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UPDATE: Friends Mourn Death of Bicyclist

By: Liz Palka; Carlos Vergara Email
By: Liz Palka; Carlos Vergara Email

April 20, 2010

People who knew Matt King said he had a profound impact on the people around him.

King, 23, was killed Monday morning after a Charlottesville public works truck hit him as he was crossing the intersection of Fourth and West Main streets on his bike.

People who work at the Haven homeless shelter said they are still trying to grasp the fact that King, originally from Summerville, S.C., was inside Monday morning before his accident, just as he was every Monday.

Friends say religion and church were very important to King. He was volunteering at the shelter with his church, All Souls Charlottesville.

"So he got on his bike at our back door, and a few blocks later got in that accident," said April Muniz, shift supervisor at the Haven. "So I think it's shocking to us knowing that we were the last people to see him."

Winn Collier, the pastor of All Souls Charlottesville, said he's known King for the last five years -- both when he was an undergraduate at Clemson University and as a graduate student at the University of Virginia.

Collier said King was involved in many activities in the Charlottesville and UVa communities.

"It's always hard to wrap your mind around it and know why this would happen, [it's[ obviously a hard thing," Collier said.

He said King was always biking and a strong athlete.

"Whenever he was moving, he was always moving pretty fast," Collier said. "I don't know that he was always full of caution, but he was always a good cyclist."

Family and friends are full of sadness, but comfort, as well.

"While this is incredibly tragic, Matt would be the first one to say there is still hope," Collier said.

Collier said Charlottesville can learn to create more bike lanes and look at the West Main Street area following this accident.

All Souls Charlottesville, along with a campus ministry group, will hold a memorial service for him Thursday at 7p.m. at the Baptist Student Center on UVa's grounds.

Members of the Charlottesville community will also hold a vigil for King on Friday at 5 p.m. in front of West Main the Restaurant.

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Original Story:

April 19, 2010

Late Monday night, a friend of the man killed in a bicycling accident with a Charlottesville public works utility truck came forward. He said Matt King was his friend, as he showed us a picture of the man he added was a terrific athlete.

King, still not confirmed by authorities to be the name of the man killed Monday morning at the intersection of Fourth and West Main streets, was a University of Virginia graduate student studying mathematics.

It happened shortly after 9 a.m. when King rode his bicycle off the sidewalk and onto Fourth Street along West Main street, and according to one witness, in front of the truck making a turn.

Garret Derrett says he saw the whole thing happen. He quickly ran over only to see King laying under the truck, and in pain.

Derrett says the driver of the truck did nothing wrong, adding that there was not much more, other than stopping, that the unidentified driver could have done to avoid striking King.

Derrett says the pair spoke briefly, and told him his name was Matt. Derrett admits he was shaken, as he held Kings hand trying to console him as he lay under the truck.

King was later taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The exact cause of death is still unknown.

Meantime, back at the scene of the accident, the beginnings of a make-shift memorial, as someone has left an all white bicycle chained to a street sign. A sign on the bicycle hangs with the date 4/19/10.

Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris says he will turn to the newly established bicycle safety committee for answers as to how to keep this type of thing from happening again.

The driver has not been charged with any wrong-doing. Police say their investigation is still open.

A vigil is planned for King at 5 p.m. Friday at the corner of Fourth and West Main streets.


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