Westend & 26th scene of double fatality accident
City Police were continuing an investigation this week into a crash that killed two bicyclists at 26th Street and Westend Avenue in the early evening of Aug. 6.
Edgar Juarez, 30 and Jayson Kilroy, 28, died at the scene after the collision with a truck driven by Barbara Thomas, 63, police said.
The two riders had both worked at Colorado Cyclist on East Bijou Street. Neither had family in the area. Funeral services for Juarez were this week in Chicago, while Kilroy's family in Detroit has asked that he be cremated and his ashes scattered over a favorite riding spot, according to Ryan Bennett, retail manager of Colorado Cyclist.
A memorial at the curb beside the crash site includes bicycles, photos, drawings and other memorabilia. Bennett said the memorial was started by two close friends of Juarez and has been expanded by others in the days since the accident. “All sorts of people who didn't know them have stopped and left things they felt cyclists would need in the afterlife,” Bennett said.
According to the police report, Juarez and Kilroy were among five cyclists going downhill (north) on 26th Street at about 7:40 p.m. when Thomas, going the other way, allegedly turned left in front of them onto Westend.
The other three cyclists were not injured.
Thomas has been charged primarily with vehicular homicide. Another charge relates to her having driven with prescription drugs in her system, but the nature of those drugs has not been made public. She also is accused of driving without required eyesight correction; police would not say how bad her eyes are.
The bicyclists appear to have been “following applicable laws” of driving, and the light rain at that time appears not to have been a factor, the police report said,
The Westside Pioneer has sought further elaboration on what happened, but law enforcement officials have responded that those details cannot be released at this time. Unanswered questions include how the cyclists were riding (straight line or abreast), what they were wearing, the speeds of the bikes and the truck, whether headlights were in use and if visibility may have been affected by it being close to twilight.
Dave Krauth of City Traffic Engineering said his office has investigated design issues in the crash and, despite the angled nature of Westend - a design that the city does not use anymore - he did not think it had anything to do with what happened. He noted that in the previous three years, there had been only one accident at that intersection.
Anna England, a resident of the neighborhood, said she believes the accident indicates a continuing problem with “cut-through” traffic by cars using Westend and Broadway, both residential streets, to shortcut between 21st and 26th streets. A city “calming” project, using structural designs to slow vehicles along Broadway, has been in the design stages for several years.
Westside Pioneer article