Bicyclist killed in Gateway crash; driver surrenders
By Rebecca Nolan
Published: Sunday, December 10, 2006
SPRINGFIELD - A driver who fled after he allegedly hit and killed a bicyclist on Gateway Street late Saturday turned himself in about an hour and a half after the wreck.
As police throughout the county searched for a full-size white pickup truck believed involved in the fatal crash, a man arrived at the Springfield Police Department and surrendered to officers.
Few details were immediately available, and neither the driver nor the bicyclist had been identified as of midnight.
Police said the truck hit a bicyclist from behind as he rode in the northbound bike lane in front of the Super 8 Motel at 3315 Gateway St. shortly after 9 p.m.
Witnesses said the bicyclist was thrown into the roadway, where the truck ran over him, killing him instantly. The truck then sped north on Gateway and disappeared, witness Julie Campbell said. She was standing less than 10 feet away when the crash happened.
She said it appeared the motorist was trying to drive through a yellow light before it turned red. She thought he might not have seen the bicyclist before he hit him, but she was certain the driver knew something had happened when he sped away from the intersection.
"There was no doubt about that," Campbell said. "I was jumping and screaming on the sidewalk. He just burned tires through the light."
Police narrowed Gateway to one lane in each direction, backing up traffic already heavy with holiday shoppers making their way home from the nearby mall.
The man's body lay in the rightmost northbound lane, covered by a yellow tarp. His messenger bag and cell phone lay nearby. A crumpled black mountain bike rested where it fell.
Neighbors who heard the crash and the screams of witnesses gathered on the sidewalk just feet from the body as the city's major accident investigations team worked at the scene.
Campbell was waiting to cross the street at the intersection when she saw the bicyclist approaching. She said he was equipped with a flashing bike light and appeared to be in his late 20s or early 30s. It was not clear if the man wore a helmet.
She said she saw the pickup truck coming from behind and saw the driver speed up to make the yellow light.
A look of shock spread across the bicyclist's face when the truck first hit him, she said. She said he was alive until the truck rolled over him after he fell in the roadway.
"I jumped in the street and tried to stop traffic," she said. Campbell cried as she recounted the crash. A companion comforted her.
The driver turned himself in about 10:35 p.m., police said. He was cooperating with officers.