Words from one of the cyclists at Slowtwitch.com:
Just a few words to let everyone know how I am doing. I am Ok physically, but feel quite messed up in the head. Words cannot describe the accident scene, I thought that I was in a nightmare the whole time. This is what happened from my side - we were a team of four, Matt, Kristy, ******** and myself were heading towards the Stevens Creek reservoir as a team. The other 3 put around 20 seconds n me before the last stretch to the reservoir. When I took the corner, it was a horror scene. The sheriff officer got out of his car and was pacing up and down not quite knowing what to do. I could see that Matt was fatally hit and ********* was hurt, but, concious and yelling in pain. Kristy was in bad shape, I stayed with her and encouraged her to keep breathing until the paramedics took over.
There was another cyclist on scene who happened to be a doctor - when he asked the cop what hapenned, he said, "I must have dozed off...".
Thank you all for the support. I feel like we should get together as a team to talk about this, it would definitely help me.
Santa Clara deputy sheriff veers into cyclists killing 2
Demian Bulwa, Delfin Vigil, Tyche Hendricks,Cecilia M. Vega, Chronicle Staff Writers
Monday, March 10, 2008
(03-09) 20:10 PDT CUPERTINO -- A rookie Santa Clara County deputy sheriff patrolling a winding Cupertino road today veered into the opposite lane of traffic and struck a trio of bicyclists, killing two people, including a rising star in the Bay Area cycling community, authorities said.
Authorities did not release the name of the victims, but friends identified one of the riders as 31-year-old Kristy Gough of Oakland and another as Matt Peterson, 30, of San Francisco. Both were killed. The third cyclist, whose name was not released, was listed in critical condition Sunday night at Stanford University Medical Center.
Gough was a professional tri-athlete who recently took up road racing and who friends said won every race she entered this year. Peterson, an active road racing cyclist, finished in first place in a race in Merced on March 1.
Gough, Peterson and the third cyclist were on a training ride on Stevens Canyon Road and had broken away from a group of eight other riders when they were struck by the on-duty deputy at about 10:25 a.m., friends of the riders said.
The unidentified deputy was northbound when his white cruiser accidentally crossed over the double yellow line near Montebello Road and hit the cyclists, according to Sgt. Don Morrissey, a spokesman for the sheriff's department.
The deputy, who has worked for the sheriff's department for about 18 months, immediately began to offer assistance to the bicyclists and called for medical aide, Morrissey said.
"The deputy is very distraught over this right now," Morrissey said. "It's devastating for everybody involved." Morrissey did not know whether Stevens Canyon Road is a route the deputy normally patrols.
As is customary when a local law enforcement officer is involved in a fatal crash, the deputy was placed on paid administrative leave and the California Highway Patrol is conducting the investigation.
Friends said Peterson, a member of the Roaring Mouse Cycles racing team, was dead at the scene. Gough died a couple hours later at Stanford University Medical Center, where the third rider, a 20-year-old, was admitted with major injuries, according to CHP Officer Todd Thibodeau said.
Roaring Mouse Cycles on Irving Street in San Francisco, a bicycle shop that sponsored the team Peterson belonged to, posted word of his death on its Web site. His death was confirmed by David Parrish, president of the Roaring Mouse racing team.
Two of Gough's friends, Dave Mayer and Anthony Borba, rode with Gough on the Third Pillar Amateur Road Racing team but were not present on Sunday's ride. They spoke with her family and were authorized to release her name, noting she died as a result of head injuries and internal bleeding and that she also suffered a severed leg.
Mayer, 30 of Portola Valley, and Borba, 32 of Campbell, stood outside the hospital Sunday afternoon and recalled a talented athlete who excelled at cycling, even though road racing was a relatively new sport for her.
"She's the strongest rider I ever rode with," Borba said. "The next level for her would have been the Olympic trials and she had no ego about it."
According to Clas Björling, a champion Swedish triathlete who was Gough's sweetheart for several years, she ran cross-country and did a bit swimming in high school. But she didn't get serious about athletics until she was an adult and some friends introduced her to bicycling and competing in triathlons, Björling said.
Once she caught the athletic bug, though, she devoted herself completely to training and competing as a triathlete. She worked as a waitress for a while, he said, but in recent years supported herself entirely on what she earned from her sports.
"She never really liked the idea of competing against others; she wanted to compete with herself," said Björling by telephone from his home in Mockfjärd, Sweden. "She was a really talented athlete, especially on the bike. She was so strong physically and mentally."
The group of riders hit by the deputy on Sunday were on a stretch of road frequently used by cyclists, but also heavily traveled by trucks on route to a nearby quarry. In 1996, a 46-year-old Cupertino man was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer rig while riding a bicycle near the scene of Sunday's tragedy.
Borba said his racing team regularly uses the road for training rides because it is considered to be a safe route.
"It has a large bicycle lane that is safe," he said. "That's why we ride that route every weekend."
Chris Wendt, 53, who lives near the scene of the crash called the incident "a tragedy."
"I don't want to say it was inevitable," he said. "But you do get a lot of (vehicles) and bikes up here. What was surprising is that it was a sheriff's deputy."
Anyone with information about the incident should call the CHP at (408) 467-5354 ext.337.
How awful. I feel sad and sick.