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Decision in trial of youth charged in triathlete’s death

November 7, 1997

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) _ The unlicensed teen-age driver charged in the accident that killed world-class triathlete Judith Flannery was convicted Friday of reckless driving and driving on the wrong side of the road.

Manslaughter charges against Timothy Rinehart, 17, of Rockville, Md., were dropped and he was found guilty of the lesser charges the day after his trial opened in Montgomery County District Court.

Prosecutors said in their opening arguments Thursday that the car that struck and killed Flannery, 57, in Seneca, Md., last April 2 hit her so hard that she crashed through its windshield and struck the teen-ager’s father, who was in the front passenger seat.

Assistant State’s Attorney Marc Hall said Rinehart swerved onto the wrong side of the road at least four times before the collision with Flannery, who was on a training ride with two other bicyclists.

The teen-ager’s father, Ronald Rinehart, 38, was a passenger in the car and faces nine charges ranging from manslaughter to homicide.

Ronald Rinehart had been drinking, and though he was not driving, officials said he was responsible because his son did not have a driver’s license or permit.

He could face up to 18 years in prison and $8,000 in fines if convicted on all charges when he goes on trial Nov. 17.

Flannery, a mother of five, was a four-time world triathlon champion and six-time United States triathlon champion in her age group.

She clinched her fourth world championship last year when she completed the triathlon’s 1.5-kilometer swim, the 40-kilometer bike ride and the 10-kilometer run in 2:30:46 to win in the women’s 55-59 age group.

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