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Minor injuries after car drives over woman's head

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Thanks to a bike helmet, a Cal Poly student escaped serious injury when a Volkswagen Beetle's rear tire rolled over her head last week.

"I am very lucky, helmet saved my life," said Caroline Capelle, a 21-year-old foreign exchange student from France, in broken English. "It could have been very tragic."

Capelle was traveling west in the Foothill Boulevard bike lane Wednesday when the Volkswagen, driven by Adrienne Stallings, turned into the Stenner Glen apartment complex in front of her, police said.

"I brake, but it is too late, she doesn't see me," Capelle said.

The force of her brakes catapulted Capelle over the bicycle's handlebars and in front of the VW. The car's right rear tire rolled over her helmeted head, Capelle said.

The collision cracked the helmet from front to back and tore away a large chunk of plastic and Styrofoam.

"I didn't see her," said Stallings, an 18-year-old Cal Poly student. "I heard a bump, turned around, and saw a girl down near the curb. I was glad to see she was wearing a helmet. It saved her life."

An ambulance transported Capelle to Sierra Vista Hospital, where she was treated and then released with bumps, bruises, and severe strains to her neck and shoulders, police said.

"I am completely painful," Capelle said. "My head, shoulders, back, hand, face, nose, and cheek are very painful."

The incident is under investigation and at this time no charges have been filed, said Janice Mangan, San Luis Obispo police sergeant.

-K.V.

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