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Charges filed 6 months after Pittsburgh bicyclist critically injured in hit-and-run

| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

Pittsburgh police have charged the man they believe was behind the wheel during a hit-and-run six months ago that left a bicyclist critically injured.

Police on Wednesday charged Beau Fishinger, 30, of Lincoln Place with aggravated assault by vehicle, driving with a suspended license and other offenses. He could not be reached for comment.

Fishinger, whose license was suspended for an earlier DUI conviction, was driving a black Jeep Wrangler on Liberty Avenue when he turned onto Ligonier Street in Lawrenceville and struck Dan Yablonsky, 24, of Larimer on May 13, police said.

Yablonsky, who was wearing a helmet, was taken to Allegheny General Hospital in the North Side in critical condition with several injuries, including to his head, face and torso.

“The recovery is difficult,” said Yablonsky, who was in the hospital on Wednesday for a follow-up procedure after arm surgery. “It's difficult and painful, and it's definitely trying. It's going to take a long time, but it's going to turn out well.”

The day of the crash, Fishinger's mother, Kim Higgins, called police to say her son was the driver, according to the criminal complaint filed against Fishinger.

Fishinger told police he had a green light and thought he hit a dog or a deer, and kept going because he knew he would be in trouble for driving with a suspended license, police said.

Police collected DNA samples from Yablonsky's bicycle and some from the Jeep for comparison, but the results are not back yet, said Sgt. Dan Connolly. He said police waited to charge Fishinger because they wanted to make sure Yablonsky had recovered enough to testify.

Yablonsky, who returned to work at BikePGH a couple of weeks ago, said the wait was “extremely frustrating.” He told investigators his injuries include leg fractures, a fractured pelvis, a broken hand and wrist, and compound fractures in his right arm. His right elbow was dislocated, he suffered a tear in his aorta and he has impaired vision. A head injury caused bleeding in his brain. He told police in October that he recently had discarded his walker and was using a cane.

“I spent almost three-and-a-half months in the hospital,” Yablonsky said. “I was laying every day in a hospital bed, working through a huge amount of pain, and meanwhile knowing that the person that made the decision to put me there is not facing any reciprocation.”

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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