Hack

Laura Hack

Laura Hack is a paralegal with Terrell • Hogan. She has been with the firm since 1996 and has worked primarily for Wayne Hogan. She is an experienced Paralegal with 30+ years of working in the law practice industry. Skilled in Appeals, Civil Trial Litigation Support, Torts, Trial Practice, and Pleadings.