A 78-year-old driver crashed into an El Tour de Tucson bicyclist from behind in a designated bike lane late Saturday afternoon, killing him, authorities said.
The bicyclist, identified as 59-year-old John S. Henderson of Tucson, was riding properly in the El Tour bike lane, which was marked and enclosed by cones, said Department of Public Safety Officer Raul Molina.
Henderson was struck about 5:20 p.m. on the eastbound Interstate 10 frontage road near Sunset Road. He was riding solo at the time, Molina said.
Paramedics performed advanced life support on Henderson, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, said Northwest Fire District Capt. Adam Goldberg.
The driver of the Nissan Leaf, who was alone in the car, stayed at the scene. “Tucson Fire paramedics evaluated and transported the driver to a hospital for evaluation and treatment. The condition of the driver and the indications for the treatment and transport will be released by the Department of Public Safety when the investigation has been completed,” Goldberg said in a news release.
Investigators do not suspect drugs or alcohol had anything to do with the crash, said Molina.
Although skies were overcast, visibility was good, and it was not raining at the time, he said.
He said the car’s speed was “probably within the speed limit on the frontage road,” although the car should not have been in the bike lane.
El Tour founder and president Richard DeBernardis said late Saturday that he was “completely devastated” by Henderson’s death.
“The cyclist did everything right,” he said.
Saturday’s death is the second associated with the 31-ride history of El Tour. In 1996, bicyclist David vonKersburg, 28, was killed by a passing car on his way to the start of the race.
In 2008, a 91-year-old driver struck a group of 10 El Tour bicyclists when he turned left in front of the race on East Ina Road near Westward Look Resort, then left the scene. Five bicyclists were injured, including one who was left with a life-altering brain injury.