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Old 10-08-06, 06:22 PM   #1
MaryAnn
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Killed Cyclist in NorCal Los Altos Hills

Hello, I'm Mary Ann and I've been a member of this forum for a couple of years. John Peckham was my son. He's the one that was killed in the tragedy in the Los Altos Hills in Northern California on Sept. 8, 2006. I've been reading some posts for a while and I'd really like to set some things straight. My son was a Cat 2 racer. He went from Cat 5 to Cat 2 in a year. Almost unheard of so raw was his talent. He came from many sports all his life but most recently from mountain biking. His bad knee (from multiple snowboarding accidents) put him on the bike. He excelled. His talent was on the sprints on the road. He was on the bike about 20 hours a week. He was driven but he maintained his relationships and held down a job (as as a biomedical engineer) that most of us couldn't handle. He was amazing. He was a wonderful person. He was handsome as all get out and smart as a whip. He graduated from UC Davis. He was brilliant, caring, athletic, loved his family and was happy and a contributing member of society. I have nothing negative to say about my son, nor does anyone else that knew him well. If you think I'm going overboard because I'm just "the mom" check out what his friends are saying about him at http://altovelo.org/wordpress/?p=11

Or go to www.legacy.com.

Anyway, back to the original statement that I wanted to make. Numero uno is the guy wasn't drunk. The guy was whacked out on methamphetamine and going 90 miles an hour around a curve that my son happened to be making his way up. So what happened? Straight, as in head-on into my son who was following all the rules of the road. John Peckham was doing nothing wrong. Nothing as in nothing. He was wearing a helmet, he was not wearing earbuds, he was on a training ride on a road that had no traffic ever. Along comes the guy from hell. I can't talk as much as I'd like here because I really don't want to hurt my son's case in the courts but I know for sure the guy was freaked out on Meth. Hit my kid going upwards of 80 mph while my kid was following all the rules of the road. What I'm trying to say here is that I got some vibe that some of you all think that you can be safer if you try. You can't. You're on a bike you're going to meet up with Mr. Methamphetamine. And my son got him this time. You were all spared for the moment. Nothing is going to make cycling safe. Nothing. You've got someone with nothing except Spandex and a Carbon Fiber bike going head on with a guy on Meth with a Buick from the 70's. Who's gonna win? Are you going to quit riding? No, of course you are not going to quit. My son, John, would rather die than quit riding and that's what he did. He died. Bottom line is be as careful and as safe as you can but nothing, not even a guardian angel (which I think is virtually useless in times such as these) can help you. Just be as safe as you can be. I want everyone to be as safe as possible, and as safe as possible is only what reality allows.

That's a mother's lecture. I'm not saying to stop riding. That would not do. What I'm saying is that you can't figure out what's going to happen and please don't fault my son for doing something he didn't do right. He did nothing wrong. He was perfect. Mr. Methamphatmine got him before he knew it. Let's put this particular Mr. Meth in jail. But just be aware, they are like cocroaches. They are all over the place.
Thanks for listening,
Mary Ann Parker
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Old 10-08-06, 11:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryAnn
Hello, I'm Mary Ann and I've been a member of this forum for a couple of years. John Peckham was my son. He's the one that was killed in the tragedy in the Los Altos Hills in Northern California on Sept. 8, 2006. I've been reading some posts for a while and I'd really like to set some things straight. My son was a Cat 2 racer. He went from Cat 5 to Cat 2 in a year. Almost unheard of so raw was his talent. He came from many sports all his life but most recently from mountain biking. His bad knee (from multiple snowboarding accidents) put him on the bike. He excelled. His talent was on the sprints on the road. He was on the bike about 20 hours a week. He was driven but he maintained his relationships and held down a job (as as a biomedical engineer) that most of us couldn't handle. He was amazing. He was a wonderful person. He was handsome as all get out and smart as a whip. He graduated from UC Davis. He was brilliant, caring, athletic, loved his family and was happy and a contributing member of society. I have nothing negative to say about my son, nor does anyone else that knew him well. If you think I'm going overboard because I'm just "the mom" check out what his friends are saying about him at http://altovelo.org/wordpress/?p=11

Or go to www.legacy.com.

Anyway, back to the original statement that I wanted to make. Numero uno is the guy wasn't drunk. The guy was whacked out on methamphetamine and going 90 miles an hour around a curve that my son happened to be making his way up. So what happened? Straight, as in head-on into my son who was following all the rules of the road. John Peckham was doing nothing wrong. Nothing as in nothing. He was wearing a helmet, he was not wearing earbuds, he was on a training ride on a road that had no traffic ever. Along comes the guy from hell. I can't talk as much as I'd like here because I really don't want to hurt my son's case in the courts but I know for sure the guy was freaked out on Meth. Hit my kid going upwards of 80 mph while my kid was following all the rules of the road. What I'm trying to say here is that I got some vibe that some of you all think that you can be safer if you try. You can't. You're on a bike you're going to meet up with Mr. Methamphetamine. And my son got him this time. You were all spared for the moment. Nothing is going to make cycling safe. Nothing. You've got someone with nothing except Spandex and a Carbon Fiber bike going head on with a guy on Meth with a Buick from the 70's. Who's gonna win? Are you going to quit riding? No, of course you are not going to quit. My son, John, would rather die than quit riding and that's what he did. He died. Bottom line is be as careful and as safe as you can but nothing, not even a guardian angel (which I think is virtually useless in times such as these) can help you. Just be as safe as you can be. I want everyone to be as safe as possible, and as safe as possible is only what reality allows.

