Driver who struck and killed 17-year-old Team USA rider arrested and charged with vehicular homicide

'Yeva Smilianska must be held accountable for her willful and conscious actions when she chose to get behind the wheel of her car that day,' says family

Magnus White
(Image credit: Ride Aperture)

Longmont police have arrested 23-year-old Yeva Smilianska of Westminster, Colorado, in connection with the killing of 17-year-old national team cyclist Magnus White in July.

White was on a final training ride before leaving for the UCI World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, when he was struck by a car and killed. 

The incident occurred midday on July 29, on southbound Highway 119, in White's hometown of Boulder, Colorado. 

White was riding in a wide, paved shoulder, proudly wearing his Team USA jersey when he was struck by Smilianska who was driving a 2004 Toyota Matrix.

According to a crash report,  Smilianska experienced 'steering difficulties' which caused her to drift out of her lane and into the paved shoulder where she struck White.  According to the first responder's opinion, Smilianska did not appear to have been on her phone, distracted or suffering from a medical episode. No avoidance maneuver was attempted and the car continued to travel into the grass embankment before coming to a halt upon colliding with a fence.

Smilianska was arrested on Tuesday evening and charged with vehicular homicide. She's being held at the Boulder County Jail.

The White family today released a statement, acknowledging the developing, saying:

"It is with heavy hearts that we acknowledge the release of the criminal charge and the identification of the individual responsible for the crash that claimed the life of our 17-year old son, Magnus White, on July 29th, 2023, at 12:28 pm.

Yeva Smilianska willfully and consciously chose to get behind the wheel of her car, engaging in reckless driving behavior that resulted in the fatal collision into our son Magnus who was struck from behind and ejected from his bicycle. This devastating event occurred on a designated bike route, on a straight road with a 10’ wide shoulder, in broad daylight. We accept that the criminal charge filed against driver Yeva Smilianska is Felony of Vehicular Homicide.

As parents, we teach our children about consequences and accountability. We believe in consequences and accountability when Magnus was alive and we held him to that. Magnus believed in this as well. Yeva Smilianska must be held accountable for her willful and conscious actions when she chose to get behind the wheel of her car that day. It is essential Yeva Smilianska be given the maximum penalty for her crime, not only for her willful actions, but also for the profound pain and suffering endured by Magnus's mother, father, brother, family, friends, teammates and entire community – a dark shadow of grief that will hang over them for the remainder of their lives. 

We will be struggling this holiday season as we cope with the permanent absence of our son Magnus. From a very young age, Christmas was always his favorite holiday and held a very special place in his heart. Every Christmas morning, he took such joy handing out presents to everyone in our family as we all gathered in front of the Christmas Tree.

Magnus’s death could have been prevented. It underscores the responsibility of every driver to safely operate their vehicle. Everytime each of us gets into our car, everytime we get on our bikes, everytime we walk on a sidewalk, everytime we walk in a parking lot, we all have an inherent trust that another driver will not strike and kill us. Yeva Smilianska shattered this trust.

We express our gratitude to the Colorado State Patrol for their investigation and extend our appreciation to the Boulder County District Attorney’s office for their continuing investigation as the legal proceedings progress." 

The White family recently announced the creation of a non-profit in Magnus' legacy. Titled The White Line, the non-profit aims to inspire and aid the development of young cyclists globally while raising awareness of bicycle and automobile safety to create safer cycling environments.

The organization is taking a three-pronged approach to cycling advocacy work:

-  Get more kids on bikes and to help more kids race.

- Increase awareness about road safety through advertising campaigns and advocacy.

- A film series titled Lives Worth Remembering to pay tribute to fallen riders

The White Line is now accepting donations and plans to release the full length film about White’s life in the near future. 

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