Although Seattle has a reputation as a bicycle-friendly city, those who bike here know that it can be dangerous. Unfortunately, too often we see stories on the evening news about distracted or reckless drivers who change a bicyclist's life forever with one poor decision.
This week, a Normandy Park man who was suspected in the hit-and-run bike accident death of a Seattle cyclist pleaded guilty to felony hit-and-run charges. The 44-year-old cyclist, a husband and father, was on his way home when an SUV struck him near Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street.
A witness told police that an SUV was making a quick left turn as oncoming cars approached when he struck the bicyclist. The driver fled the scene, but 10 months later police arrested the 28-year-old man thanks to a vehicle description.
The driver faces up to a 41-month prison sentence. He will be sentenced next month.
Hopefully, the criminal proceedings will give the victim's loved ones some closure as they cope with such a tragic loss.
Now that the victim's family knows who was behind the wheel of the tragic hit-and-run, they may also choose to hold the driver liable in a civil case. By filing a wrongful death claim, the family may receive compensation for funeral expenses, loss of income, and loss of companionship and parental guidance.
Of course, neither criminal nor civil proceedings can even begin to lessen the emotional anguish that accompanies a sudden loss of a family member. They are only small pieces of a puzzle that, once in place, can help survivors focus on grieving and healing.
Source: Seattle PI, "Driver pleads guilty in crash that killed bicyclist," July 17, 2012