Final Court Decisions Reached in Kessler Hit & Run Case

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - FEBRUARY 26: Meredith Kessler of USA racks her bike ahead of the Challenge Triathlon Dubai on February 26, 2015 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images for Challenge Triathlon)

TRS Triathlon has learned that professional triathlete Meredith Kessler and San Francisco businessman Soren Krogh-Jensen settled in civil court this March for damages related to the hit-and-run Kessler was accused of committing in March 2013. According to Seth Rosenburg, attorney for Mr. Krogh-Jensen, the final settlement was for $300,000.

The criminal case against Kessler over the incident concluded earlier in March of this year. Kessler agreed to an open plea agreement to the lesser charge of misdemeanor hit-and-run. The original charge was a felony. Alex Bastian, Director of Communications for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, said that Kessler’s defense team had argued on at least one previous occasion to have the charges reduced, and that the District Attorney’s office “cannot stress enough the prosecution’s objections to the motion.”

Judge Brandon Conroy ultimately granted the motion in March of 2014. The sentence included 90 days of jail, three years of court probation and an initial assessment of restitution to be paid to Mr. Krogh-Jensen in the amount of $59,872.21. The final assessment of restitution established in March of 2015 set the amount at $100,000.

Mr. Bastian noted that Kessler’s guilty plea was an admission of two acts, both hitting Mr. Krogh-Jensen and then leaving the scene of the accident.

“Had she not hit him and left the scene after stopping to check on him, that would not have been a crime. Had she hit him and stayed, that would have been filed as an accident. The only reason this was charged as a crime was that she committed both acts.”

Those familiar with the case and Kessler claim that Krogh-Jensen’s legal team manipulated local media and exaggerated the extent of Krogh-Jensen’s injuries believing that a professional athlete had more money to offer. Mr. Rosenburg stated he was “shocked” that Kessler did not have a higher level of insurance given her status as “a successful person” in professional triathlon. “It’s remarkable in that most of the money she is paying is coming from her personal assets.”

When asked if his firm was aware of the income levels of professional triathletes or had the capability to do such research, he responded that his firm has “the ability to do some analysis, but we are not able to discuss what we found regarding Meredith’s finances.” Rosenburg claimed that Mr. Krogh-Jensen’s injuries and suffering are worth much more than the final settlement, but the agreed-to sum was the best that could be done given the circumstances.


Note from publisher: We initially requested comment from Meredith regarding this story on May 6 via email. Last night, her husband contacted me and said they were declining to comment.

About the Author

Jim Gourley is the author of Faster: Demystifying the Secrets of Triathlon Speed and The Race Within: The Story of the Ultraman Triathlon. He is a regular contributor to Tom Ricks' blog "The Best Defense." His work has been featured in Men's Health, Stars and Stripes, and several triathlon and cycling publications.