UPDATED: Cyclist Killed on Sixth Avenue by Hit-And-Run Trucker
Driver is, in fact, let go with a consoling pat on the shoulder from the NYPD.
Police say a truck driver ran over and killed a 20-year-old bicyclist on Sixth Avenue this morning — and then kept on driving before eventually returning to the scene.
The cyclist, identified by friends as professional rider Robyn Hightman whose preferred pronouns were they/them, was run over near 24th Street at around 9:30 a.m. by a truck driver who did not initially remain at the scene, cops said. Hightman was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where they died.
The driver of the truck, Antonio Garcia, returned later, after a passenger in another car told him he had hit someone, he told Streetsblog. Police interviewed 54-year-old Garcia and later said they slapped him with five summonses at the scene, although they could not immediately elaborate on what they were for.
Cops say both Hightman and Garcia were traveling northbound on Sixth Avenue when “they collided.” Garcia said this crash was his first “accident” in 14 years as a driver for the company. He claimed he did not feel the impact of the crash. The passenger in the truck also used the term “accident” to describe the crash.
“We didn’t know we hit someone,” he said, employing the magic words that have often helped killer drivers avoid charges. “We went back after people started yelling at us.”
A Streetsblog video shows a police officer patting Garcia on the shoulder before leaving the crash scene. (Warning: the video is difficult to watch knowing that a police officer is consoling a driver who just killed a cyclist.)
The truck in question had been hit with 83 total summonses since 2015, including two speeding tickets, according to the essential database Howsmydrivingnyc. Most of the tickets were for parking violations.
Hightman is the 12th bike rider killed so far this year, according to NYPD stats. Last year, 10 cyclists died on the streets of New York.
Transportation Alternatives said the crash shows that “Vision Zero remains in crisis.”
“The latest preventable tragedy is further evidence that Mayor Bill de Blasio is failing to protect the people of New York City from even the most basic dangers,” the group said in a statement.
Preliminary statement from us on the cyclist killed by a truck driver this morning near 6th Avenue and 23rd Street in Manhattan: pic.twitter.com/M89P9Q9FYq
— Transportation Alternatives (@TransAlt) June 24, 2019
Hightman’s friends were organizing a vigil for the fallen cyclist for 7 p.m. on Monday night at the crash scene.