Two killed, 11 injured after driver crashes pickup truck into group of cyclists

Arizona bike community mourns; the driver faces charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault, endangerment and more

West Valley Cycle Injury Fund
(Image credit: GoFundMe)

On the early morning on Saturday, February 25, 20 members of the West Cycle Valley club were crossing the Cotton Lane Bridge in Goodyear, Arizona, when a driver crashed his pickup truck into them, killing two people and injuring an additional 11.

One woman died at the scene, a second cyclist died at the hospital and one of the 11 people hospitalized remains in life-threatening condition.

The driver, identified as 26-year-old Quintana-Lujan, has been taken into custody and faces 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, according to NPR. He's being held on a $250,000 bond. 

Goodyear is a suburb of Phoenix and the crash occurred around 8 in the morning as the group of cyclists were crossing a two-lane bridge. Details of how or why the crash occurred remain unclear yet on Monday, February 27, the Goodyear Police Department gave a livestreamed incident update, in which Chief Rodriguez stated that there is "no indication" that the crash "was an intentional act or anything other than an isolated incident."

"We don't have all the answers we need to finish this investigation yet," he said. "But know the men and women here at the Goodyear Police Department, and as you heard the mayor speak about the City, we are grieving with the community. Many of us are bike riders." 

Rodriguez also reminded people about the state's three foot law, which requires drivers to pass cyclists with care and at least three feet of space.

Rodriquez identified the deceased riders as 61-year-old Karen Malisa (in the picture above), a local retired elementary school teacher, mother and avid cyclist; and 65-year-old David Kero, who was visiting from Michigan.

Malisa's family released a media statement on Sunday, saying: "The community grieves the loss of a teacher, leader, and dear friend from a horrific accident yesterday. As you can imagine it’s heartbreaking. Karen’s Laugh, Smile and Endless energy will be missed by everyone who had the honor of calling her our friend."

To help the injured West Valley Cycle riders with their medical bills, a GoFundMe page has been started.

The local police department took to social media to express their condolences, stating:  "The Goodyear Police department is deeply saddened by this tragedy and extends condolences to the loved ones of the victims as well as to the cycling community and the community as a whole."

Bicyclist fatalities in the U.S. are at a multi-decade high, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with on average nine people getting killed while riding their bikes every single week.

The early 2000s initially showed promise with a decline in bicyclist fatalities and a rise in both riders and bike specific infrastructure. Yet the number of fatalities has been rising since 2011. In the decade that followed, 8,353 people lost their lives while riding bikes, with nearly 1,000 of them in 2021 alone.

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Anne-Marije Rook
North American Editor

Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.

Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist. She's now been a cycling journalist for 11 years.