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Driver Arrested on Multiple Charges Following Tragic Collision with Cyclists

In an unfortunate incident that has left the suburb of Phoenix in mourning, a driver has been arrested after he crashed his vehicle into a group of 20 bicyclists, killing two and injuring 17 others. The incident occurred over the weekend in Goodyear, Arizona, and the police have taken 26-year-old Pedro Quintana-Lujan of Phoenix into custody. According to authorities, Quintana-Lujan has been charged with several counts, including two counts of manslaughter, three counts of aggravated assault, 18 counts of endangerment, and two counts of causing serious injury or death by a moving violation.

The community of Goodyear, which has a population of about 100,000 residents and is located approximately five miles west of Phoenix, is still in shock after what Mayor Joe Pizzillo described as a “horrific” crash. Speaking at a news conference on Monday afternoon, Pizzillo said, “We have a tight-knit cycling community, so this has deeply affected many across the West Valley. But a tragedy like this affects the entire community of Goodyear.”

Police Chief Santiago Rodriguez, who spoke at the same news conference, revealed that Quintana-Lujan was driving his white Ford F-250 pickup truck over the Cotton Lane Bridge in the early hours of Saturday morning when he hit a barrier wall and then crashed into the group of 20 cyclists. Police arrived at the scene shortly before 8 a.m. local time, where they found 19 injured cyclists, two of whom died. The deceased have been identified as Karen Malisa, a 61-year-old Goodyear resident, and David Kero, a 65-year-old visitor from Michigan.

It is unclear whether the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash, as police are still awaiting the results of a blood sample taken from Quintana-Lujan. Authorities have indicated that there is no indication that the crash was intentional, but the investigation is ongoing.

The group of cyclists was on a regular Saturday group ride organized by the local organization West Valley Cycle on a set route they follow on Saturdays, founder David Herzog told NPR. Herzog explained that there were three groups on the ride, but it was the B group that was struck. He added that “No one really saw the truck because he pretty much hit the back of the group and came all the way through the group.”

The tragedy has left the entire cycling community in the area in shock. Herzog, who was not part of Saturday’s ride, heard accounts of the crash from his wife and others who were there. He said that Malisa, who was a middle school math teacher and a close friend of his, had a “great heart” and helped anyone in need. Kero was new to the group, having just arrived from out of state.

Herzog has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the families of those who died, as well as the riders who were injured and undergoing numerous surgeries. He acknowledged the outpouring of support from the community but expressed concern that it would be a long road to recovery for the close-knit group that has spent countless hours riding together. “I don’t know how we’re going to really recover from this,” he said.

The number of cyclists killed by drivers has been on the rise in recent years. The National Safety Council reported that 1,260 cyclists were killed in 2020, which was a 16% increase from the previous year. Cycling deaths have also risen by 44% over the past decade. The latest incident has highlighted the need for greater safety measures for cyclists on the roads.

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