Cyclist struck and killed on Washtenaw early this morning, police are looking for damaged Audi of hit-and-run driver

Early this morning, former Ypsi City Council member Barry LaRue, returning home from a late night at work in Ann Arbor, noticed what he thought might be a dead body on Washtenaw, near the intersection with Brockman. Here, with his permission, is what he posted to Facebook shortly after leaving the police at the scene and returning home.

barry

According to LaRue, the body was off to the side of Washtenaw’s eastbound lane, just 20 feet or so south of Brockman, near the spot where Stadium forks off.

It’s being reported this morning that the victim was a 28-year-old Pittsfield Township man who had apparently been on a bicycle, headed eastbound on Washtenaw, when he was struck from behind. Judging from vehicle debris found at the site, police are now looking for an Audi with damage to the right side of its front end. If you should happen to see a vehicle matching this description, please contact the authorities immediately.

It’s difficult to say, of course, but it’s possible that, had the driver of the car stopped and offered assistance, this cyclist might still be alive today. Hopefully, if nothing else, this serves as a reminder to all of us that, regardless of the circumstances, you should never run from situations such as this. The person responsible for this accident, I’m assuming, was probably drunk, and felt as though, in the moment, their best course of action was to drive away in an attempt to hide from responsibility. They will eventually be found though. And they will eventually go to jail. And, more importantly, they will forever have this young man’s death on their hands. For the rest of their life, they’ll know that they not only hit a man, but left him to die alone in the street… Running from something like this is never the right answer.

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33 Comments

  1. Shane Davis
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    My hopes are pinned on them catching the murderer and delivering justice.

    I can’t imagine how someone would kill another and not want to help.

  2. Mr. X
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    People who do things like this need to be caught quickly and held accountable, if for no other reason than to demonstrate to others that, when things like this happen, they’re better off stopping and offering assistance than running. People need to know that leaving the scene of an accident never works.

  3. Lynne
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    How awful! I am impressed that the cops can tell what kind of car it is though.

  4. Annonymous
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I like the thought that we could catch this person, but it’s quite possible that they were heading down Washtenaw to get on 23 and leave the area. If that’s the case, it’s likely that we’ll never find the person, unless there happens to be video.

  5. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    When I was run down bicycling in Ypsi by a hit and run driver in 2006, within a minute I experienced the worst and best in human behavior. The worst was the coward who hit me, slowing down and even stopping, then taking off, leaving me with injuries that kept me out of work 5 months. The best were all the complete strangers who stopped to help me by getting me off the road, calling 911 and more.

  6. Lynne
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    That bit of Washtenaw is really overdue for a road diet. The lanes are already narrower than normal and I wonder if that was a factor in this case.

  7. Posted October 28, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Years ago, when I used to commute between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor I never took Washtenaw. I used to take Clark/Huron and only got hit once by a truck rear view. They didn’t stop.

  8. Dylan
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    This is tragic and disturbing. My progressive-liberal card will probably be revoked but bicycling on the road in this country is insane. Bike lanes help but the overall road infrastructure is not built to accommodate bikes and cars simultaneously. Very few people are competant drivers. They don’t understand or simply disregard the most basic rules of the road resulting in a road environment that is dangerous for everyone, especially bicyclists. I can’t wait for them to catch this driver.

  9. Eel
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I feel sorry for anyone driving an Audi with front end damage today.

  10. Barry LaRue
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    The poor fellow was wearing a blaze red jacket or sweat shirt. Apparently that wasn’t enough for whoever ran into him.

  11. Stokely Carbuncle
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    It’s time we have segregated bike lanes

  12. Peter Larson
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I have seen several people get hit in Nairobi. Everyone runs.

  13. Peter Larson
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    And no one helps.

  14. Anonymous Too
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I don’t want to make light of a tragic situation, but it could be worse in the US. In China they apparently have a problem with people running over cyclists repeatedly to ensure that they’re dead. It’s apparently less costly to do so.

  15. Anonymous Too
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Reference: “Why drivers in China intentionally kill the pedestrians they hit.”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2015/09/why_drivers_in_china_intentionally_kill_the_pedestrians_they_hit_china_s.html

  16. Kelly SchWeger
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    So tragic. I used to bike commute to A2 every day, but I always used Packard in order to avoid the very scary traffic on Washtenaw. I hope the killer is found so the victim’s family can have closure.

  17. A2 News
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    The Ann Arbor News interviewed Barry LaRue.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/10/disturbing_passerby_recalls_fi.html

  18. Jared Salinger
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the compassion, Mark. I was hit at 55mph this summer, entirely the right of the white line, and the sober response was “I had something in my eye, I was trying to get it out”. When you write “The person responsible for this accident, I’m assuming, was probably drunk”, I really think it detracts from personal responsibility that drivers can/should hold– anyone can be a terrible person and driver, regardless of what chemicals are in their system.

