SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Family and friends of bicyclist who was killed after a SUV crashed into him in San Jose Monday morning are raising concerns about the deadly accident.
“You never think you’re here one day and gone the next,” said neighbor Daniel Aponte choking back tears as he remembered seeing his friend 70-year-old Johnny Chu leave for his bike ride the morning he died.
“I asked him, ‘Are you going for your ride?’ He answered, ‘Yes, I am.’ He started carrying his bike down the stairs. He waved at me. And I said, ‘Next time,’ because we had talked before about riding together,” Aponte said.
San Jose Police say the crash took place near Vista Park Drive and Capitol Expressway shortly before 7:45 a.m.
Police said the bicyclists, both adult males, were riding southbound on Vista Park when a gray Chevrolet SUV driven by an adult female struck the cyclists while entering the street from a strip mall parking lot.
Following the crash, the cyclists were hospitalized. One of the cyclists was pronounced dead a short time later, while the second cyclist identified by family members as Liem Do suffered life-threatening injuries and is in critical condition.
“My dad had a bruised kidney and a bruised liver. And he has one broken leg. And he had head surgery,” said Ken Dao describing his father-in-law’s injuries.
The cyclists were in a bike lane and traffic laws say the driver should have yielded to all traffic.
“Any time you’re exiting a parking lot, you have yield to pedestrian, vehicle traffic, as well as bicycles. So, the bicyclists would have the right of way because they were already in the roadway traveling southbound on Vistapark,” said Gena Tepoorten of the San Jose Police Department. “She was exiting a parking lot, we know, when this happened.
Police said the driver remained on scene and is cooperating with the investigation. The woman waited in a patrol car for much of the morning, and appeared visibly emotional after speaking with investigators shortly after news of the fatality had been released.
“Well, you can imagine, she hit two bicyclists. She’s obviously very shaken up and distraught,” said Tepoorten.
Investigators say alcohol or drugs do not appear to be a factor. According to records, the 2013 Chevy SUV is registered to Julie Bernal.
Authorities said the incident is the 26th fatal collision that occurred in San Jose this year.
San Jose Police say once their investigation is complete, they will turn over their findings to the District Attorney’s Office who will determine if any charges should be filed.