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Driver expected to plead guilty to hit-and-run collision with industry veteran Bernstein

Published October 21, 2021

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — The driver involved in the hit-and-run collision that seriously injured an industry veteran while cycling is expected to receive a stipulated sentence of two years in prison, mandatory parole, and restitution when he is arraigned Friday.

Stephen Thomas Grattan, 49, of Lafayette, Colorado, is expected to plead guilty to reduced charges of leaving the scene of an accident, careless driving, and criminal attempt to leave the scene of an accident involving Andrew Bernstein, who works for the marketing firm True Communications and is a former editor at Bicycling magazine.

Bernstein intends to address the court, speaking about the importance of the sentence, the impact it has had on him, and the uneasy relationship between motorist and cyclist.

The collision occurred July 20, 2019, while Bernstein was cycling toward home after a velodrome workout, on Arapahoe Road in Boulder. After a lengthy investigation by the Colorado State Patrol and Boulder County District Attorney's office, an arrest warrant was issued on Nov. 9, 2020. Grattan was apprehended on June 19, 2021, during a traffic stop in Thornton, Colorado.

Grattan's attorney, M. Colin Bresee, told the Boulder Daily Camera that “It is envisioned that Stephen Gratton will be entering a plea and taking full responsibility (Friday).”

“Stephen is adamant that he did not know he hit anyone with his vehicle,” Bresee said in a statement to the paper. “He is overwhelmed with guilt and understands how meaningless an apology sounds. Stephen realizes that there are no words he can say to Andrew Bernstein to help him on the recovery process, other than, ‘Guilty, your honor.'”

The impact with Grattan's vehicle left Bernstein, 34 at the time, in a roadside ditch with life-threatening injuries, including a broken pelvis that caused internal bleeding and required emergency surgery and several blood transfusions. He also suffered several broken bones — including tibia, fibula, femur — and collapsed lungs. A passing driver noticed Bernstein in the ditch sometime after the collision.

Bernstein wrote about his experience in a first-person story for Outside magazine in May 2020, "To the driver who hit me and ran." 

Bernstein in September 2021.

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