The cycling world is reeling from a deadly incident outside Las Vegas that led to the death of five cyclists and the severe injuring of four others.
On Thursday the driver of a box truck slammed into a group of 18 cyclists who were participating in an annual 130-mile ride in southern Nevada. The cyclists were reportedly riding on the shoulder of U.S. 95 just outside Searchlight, Nevada, when the tragedy took place.
According to reports, the driver left the roadway before hitting the group of cyclists, who were riding behind a support vehicle on the shoulder of the road. The truck then struck the support vehicle and hit a second group of cyclists that was in front of the car.
Cyclist Michael Anderson, one of the organizers of the ride, told The New York Times that he watched the crash unfold in front of him.
“Three were dead instantly, as you could tell from their bodies,” Anderson said. “I watched two die in front of me. I have been crying all day.”
A retired 22-year-veteran of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Anderson said he had never responded to a crash as horrific as this.
“I’ve seen stuff, obviously as a police officer,” he said, choking on the words to express himself. “But it’s your friends … I’ve never seen that,” Anderson told a local news outlet.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak offered his condolences via Twitter a few hours after the crash. “I was devastated to hear this news this morning. Kathy and I are sending all our love to the families affected and to those on the scene responding to the situation,” he said.
At this time, is still unknown why the driver of the box truck left the roadway and struck the group. According to multiple reports, the driver of the truck was cooperative with law enforcement at the scene.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, one of the riders killed in the incident was Erin Ray, 43, a competitive cyclist and Ironman triathlete from Summerlin, a suburb of Las Vegas.
Friends of Ray’s described her as a passionate athlete who pursued swimming, soccer, bodybuilding, horse racing, rock climbing, and competitive running. Ray qualified for her professional triathlete’s license in 2018, after a top finish at Ironman Boulder.
“When she would pick up a sport, she would go all in, 200 percent, excel as far as she could take that sport, to a semi-pro level and then pick something else,” said friend Sarah Ritter.
Ray was coached by retired pro cyclist Ivan Dominguez, and Dominguez recorded a video on social media to memorialize his client and friend.
“She was not just one of my athletes, she was a great friend, and a great friend of my family,” Dominguez said.
A vigil in the form of a drive-thru memorial will take place Saturday to honor the five cyclists killed in the crash. The event will be held between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. outside the Las Vegas Cyclery parking lot, 10575 Discovery Drive. A Zoom meeting and Facebook Live vigil will be hosted from the Save Red Rock’s Facebook page beginning at 3 p.m.
We are deeply saddened and troubled by this story. Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of the riders who were killed and injured in the crash.