Cyclists Demand Action from Circuit Attorney Weeks After Hit-And-Run Driver Killed Biker

Categories: Bikes

ghostbike.JPG
Lindsay Toler
A bike memorial still marks the spot where Rick Beard was struck and killed by a motorist last month.
It's been 39 days since a hit-and-run driver killed cyclist Rick Beard, a 54-year-old, safety-conscious biking enthusiast.

The biking advocates at St. Louis Bicycle Works know exactly how many days it's been. For every day that passes without charges filed against the person who turned himself in to police in connection with Beard's death, the group tweets to the Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, pressuring her to take action and reminding her that they're watching.

The delay is particularly frustrating to cycling enthusiasts -- many of whom have their own horror stories of being hit or almost hit by a car -- because Beard's bike had a working camera that recorded what happened after he rolled through a stop sign around 8:45 p.m. on June 20 at Sarah Street and Cook Avenue.

See also: Bicycle Ban Amendment Defeated: Cyclists Celebrate "Victory of the Decade"

ghostbike2.JPG
Lindsay Toler
A memorial bike honors Rick Beard's memory at Sarah Street and Cook Avenue.
If Beard recorded his own death, cyclists around the city are asking, why hasn't the Circuit Attorney filed charges against the 27-year-old man who surrendered to police a week later?

Susan Ryan, spokeswoman for the Circuit Attorney's Office, doesn't offer any concrete clues, but says her office and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police are still actively investigating the hit-and-run and that there's more evidence to collect before filing charges.

"Police are doing accident reconstruction, seeking as much evidence as they possibly can," Ryan tells Daily RFT. "As soon as they bring over sufficient evidence for us to charge this case, we will."

UPDATE: Here's the full police report from the incident:

Incident: Fatal Accident/Leaving the Scene

Location: Cook & Sarah

Date/Time: 06/20/14 @ 2047Victim: Charles Beard, a 54-year old white male of the 7900 block of Davis Dr. in Clayton, Mo

Suspect vehicle: 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix - Black with maroon paint

The victim was riding his bicycle traveling north on Sarah at the intersection of Cook. As the victim proceeded through the intersection, he was struck by the above described vehicle. The vehicle fled the scene at a high rate of speed. The victim was pronounced deceased on the scene. On 6/21, the suspect vehicle was recovered in the 4700 block of Kensington. The investigation is ongoing.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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16 comments
Jim Descher
Jim Descher

I am interested in the phrase, "after he rolled through a stop sign around 8:45 p.m." Rolled through a stop sign sounds like a nice way to say the cyclist ran a stop sign. Maybe that is why the prosecutor's office hasn't filed charges. There may be none to be filed. I don't know this but that one phrase sure gives me pause.

jlavery
jlavery

I can't help believe that if our community was lighting candles and holding emotional vigils, that more investigative action would be visible.

Michelle Marie Funkenbusch
Michelle Marie Funkenbusch

How hard is it to get evidence of leaving the scene of an accident when the guy turns himself in for leaving the scene of an accident. I understand it's harder to press charges for manslaughter or some other crime like careless and imprudent driving but charges for leaving the scene of an accident seem pretty clear.

opusthepoet
opusthepoet

What people are ranting about is not who was at fault for the wreck, that point was moot when the driver left the cyclist laying in the road after the wreck. When a driver leaves the scene of a wreck fault is automatically placed on the driver for leaving. It's the leaving that is the crime that needs prosecuting, not the wreck.

Mike Schwab
Mike Schwab

If it is a fatality, they would have requested testing for all drugs, like for an autopsy, and those can take close to two months.

Rachel Davidson
Rachel Davidson

The same safety conscious person that ran a stop sign?

Brian Conley
Brian Conley

It's unfortunate that a man died. It's appauling that someone hit him and took off. My sister is an avid bike rider. I always give way to bikes; however, I have expierenced many riders, especially around Arsenal and Morganford that fail to abide by the rules of the rode. The other day, a bicylist flew into morganford from wisconsin right in front of my girls car. He did not yield or even look. I am glad the brakes work properly and my girlfriend responded responsibly. The man then began to accost her for his ignorance. I will leave it there. People need to share the rode.

Bobby
Bobby

Its a 4 way stop. Even if the cyclist rolled the stop (rolled generally meaning slowing before crossing) the car had to have blatantly flew through the stop.

Bobby
Bobby

@whateveryousay both did, one at a low rate of speed and subsequently died, the other at a high rate of speed who the took off and tried to hide.

ut_4_me
ut_4_me topcommenter

@whateveryousay It doesn't matter to the cyclists as long as the driver of the car is persecuted, I mean prosecuted.

knightguy
knightguy

@ut_4_me @whateveryousay That is a valid question...what's the outrage if the Cyclist ran the stop sign? I don't see people getting this mad when a person runs a stop sign in a car and gets killed...weird.

Not saying it was the cyclists' fault, but in my experience, here in St. Louis cyclists do not practice the best Safety. They run red lights, and do not obey any of the traffic laws. They feel like since they're on a bike and they CAN squeeze in places that they SHOULD. I see a lot of them without a helmet, much less the reflective safety gear you SHOULD be wearing on a road bike. We can't hear you like we can a motorcycle, and NO ONE ON THE ROAD IS EXEMPT FROM TRAFFIC LAWS!

I drive around St. Louis for about 6-8 hours a day every day and they forget to do a lot of things they should be doing.

-Signal, most drivers know what it means.


-Come to a full stop at stop signs. Cars do.


-Come to a full stop at red lights and don't run them. You're on a bike, not a pedestrian. Cars don't run red lights, and that is primarily a safety issue not a traffic law issue.


-Don't "weave" ...maintain a straight line and don't ride like it's your first day. If it is your first day, stick to the sidewalks


-When there is a Bike Lane...be in it.

If my children are in my truck with me, and I have to decide between swerving or hitting a careless cyclist, they're getting hit. Be safe and responsible about your riding because people are not going to sacrifice their own well being for yours. Sad, but true.

Use the Bike Lanes. Use the brand new Sidewalks that our tax dollars paid for, and ONLY IF those aren't available should you be in the road...much less the middle of the lane not obeying any traffic laws.

Also...Evidence, not a timeline, determine when charges are filed. They are nowhere close to the statute of limitations. Get worried when they are. Pestering the prosecutors is not going to help. He admitted to Hit & Run but they may be following up to see if they can also bring down some sort of Manslaughter charge against him.

opusthepoet
opusthepoet

@knightguy @ut_4_me @whateveryousay Your understanding of bike laws is severely lacking. Bicycles are vehicles and as such have the right to use the full lane as required for safety. Also there is this pedal on cars that causes them to SLOW down when there is something in front of your vehicle, like a bicycle. There is no law that says you have a right to go the speed limit all the time, in fact that there are many, many situations where the laws require driving at less than the posted limit.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@opusthepoet @knightguy @ut_4_me @whateveryousay Opus, here in California we have a minimum speed law.  Not too sure it is ever really enforced, but it is on the books.  

Some cities out here have started ticketing cyclists for running stop signs and red lights at the more dangerous intersections.  

I lived in a touristy beach town for years and witnessed both terrible cyclists and drivers.  I started recording video when I was driving after having a couple close calls.  The only time I had an altercation with a cyclist was when he hit my parked vehicle.  I heard it and looked outside to see him getting up and starting to leave.  I stopped him and all hell broke loose.  Good times.  The police came and ended up taking a report.  He wasn't happy that he was on the hook to pay for the damage.  

Is there any type of insurance to cover cyclists when they ride?


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