An outing for a bicycling group from Santa Fe, New Mexico, turned tragic Thursday when a roofing-company truck struck five riders, killing two and injuring three on Tucson’s northwest side.
Clare Rhodes, 72, was pronounced dead at the scene. Kenneth Vieira, 68, died later at Banner-University Medical Center, said Deputy Ryan Inglett, a Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokesman.
One cyclist remains in critical condition and two others have been treated and released.
The driver, Brian Lynch, 28, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, two counts of manslaughter, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of aggravated assault with serious injury, and criminal damage, Inglett said.
Most of the bicyclists were members of Santa Fe Seniors on Bikes from New Mexico, David Gunter, a Santa Fe cyclist, said in an interview Thursday night.
A posting on the group's website said one of the group's riders died in the crash and one was in critical condition. The post also said the other rider killed in the crash was from Tucson.
A group of 10 cyclists were southbound on North La Cañada Drive and had stopped for a red light at West Hardy/Overton Road, said Inglett.
A pickup truck that belonged to Scott Roofing Co. was also headed south and struck five cyclists at about 12:30 p.m., Inglett said.
All the bicyclists were in the bike lane when they were struck, he said.
Gunter, a cyclist with Santa Fe Road Riders, said members of Santa Fe Seniors on Bikes “planned to visit Tucson. Most of the riders are retired and travel to warmer places to ride in the winter months.”
The news of the crash and deaths is spreading among the Santa Fe bike community and it is “hitting people pretty hard,” said Gunter. The bicycle club is for riders age 50 and older.
Scott Roofing, which operates in Tucson and Phoenix, issued a statement late Thursday: “Our prayers are with the families of all those involved in today’s heartbreaking loss. Scott Roofing Company joins with the entire Tucson community in mourning the loss of those who were killed and injured. We are cooperating fully with law enforcement authorities as they continue to investigate today’s tragedy.”