Monday, November 09, 2009

One Year Ago: Camille Savoy was Struck by a Driver

Today it is November 9, 2009, exactly one year since Camille Savoy was struck by an automobile on Route 9W near Alpine, NJ.

t was a clear day--a Sunday to be exact, wet leaves were on the ground.

But the sun was shining and visibility was excellent. As Savoy came close to passing the turnoff to Indian Head, a private road, Wha S. Kim 72, of Englewood, NJ, wandered over the fog line into the shoulder by one and a half feet and struck him with such force, Savoy's bike was broken in two.

His head also was broken, injuries that he never survived:  on November 26, 2008, Savoy died from complications related to severe head injuries. It was a Thanksgiving that his friends and family would never forget for the rest of their lives.

In many cases there is no justice for cyclists, because they are not capable of testifying about the exact circumstances of the accident because they are either too injured--or dead.

The police incident report stated, "Cyclist was unable to give statement."  Kim was acquitted of careless driving this year, despite conclusive testimony by the Bergen County Prosecutor's office showing that she had broken the law, and wandered into the shoulder. 

Kim wasn't even required to speak for herself in court--her self-saving statement given the day of the accident was enough for Judge Robert Ritter to let her walk away.

Savoy's friends and family were devastated the day he died, and attended the December 7 memorial held for him by over 100 cyclists who rode through snowfall on a freezing day from Fort Lee, NJ, to the spot where he was struck.

Today, we publish a statement from one of Savoy's good friends, Jeannette Newman who was there on December 7.

As the anniversary of Camille's fatal accident approaches (November 9), many of us will struggle to hold onto all the positive memories that we have of him, and not become overwhelmed with sorrow and anger.

Camille brought great joy to my life, for that I am very grateful. I periodically look at your blog and continue to appreciate your voice. You were a source of information during a very devastating time and I appreciate your continued efforts to speak out for those, like Camille, who love cycling.

Every time I pass a cyclist (much more carefully now) in my car, I think of the senselessness of his death.
And thankfully, especially when I laugh heartily, I think of him more often in life - his great humor, his generosity, his integrity. He continues to occupy a very special and large place in the hearts of many of us who knew him. I am touched that even many who didn't know him leave flowers and trees and messages at the ghost bike dedicated to him. He is a part of the good that is in all of us.

Thank you Jeannette.


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