That's a mother's lecture. I'm not saying to stop riding. That would not do. What I'm saying is that you can't figure out what's going to happen and please don't fault my son for doing something he didn't do right. He did nothing wrong. He was perfect. Mr. Methamphatmine got him before he knew it. Let's put this particular Mr. Meth in jail. But just be aware, they are like cocroaches. They are all over the place.
Thanks for listening,
Mary Ann Parker
MaryAnne,

Please accept my condolences and assurances that if it were my druthers, this B@st@rd would be UNDER the jail! (Pardon my French!)
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Old 10-09-06, 12:15 AM   #3
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Mary Ann, my prayers go out to you and your family, I'm sorry I never got to ride with your son.

Your message is so clear and direct and cuts through all the cr*p we sometimes see about safety.

With your permission, Mary Ann: Mods: is there any way to repost this where more people in these forums will see it??
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Old 10-09-06, 12:18 AM   #4
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Mary Ann...my heart aches for you, I am so sorry for your loss.
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Old 10-10-06, 12:20 PM   #5
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Mary Ann, I'm very, very sorry about your loss.
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Old 10-10-06, 12:45 PM   #6
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let me add my sentiments as well, and I hope the court case goes the way you want. We need to have a sea change at how we look at the car culture of this country. We need to raise the driving age and make that license dependant on graduating from high school. Known substance abusers should have their licenses removed, period, until they prove sobriety. These and many other changes might have made a difference. Best of luck to you.
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Old 10-10-06, 02:44 PM   #7
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At the risk of offending sensibilities, it is refreshing that a mother who cares so much about her son's pursuits should come on to forums such as these to put her perspective. I only wish that people who read simple and very brief reports of accidents involving cyclists would not post with such haste to places such as the A&S without researching all the facts, then offer erroneous speculation that becomes a wildfire of destruction in itself. The speculation is irresponsible bordering on reprehensible, and is not helpful to anyone, least of all the victims' families who, if they follow their kin in cycling, have to tolerate this kind of social scavenging.

Thanks, MaryAnn, for putting up the actual details of what happened, and for your courage to suggest that people should not stop cycling, but that they should be aware that anything can happen at any moment that is totally beyond their personal control and blame. May John Rest In Peace and his life serve as inspiration to others who may follow in his career and sporting paths.

Last edited by Rowan; 10-10-06 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 10-10-06, 08:04 PM   #8
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Mrs. Parker,

Thank you for your post and I am so very sorry for your loss.

Tracy
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Old 10-10-06, 09:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryAnn
That's a mother's lecture. I'm not saying to stop riding. That would not do. What I'm saying is that you can't figure out what's going to happen and please don't fault my son for doing something he didn't do right. He did nothing wrong. He was perfect. Mr. Methamphatmine got him before he knew it. Let's put this particular Mr. Meth in jail. But just be aware, they are like cocroaches. They are all over the place.
Thanks for listening,
Mary Ann Parker
I don't have children, but I have a Godson, who just turned one, and already I'm worried about him. I will train him to be safe, and I do think that we can take precautions that make us safer, but sometimes we're just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The only thing the rest of us can do is to stomp on these cockroaches every time they appear.

I'm sorry for your loss. Truly sorry.
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Old 10-10-06, 10:01 PM   #10
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I can't say anything further than what Rowen said, so I'll simply say that he expressed his thoughts as if they were my own.
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Old 10-11-06, 08:23 AM   #11
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I think I see where he got his strength from.
May you find peace.
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Old 10-11-06, 09:45 AM   #12
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I hope your memories of your son's energy, talents, and zest for life help soften the pain of your loss. And, thank you for reminding us that we can not allow such tragic events to take our sport away from us. Everytime we get out on the roads on our bikes, we are paying our respects to those who have been taken from us.
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Old 10-14-06, 08:25 AM   #13
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Sorry for your loss. I totally agree with what you said. Meth heads are such a threat to us all. We have to be so careful out there on the road. But not only careful for fear of getting slammed by a meth head. Every driver using a cell phone is a threat to us.
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Old 10-14-06, 08:44 AM   #14
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Mary Anne,

The situation regarding your son is heartbreaking. I thank you very much for sharing your story here, and you and your family will be in my prayers.

