Elite athlete killed in Maricopa collision

On 3/8/2011 mid-afternoon; Elite athlete Sally Meyerhoff was killed in a collision in (the town of) Maricopa, at the intersection of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway and White and Parker Road (“White and Parker” is one road). The intersection is not anywhere near 90 degrees; as can be seen in the google maps.

Meyerhoff graduated from Mountain Pointe High School in 2002.

Meyerhoff was “heading south and collided with a truck heading east, according to Maricopa police spokeswoman LaTricia Woods”. These directions imply that she failed to yield at the White and Parker Road stop sign; several sources are indeed reporting just that but we should wait for more official pronouncement.

The area is rural/country/hi-speed, speed limits along Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway must be is 50mph. This highway, is by the way, not ADOT.

[AZ Rep news article]

Here is Sally’s blog. RUN SAL run!

The Police Report

The report was obtained from the (city of) Maricopa Police Department; and there were no surprises.

Conclusion: It is my opinion that this collision was caused by Ms. Sally Meyerhoff. Evidence and witness statements show signs that she failed to stop at the posted stop sign and entered into the intersection in front of oncoming traffic.

The report was very thorough and of high quality. We’ll never know why Sally, an accomplished cyclist who was familiar with the area and rode there often, simply did not stop. Witnesses said that not only did she not stop, but did turn her head either direction — as though she had no sense of where she was. A witness who worked at the adjacent feed lot, and was positioned directly opposite Sally said:

…he did not see the person on the bicycle look either direction at the intersection did not stop and continued into the intersection… Mr. Uriarte stated he had seen the woman on her bicycle every afternoon riding south on White and Parker road for approximately 2 months.

Other facts:

The vehicle that Sally collided with was a heavy-duty 1 Ton pickup w/dual rear wheels. The driver passed field sobriety check, and was not suspected of being under the influence; he volunteered for a blood draw.

The intersection was in the process of being upgraded from stop signs for White-Parker Road to signals. The signals were already in place, but inoperative, and the stop signs remained. Had the victim been unfamilar with the intersection, we might speculate that they may have become confused by the inoperative signals.

SALLY, DRESSED IN HIGH VISIBILITY WARE…  AND THE HELMET WAS STILL ON HER HEAD.


The Arizona Republic ran a long story about Sally’s life on the cover of the sports section 12/4/2011. They devoted several paragraphs to a description of the fatal crash:

Yet the mystery remains as to why someone known to be cautious on her bike and at that specific intersection would take such a risk…

In the police reports, a witness and both passengers in Matteson’s truck say a semi truck went through the intersection just before the collision. Garcia and Anthony Urias, who were with Matteson, told police they were commenting on a large semi that passed them. Urias, in the front passenger seat, turned to look at the railroad tracks on the south side then a few seconds later Garcia shouted out his warning to Matteson.

Witness Jose Ricardo Uriarte of Maricopa, waiting in his truck on the south side of White and Park Road to make a right turn, told The Republic that he was focused on the semi after it went through the intersection because it was going fast, probably over the speed limit. Uriarte doesn’t know if the semi prevented Meyerhoff from seeing Matteson’s truck.

Perhaps Meyerhoff stopped at the stop sign, set back from the intersection, then began moving forward to time crossing the intersection after the semi passed in front of her going right to left and was unaware of Matteson’s vehicle.

Perhaps, but that would be at odds with what a couple of witnesses said to the police; for example, quoting from the police report “he (Uriarte) did not see the person on the bicycle look either direction at the intersection did not stop and continued into the intersection…”