Central Valley teacher loses leg in crash

FRESNO, Calif.

Ron Palmieri was inside his Fresno County house Saturday evening when his wife Joan was hit by a motorcycle crossing the street. Pieces of the bike are still scattered outside.

A 22-year-old man was riding the motorcycle ... He suffered minor injuries and was released from Clovis Community Hospital. The impact severed the right leg of the 61-year-old Fresno Unified teacher just below the knee.

Ron Palmieri: "I'm a Korean war vet. It takes a lot to really upset me. Seeing my wife upsets me."

CHP investigators spent a majority of Sunday re-creating the accident. Officer Axel Reyes said the driver claims he was traveling 30-mph and because there are no break or skid marks on the road it is hard to determine exactly what happened.

Reyes: "We didn't have much physical evidence to go off of. And normal that is what helps us determine what happens in an accident."

Investigators do agree on one thing ... Palmieri could have died if her five-year-old German Shepard named Beauty did not absorb the brunt of the impact.

"She was so discerning. She could tell when there was trouble and she could tell when everything was ok," said Mr. Palmieri. "God and I think about this and it just breaks me up. It really does. You don't know how wonderful a dog she really was."

Investigators said alcohol and drugs do not appear to be a factor in this crash. But if detectives determine he was driving too fast he could face criminal charges.

Joan Palmieri has worked as a second grade teacher at Lowell elementary for the last 21-years. A school official said students are making 'Get Well' cards for their teacher.

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