Girls glad to get back to school after bike accident

Samantha Hollencamp and Annie Schwede will be able to top the class with the story of what happened to them during their summer vacation.

But the best part is that they are alive to tell it.

Just after noon on August 31, the girls were crossing Highway 55 at its intersection with Maple Avenue when they were struck by a truck at the busy intersection.

Annie was walking across with her bike and Samantha was riding hers in a maze of cars trying to cross the highway. According to police reports, the drivers lost sight of the girls in traffic and both were hit by a truck on Highway 55.

Annie was in front of Samantha and the truck caught the back wheel of her bike, knocking her to the ground just before Samantha was hit.

Annie escaped with just bruises to her legs, but Samantha suffered a concussion, a broken foot and collarbone and various scrapes and bruises. She was hospitalized in Buffalo overnight, but despite her injuries, she missed only the first day of school. Samantha insisted on attending her fourth grade class at Maple Lake Elementary at least part-time through the first week, going home afternoons to rest.

But Annie will have to help Samantha out with the story telling because she has no memory of the accident. “The only thing I remember that day was that Annie and I were watching our cousin so our aunt could have a garage sale,” Samantha said.

And Annie thinks Samantha is the lucky one.  “I wish I didn’t remember anything,” she said. “It was scary.”

It was also scary for Samantha’s mother, Anne, who came upon the accident moments after it happened.

“I was just coming up the road on Maple toward Hwy. 55 and I saw something was going on,” she said. “Then I saw Annie jumping up and down on the side of the road. I could see Annie and the bikes and I thought ‘Oh my God.’”

But she said her worst fears were put to rest when she found Samantha was conscious and able to talk. “She was being so polite in the ambulance,” Anne said. “She said, ‘Please mister, don’t let me die.’”

And those folks on the ambulance crew from the Maple Lake Fire Department were also a comfort for Anne.

“When I looked up and saw those guys, I knew everything was going to be all right,” she said. “As a mom, I have faith in them. It was a relief, because I know they are well-trained.”

Joe Hollencamp said the driver of the truck, Rod Froelich of Annandale, suffered some heart complications at the scene, but state troopers said he later recovered.   “The troopers also said the truck driver (Froelich) was only going about 30 miles per hour,” Joe said, “or Samantha would have been hurt much worse.”

Samantha said she is feeling much better now, but has a new plan for future bike rides.

“If I do go across Highway 55 again, I’m going to cross by the lights.”