  19. Posted October 28, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    I din’t mean for it to sound like an excuse when I said that the driver was likely drunk. I just think, given the time of day that it happened, and the fact that the driver fled the scene, it’s likely that he/she was impaired. I’d like to think that most people, if they were sober, would have stopped and offered assistance. Maybe I’m wrong about that. Regardless, I don’t think that being drunk is any excuse… And I’m glad to know that you survived your accident.

  20. facebook stalker
    Posted October 28, 2015 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    The following was posted by Heidi Renee Bechtel‎ this evening:

    Neighbors – my brother in law was killed in a local hit and run this morning. Please if you know/hear anything notify the police. The car model is listed in the article. I understand that when accidents like this happen people can get scared and run. But he was severely injured and left for dead, so there is really no excuse for that.

  21. EOS
    Posted October 29, 2015 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    I hope they find the driver and prosecute to the full extent of the law. However, this wouldn’t have happened if the bicyclist had been riding on the bike path adjacent to the road. If we can’t require bicyclists to use the paths then we should stop building them.

    I’d hate to think anyone would knowingly hit a person and leave them to die on the side of the road. I’m guessing it was a vision impaired driver in the dark on a rainy night who likely thought they hit a pothole. If you choose to ride in these conditions on a heavily used road maybe you should invest in a strobe light, so that someone travelling at 3 times your speed has a better opportunity to avoid hitting you.

  22. Laura Bien
    Posted October 29, 2015 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    In none of the news articles I’ve read about this terrible accident have I seen the *color* of the Audi mentioned. Perhaps this is because they only found something like some headlight debris/hubcap at the scene. If authorities do know the color of the car, that would narrow things down dramatically.

  23. Taco Farts
    Posted October 29, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    I bet EOS used to say “this wouldn’t have happened if she wasn’t wearing that short skirt,” but has had to replace his open misogyny with cyclist hate.

    Also: although the imaginary scenario where you hit a human and think you hit a light pole is completely moronic (try “deer” next time, homicide apologists), it’s still illegal to drive away and not report the crash if you “only” hit a light pole hard enough to kill a human.

  24. EOS
    Posted October 29, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Misogyny? Light pole? What are you talking about or should I ask smoking???

  25. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 29, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    It is tragic.

    However, there is no reason to jump to conclusions or offer wild speculations regarding the driver. That section of Washtenaw is hilly. On the down hill sections a cyclist could reach close to the speed limit speeds. Does everyone realize how slight of a tap it requires to knock a cyclist off course???? Was their noise from rain? Was the cyclist geared with tail and headlamps? Helmet? Was the cyclist riding erratically?

    It is entirely possible to tap an unseen cyclist, going with the flow of traffic and having it lead to a fatal accident–and to not feel it or hear anything inside of the car…

    Let’s keep our eyes out for Audi’s with front end damage!

    Let’s also keep our speculations to a minimum. Or at least ask what function it serves to speculate about the accident.

  26. kjc
    Posted October 29, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    that’s a lot of speculation about cyclist error for someone against speculation.

  27. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 29, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Kjc,

    With limited information the possibilities are many, in both directions.

  28. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 29, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Having said that–Mark is probably right–given there was supposedly front end damage. But why jump to conclusions. We are all going to look for Audi’s to help solve the case anyway, right?

  29. Anonymous
    Posted October 29, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    It is entirely possible to “tap” an unseen cyclist…

    Really, Frosted Flakes? Is it also possible to not notice when you “tap” something so hard as to leave enough of your car at the accident site that investigators can determine the made and model?

  30. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 29, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    One possibility among many is the cyclist was tapped. Separated from bike. And the bike was hit by an Audi later–causing damage. The point is that it does not matter at this point. We don’t know. Speculating about the drivers blood alcohol content and the degree to which the driver of the Audi is a selfish piece of shit is pointless with regard to the case. There might be a psychological payoff but that is discussion to be had at a therapists office….Like I said, Mark is probably right, but it doesn’t matter. We don’t get points for guessing what happened.

  31. anony
    Posted October 29, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    looks like someone is in custody…rumored confession

    these things will continue to happen until we let go of the stupid notion that cars, people and cyclists can share the same space safely (and should be required to). If its all that important to have cyclists and pedestrians then invest is separate spaces.

  32. Jcp2
    Posted October 29, 2015 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    There is an arrest. http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/10/man_arrested_in_fatal_ann_arbo.html#incart_river_mobile_home

  33. Lynne
    Posted October 30, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    It is possible to hit a person and then to deny that it was a person because doing so is psychologically horrible. That happened to a friend of mine once. Someone decided to murder someone by throwing them off an overpass and my friend was among the many cars who ran him over afterwards. If her boyfriend hadn’t been with her to look back and insist that it was a person, she would not have stopped. She thought it was a dog. An already dead dog.

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