One man was killed and a teenager injured in separate bike-car collisions this week in Spokane Valley.
“Bikes come out with the good weather,” said Spokane Valley police Officer Jesse DePriest. Bike-vehicle crashes “happen more often at the beginning of summer than in the end of it. People are more used to seeing them by the end.”
A 17-year-old bicyclist collided head-on Wednesday with a GMC Jimmy on East Wellesley Avenue, sending the girl to a hospital in critical condition.
Also Wednesday, a Spokane Valley man died of injuries he sustained Monday when the bike he was riding was struck by a car. The driver in that case, who police say failed a sobriety test, remains behind bars, facing charges in the fatal collision.
In Wednesday’s crash, the teen bicyclist was westbound in the bike lane on the south side of East Wellesley Avenue at North Best Road about 4:45 p.m. when she crashed into the SUV, said Sgt. Tom Thompson, of the Spokane Valley Police Department. Police said the biker was going the wrong direction for the lane she was in.
People who lived near the accident said the girl was not wearing a bike helmet, which is not required by law in Spokane Valley. They said the girl lay motionless in the road until paramedics arrived, and she was taken from the scene by ambulance. Police closed two blocks of Wellesley for several hours while they investigated the crash.
Kerry Whiten, who lives on North Best Road, said she was in her yard and saw the Jimmy doing U-turns on the road. Whiten was headed back inside when she heard a squeal and a crash. Then she saw the local girl, whom she knows as Sammy, lying on the ground.
Police did not identify the driver or bicyclist. The investigation continued Wednesday night, said Undersheriff Dave Wiyrick.
Steve Baker, who lives near the crash site, said the potential for accidents concerns him because of the combination of children in the area and drivers who disobey the 35 mph speed limit, which drops to 20 mph at nearby East Valley High School and Trentwood middle and elementary schools. “I’ve seen cars zipping through here at 50 (mph),” Baker said.
Police said they believe alcohol was a factor in Monday’s bike-car crash, and the car’s driver remained behind bars Wednesday.
Stuart Doney, 48, was riding his bike eastbound on Appleway Boulevard east of Park Road at 5:30 p.m. Monday when he was hit by an eastbound car. Doney was riding in the bike lane and was not wearing a helmet.
Police wrote in court documents that the car’s driver, Daniel O’Leary, 24, failed a sobriety test.
He was booked into jail on a count of vehicular assault. Wiyrick said it will be up to prosecutors to decide if the charge is upgraded to vehicular homicide. O’Leary told officers that he had two beers before the accident, according to court records.
Doney’s family gathered Wednesday and remembered the man they say was proud of his Indian heritage and was thoughtful and giving to his five sisters and seven brothers.
Doney, who was from the Little Shell Tribe in Montana, had no children, but acted as a second father to many of his nieces and nephews, said his sister-in-law Sheri Doney.
“He felt that his nieces and nephews were his children,” Sheri Doney said. “He was just a real special guy.”