A truck driver has been charged in connection with the death of 23-year-old Aussie tourist Madison Lyden, who was killed yesterday while riding a rented bicycle near Central Park in New York.
Police have confirmed that 44-year-old Felipe Chairez faces charges of driving while intoxicated, driving while ability-impaired and driving a commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
Chairez was arraigned on Saturday afternoon local time, and per the New York Daily News, the court heard that two empty beer cans were found in the cab of his vehicle.
Eyewitnesses have said that Madison Lyden was riding in a bike lane shortly before the tragedy unfolded, and was forced to swerve suddenly when an Uber vehicle pulled out in front of her.
She was struck by an oncoming sanitation truck, driven by Chairez, and flew off the bike, hitting the concrete. She was not wearing a helmet at the time, as there is no requirement to do so in NYC.
A friend who was travelling with Lyden rushed to her side after the accident and was heard shouting “baby, baby, baby, wake up”, and attempting to resuscitate her until an ambulance arrived.
She was taken to Roosevelt Hospital suffering from severe trauma, and sadly could not be saved.
Paul Steely White, the director of New York cycling advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, called the death a preventable tragedy, telling media:
Source: New York Daily News
“Madison Jane Lyden is dead because her bike lane was blocked. It’s tragic, yes, but all the more unconscionable because this was a crash waiting to happen. Every day in this city, bike lanes meant to protect people on bikes are used as drop-off lanes, parking lanes, and idling lanes for lazy and entitled drivers. As a city we should be ashamed, because this death could have been prevented.”