The Yuma Sun: Citations issued in cyclist’s death
September 13, 2010 4:35 PM
BY JAMES GILBERT – SUN STAFF WRITER
After almost a year, citations have been filed in the death of 37-year-old Doug Flynn, who was struck and killed while riding with a group of other cyclists in Somerton.
Yvette Garcia, the driver of the vehicle that struck Flynn, has been charged with two civil traffic violations: speed greater than reasonable and prudent and failure to pass safely on the left, according to Somerton Police Lt. Michelle Magana.
“We as cyclists want to see the laws applied fairly and evenly to everyone, particularly when there are injuries or fatalities,” said Ed Beighe, an avid cyclist who also tracks bicycle statistics.
Beighe said he has been in contact with the Somerton Police Department since the accident because he wanted to stay informed about how the case is progressing.
Garcia, 26, was originally scheduled to appear in Somerton Municipal Court on Sept. 9, but that hearing has been postponed until Sept. 27.
Flynn was riding with a group of other cyclists in Somerton on Sept. 24, 2009, when he was struck and killed in the 300 block of East Madison Street as he and other cyclists were nearing Somerton. An avid cyclist, Flynn was president of the Yuma Bike Club and had been employed by the Yuma Sun since 2002, most recently as its creative services manager. His wife had just given birth to his third child the month before.
According to Somerton police, the collision happened at about 6:41 a.m. The vehicle that struck Flynn had tried to pass a tractor pulling farm equipment in a legal passing zone and reportedly struck Flynn and another cyclist. Two other cyclists were riding ahead of Flynn at the time.
One of those cyclists, Will Price, was also hit by the vehicle and injured in the collision but lived. He suffered a dislocated shoulder and received stitches for cuts on his arms and legs.
Flynn was pronounced dead at the scene.
The case was initially sent to the Yuma County Attorney’s Office in November 2009. The office declined to file any criminal charges, instead returning the case to Somerton police. The office asked the case be sent to the state crime lab to determine if the driver had any drugs in her system.
In February the Yuma County Attorney’s Office determined that no criminal charges would be filed, which ended the case with respect to criminal charges, but not civil traffic citations.
Beighe said at that point he expected Somerton police to review the case again to determine if any traffic laws had been broken and issue any applicable citations. But that didn’t happen.
In an e-mail Magana sent to Beighe explaining the delay, she wrote that the officer who was handling the case thought it was closed once the county attorney’s office declined to press any charges. A citation can be issued up to a year after an incident.