Las Vegas Sun

May 25, 2024

5 bicyclists killed in highway crash are identified

5 Bicyclists Killed, Others Hurt In Crash Near Boulder City

Christopher DeVargas

An NHP trooper looks on at the scene of an accident on U.S. 95 near mile marker 35 that left five bicyclists dead and others injured, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020.

Updated Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 | 8:04 p.m.

5 Bicyclists Killed, Others Hurt In Crash Near Boulder City

Michael Anderson, a newly retired Metro Police officer, takes a moment while describing the horrific accident that took place on U.S. 95 southbound near mile marker 35, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. 5 bicyclists were confirmed dead and others injured during the crash. Launch slideshow »

A tight-knit bicycling community in Southern Nevada continues to mourn the loss of five of its members in a devastating crash Thursday morning on U.S. 95 near Searchlight. 

The fatal victims are being remembered as avid bicycle enthusiasts and serious riders, memorialized on social media posts and identified by officials and in a GoFundMe campaign that had raised about $30,000 in the first five hours after it went live Friday. 

The cyclists killed, all Las Vegas residents, were Erin Michelle Ray, 39; Gerrard Suarez Nieva, 41; Michael Todd Murray, 57; Aksoy Ahmet, 48, and Thomas Chamberlain Trauger, 57, the Clark County Coroner’s Office said.

Their deaths, due to injuries from the crash, were classified as accidents. “We extend our sincere condolences to all their friends and families and share their grief over this tragic accident,” a Clark County spokesman wrote in a statement. 

Michael Anderson, a freshly retired Metro Police officer, organized the fundraiser.

“Their families mourn their deaths and we're just hoping to ease some of the financial strain for them,” wrote Anderson, who survived the crash, reported about 9:40 a.m. on mile marker 36, south of Boulder City. “No amount is too small.”

The Nevada Highway Patrol, which hadn’t unveiled additional details Friday, said the cyclists were traveling in a group, including a safety car, when a box truck plowed into them.

The Subaru hatchback traveling with the group — which took off from a Henderson resort and was to complete the “Nipton Loop” that would take them to Nipton, Calif., before turning back home on Interstate 15 — was in the right lane of the two-lane highway with a speed limit of 75 mph when the crash happened, the patrol said. 

The box truck first struck bicyclists traveling behind the car, and then the car, which then hit other cyclists who were in front, the patrol said. 

The patrol said Friday night that the probe remained in its preliminary stages, stressing that a cause hadn't been established, but reiterating that impairment was not suspected. The driver was said to be collaborating with investigators.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board announced it was assisting in the investigation, though it noted that it wasn't sending investigators to the scene "at this time." 

Shortly after the crash, Anderson told reporters that before impact, the group of 18 — which was on the 15th iteration of the yearly trip — said seven riders, all who were hit, were pedaling behind the safety car to be shielded from strong winds. 

Anderson said a cyclist, who was flown to University Medical Center in critical condition, remained alive Friday. Another rider only suffered broken bones, he wrote on the fundraiser site.

More is expected to be learned from the victims in the coming days as friends continue to organize a drive-thru memorial from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Las Vegas Cyclery, 10575 Discovery Drive. A 3 p.m. vigil from there will be streamed on Save Red Rock’s Facebook page, according to organizers.