Noah
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Old 10-17-06, 03:27 PM   #15
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Thank you for every single entry. I'm the mom now and I've laid my son to rest and I'm itching to read about his people. You are his people. I'm a 62 year old woman (who also cycles because of his influence)and I had a son (my only child) that lived and died cycling. I just wanted to thank every single one of you for giving me help in my grief. And you all did in your own way. I'm now preparing his memorial headstone and I'm sure they're not going to let me say that he was "Killed by a driver that was under the influence of methamphetamine." That's my next campaign. Will let you know what happens. He was, by the way killled that way but now in these politically correct times it may not be allowed on the headstone. Trust me. I will make it sound as bad as it can because actually it was worse. Thanks so much,
Mary Ann Parker
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Old 10-19-06, 03:22 AM   #16
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I blame the population and the politicians, who refuse to invest in bicycle paths
that are separated from the automobile circulation. The only way to make bikers
safe is to avoid motorbikes, trucks, cars from sharing the same path.

RIP
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Old 10-24-06, 11:07 PM   #17
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Here's an update: Man pleads no contest in Palo Alto bicyclist's death

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/15839438.htm

"Fremont man could face 28 years in prison after pleading no contest Tuesday to vehicular manslaughter and two other felonies for plowing his car into an avid bicyclist who was killed while on a lunchtime ride in the Palo Alto hills last month."
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Old 10-25-06, 09:48 AM   #18
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People around here can't drive worth ****.
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Old 10-26-06, 11:44 AM   #19
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Sorry to hear of your loss, Mary Ann. Thanks for telling us the story, and the dose of reality which is necessary for even the most safety conscious of cyclists.

Al.
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Old 10-26-06, 01:52 PM   #20
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People around here can't drive worth ****.
I'm not gonna dispute that in general, but in this case I don't think the driving skills were the issue. He was on meth, out of his mind. It is, unfortunately, a stark reminder that you can do everything right but just end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's a shame nonetheless.

Mary Ann, thanks for posting here. Your son has some very good friends and teammates that will miss him dearly.
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Old 10-26-06, 06:23 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryAnn
Let's put this particular Mr. Meth in jail. But just be aware, they are like cocroaches. They are all over the place.
Thanks for listening,
Mary Ann Parker
Mary Ann, I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to your son. As a father of 3 all under 4 yrs I worry about their future more than anything else. I don't know how or if I'd cope if I lost one of my kids, its too painfull to even try to imagine what you must be going through. My heart and thoughts are with you today.

As far as I'm concerned that junkie deserves nothing but the death penalty, as do all convicted drug dealers. They are a cancer in society.
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Old 11-06-06, 09:44 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by backinthesaddle
Mary Ann, my prayers go out to you and your family, I'm sorry I never got to ride with your son.

Your message is so clear and direct and cuts through all the cr*p we sometimes see about safety.

With your permission, Mary Ann: Mods: is there any way to repost this where more people in these forums will see it??
This is quite late in answering but yes, you have my permission. In fact this might be great timing because the letters to the Probation Officer of Chevelle Bailey, the guy that killed my son will have to be received within two weeks. They have to be written to:

Michelle Rodriguez
270 Grant Avenue
3rd Floor
Palo Alto, California 94306

Just tell them you are a cyclist and you demand the defendant be punished to the full extent of the law.

Please state the name of the Defendant: Chevelle Bailey, and the victim: John Eric Peckham on the letter.
Thanks so much.
Mary Ann Parker
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Old 11-06-06, 09:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backinthesaddle
Mary Ann, my prayers go out to you and your family, I'm sorry I never got to ride with your son.

Your message is so clear and direct and cuts through all the cr*p we sometimes see about safety.

With your permission, Mary Ann: Mods: is there any way to repost this where more people in these forums will see it??
This is quite late in answering but yes, you have my permission. In fact this might be great timing because the letters to the Probation Officer of Chevelle Bailey, the guy that killed my son will have to be received within two weeks. They have to be written to:

Michelle Rodriguez
270 Grant Avenue
3rd Floor
Palo Alto, California 94306

Just tell them you are a cyclist and you demand the defendant be punished to the full extent of the law.

Please state the name of the Defendant: Chevelle Bailey, and the victim: John Eric Peckham on the letter.
Thanks so much.
Mary Ann Parker
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Old 11-06-06, 10:46 PM   #24
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MaryAnn; so sorry about the loss of your beloved son. As a cyclist I do take a risk everyday I ride, but I've been riding (including racing) for over 30 years and so far so good! But it's a risk I'm willing to take because it's something I love to do to just as your son loved to do.

I believe you can say anything you want on a headstone because that headstone is yours and so is the land it sits on. But just try to think 10 years and more down the road, will saying what you want to say today really what you would want to remember or someone else to read about your son 10 or 20 or so years from now? I guess what I'm trying to say is: what would you really want people to know about your son that would endear them to him?
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Old 11-07-06, 12:40 PM   #25
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MaryAnn,

You are right in that no one can be completely safe ever, no matter what you do, on bike or off bike. Sometimes tragedies happen over which we have no control. Words can't even begin to describe how awful, wrong, unfair such losses are... I don't have children, and one of the main things that holds me back from having them is that tragedies like this do happen.. and I'm not sure I could survive one. My thoughts are with you, MaryAnn. You are a strong person. You should be proud of your son who was such a great person and accomplished so much in such a short time before a methhead took his life...

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As far as I'm concerned that junkie deserves nothing but the death penalty
Absolutely.
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