Created by a former Las Vegas police officer, GoFundMe has identified five cyclists killed when a box truck collided with a group of about 20 riders near Searchlight.
They are Irene Rae, Gerard Niva, Michael Murray, Aksoy Ahmed and Tom Trauger, according to a fundraising campaign set up by Michael Anderson, who was part of the unofficial tour.
Four others – one of them critically – were injured in a crash on Interstate 95 heading south near Nelson Road. Anderson identified the seriously injured cyclist as Jerome Ducrock, who authorities said had been flown to the University Medical Center. According to the GoFundMe campaign, which has been created, Ducrocq is “alive”.
The Nevada Highway Patrol, which is leading the investigation of the accident, has not released the name of the box truck driver, who was not suspected of having a disability and was cooperating with investigators at the scene.
“My office works with NHP investigators and will continue to do so throughout the investigation,” Clark County Attorney General Steve Wolfson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. At this time, the matter is still under investigation. “
Authorities said that for unknown reasons, shortly before 9:40 a.m., a box truck struck cyclists from the rear as they were walking down southern lanes of US 95 with a safe escort vehicle.
It was the worst vehicle-to-cyclist crash in Nevada since 2004, the first year for which case data on such accidents are available.
According to Anderson, the group set off from M Resort in Henderson to complete the nearly 130-mile Nipton Loop – just as they have done every year for the past fifteen years.
But as the group approached Searchlight, an unincorporated town about 50 miles south of Las Vegas, the winds began to rise. That’s when about seven cyclists separated from the larger group of cyclists, sliding behind their safe concealed-carry companion cart. Anderson remained with the larger group.
When the accident occurred, the box truck pegged these cyclists against the safety escort vehicle, which was pushed forward towards the other cyclists after the initial collision.
The death of the five cyclists who did not survive the accident was announced at the scene.
In addition to Ducroc, a seriously injured cyclist, authorities said another cyclist – identified in Anderson’s GoFundMe campaign as Jose Vasquez – was taken to hospital by ambulance, while a third with minor injuries refused to go to the hospital.
According to Anderson, Vasquez was treated for several bone fractures.
If the avalanche did not occur, the group would continue from Searchlight to Nipton and Jean before returning toward the M Resort along Interstate 15.
Anderson, who spoke to a group of reporters about 12 miles from where his friends had died, did not mention any special circumstances surrounding the group’s ride this year.
But Leilani Gonzalez, a manager at Pro Cyclery, a local bike store, told Review-Journal that the group was on an informal trip to celebrate the retirement of a cyclist.