Bicyclist injured in hit-and-run still critical

Steve Norwick, 68, was hit by a Dodge pickup truck around 8:30 a.m. at the intersection of Petaluma Hill Road and East Railroad Avenue just outside of Cotati, according to the California Highway Patrol. The driver fled the scene afterward.

Norwick remained in critical condition Monday morning.

The CHP arrested the alleged hit-and-run driver, Robert Ernest Cowart, 68, of Rohnert Park, Friday afternoon at his home, CHP Sgt. Allan Capurro said.

The arrest came after off-duty CHP Sgt. Robert Powers and Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jeff Nicks, who were aware of the collision and live near Cowart, noticed Cowart's damaged tan Dodge pickup as he returned home that day, Capurro said.

The CHP had determined the model of the truck based on car parts collected at the scene. The trunk's right front mirror was missing, and its right front headlight and front end were damaged, the CHP said.

Powers contacted Cowart, who admitted that he had hit Norwick, but he said he left the scene because he didn't believe that the bicyclist was injured, Capurro said. Powers contacted the CHP, and Cowart was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run.

Cowart posted bail and is scheduled to appear in Sonoma County Superior Court on Wednesday morning.

Norwick, who recently retired, was a tenured professor and lecturer in SSU's Environmental Studies and Planning Department since 1974, said Susan Kashack, the school's associate vice president of marketing and communications.

He often took students on field trips as part of their studies of water systems and the environment, Kashack said.

Norwick regularly rode his bicycle on campus and in the community, and was meeting two friends when the accident happened Friday, Kashack said.

"He was one of SSU's favorite professors. The students liked and respected him. He was always happy and very popular," Kashack said.

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