After a year without answers, family of cyclist killed by speeding driver offers reward
The family of a cyclist who was killed while biking on city streets nearly a year ago is now offering a $25,000 reward to find the person who struck him.
Rick Beard was an Army veteran and a safety-conscious cyclist who would stop to chastise other bikers who were not following the rules, said his younger sister, Elizabeth Beard Davis. He had just turned 54 on June 20, 2014 when he was hit by a car at the corner of Sarah St. and Cook Ave., just west of Grand Center.
All of the safety equipment in the world likely would not have protected Beard that night. Police believe the driver was going nearly three times the posted speed limit, and Davis said pieces of her brother’s bike were scattered for nearly a block.
Officers found the vehicle abandoned near the scene, but the owner refused to answer any questions, and no charges were ever filed. Davis said she hopes the family’s reward, along with an additional $5,000 from CrimeStoppers, will convince witnesses to tell police what they know.
“To allow this individual to remain on the streets only hurts this community, and it puts other lives at risk,” Davis said.
Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said Beard’s death caught her attention when it happened because her husband is also an avid cyclist. She said the silence of witnesses to Beard’s death is similar to the challenges she faces in prosecuting most of the homicides in the city.
“In my mind, this is a homicide,” Joyce said. “I can prove what car hit him, but I can’t prove who was driving that car. But I know for a fact that witnesses are out there who know who was driving that car. If they would come forward, I could move forward, and we could get some justice for the Beard family and for our community.”
Beard was the only cyclist killed on the city’s roads in 2014. The same day the Beard family announced the reward, the city tallied its first cyclist fatality of 2015. Police said 21-year-old Timothy Canada swerved into the westbound lanes of Page Avenue near Euclid on Wednesday morning and struck the mirror of a vehicle traveling west. Canada was thrown from the bike and died of his injuries around 5:30 a.m. A second vehicle ran over his bike.
Police said both drivers remained on scene, and the investigation was ongoing.
Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann