- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 26, 2008

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The pedestrian hit in the District by syndicated columnist Robert Novak’s car is a homeless man who said he had heard of Mr. Novak and was surprised to learn he was the driver.

“Bob Novak is the one that hit me?” asked Don Clifford Liljenquist, 86, sounding shocked when a WMAL radio reporter told him. “Well, everybody knows who Bob Novak is. He’s a famous journalist. He’s the one that hit me? … Well, I think that makes it a great story.”

In a telephone interview from his hospital bed, Mr. Liljenquist said his shoulder was dislocated when he was struck Wednesday.

Doctors reset it and he is “doing fine,” Mr. Liljenquist said.

“I’m a pretty tough guy, you know,” he said. “And when I saw I was being hit, I rolled with the punch. I used my training in judo to roll with the punch.”

Witnesses said Mr. Novak was driving a black Chevrolet Corvette on K Street Northwest when he hit a pedestrian who rolled up onto the hood of the car. Mr. Novak kept driving until a bicyclist stopped him a short distance from the scene.

David Bono, the bicyclist who witnessed the incident while on his way to his law office, said Mr. Liljenquist was hit in a crosswalk and was splayed across Mr. Novak’s windshield.

Mr. Bono said he was approaching 18th Street from K Street when he saw the convertible strike a man in the crosswalk.

“The light in the crosswalk clearly said, ‘Walk,’ but the convertible plowed into the guy,” Mr. Bono said. “The man who was hit was splayed on the hood of the convertible before rolling off the windshield as the car turned right around the corner.”

Mr. Novak has said he didn’t know he hit anyone and was given a $50 traffic citation.

Mr. Liljenquist, who lives at a homeless shelter, said it’s possible Mr. Novak didn’t know because he rolled off the car and fell to the pavement.

“I’ve known Bob Novak for a long time, and he’s a very good reporter,” Mr. Liljenquist said with a laugh. “But as a driver, he wasn’t paying attention.”

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