Commuter cyclist killed in Tempe

[UPDATE: Oct 14, see Investigation, below]

According to item at, and thread at… Bike commuter Jay Fretz was killed in a a collision at the intersection of Alamenda and McClintock Drive in Tempe at approximately 6:30p Monday 5/17/2010. Police say the driver on McClintock ran the red light and hit and killed the bicyclist as he was crossing through the intersection.

The story has not received any media coverage at the time (strange?).  abc15 ran a piece 10 days after the crash that said “Investigators said he was hit by a car as he rode through a crosswalk at McClintock and Alameda drives”.

This tragedy comes just one week after an ASU student was killed in another Tempe collision.

2010 Arizona cyclist fatality grid

The folks from T.B.A.G. have erected a ghost bike to commemorate the spot where Jay was killed.

“But there is more to the story, punctuated with lousy timing and heart-wrenching misfortune…” read more.

The investigation

On Oct 14, 2010 the Arizona Republic is reporting the outcome of Tempe Police investigation. The short answer is that because there were some conflict in witness statements regarding the color of the signal, police didn’t want to go forward on the red-light running charge, which would have precipitated a 28-672 misdemeanor criminal charge. Presumably she agreed to plea responsible to speeding in exchange for not perusing those charges.

I would like to read the DR because it seems odd that there were only 3 independent witnesses at that busy intersection at rush hour.

This is a bit slow (almost 5 months?!) for this sort of investigation.

This is ADOT incident 2372765 and FARS case 40264


Not One More Foundation Announces to all Arizona Cycling Teams, Clubs, Community and Friends a special Fundraising Ride to “Link the Lake” for Jay Fretz. Sat Dec 4th… see more on the arizona brumby’s site.

News story about Fretz and Volpe’s ghost bikes, and City of Tempe’s policy on roadside memorials

19 thoughts on “Commuter cyclist killed in Tempe”

  1. A ghost bike will be installed at the intersection on Saturday, May 29. Time TBA.

    The ghost bike will be constructed during Bike Art nights at the Bike Saviours bicycle co-op, located at University and Roosevelt. Bike Art nights are Thursdays from 6-9 pm.

    Thank you for helping to spread the word. We learned there was brief mention on KJZZ, but haven’t found any other media coverage of this second tragedy.

  2. This is Jay’s brother. I am glad to see someone is reporting on my brother’s death, and want to thank you on behalf of his family. I would like to participate in the ghost bike construction, as well as possibly use it at his memorial service the following day. Please let me know the best way to contact you.

  3. I have spent most of my life on a bicycle. I do not have DUI’s, I just found out early that I could live without a car and for many years I did so. I now ride a motorcycle.

    I have ridden the STP plus STP double four times. I have ridden six or more rides of over 800 miles. I have ridden across the USA twice, once unsupported and alone.

    Some people simply do not respect the safety of the bicyclist. Short of carrying guns (not my recommendation), I do not know how to change this. I have had people slow down and follow me for five seconds to allow me to pass a narrow area but these are exceptional drivers who drive well ahead of themselves.

    In the current society of Cell Phones, Text, and loud music, there is little room for the alert, thoughtful drivers that we all should be. We can all choose to be better drivers. We just cannot choose for others to do the same.

    Our Cities and States need to be held accountable. Wrongful death instances should result in Law Suites.

    I am an Engineer, not a Lawyer.

    Jim Miner

  4. Hi, Kevin. I was just reading about your brother online.

    What a great guy! I am so sorry for your loss, and I know your pain. My 40 year old husband and father of our 2 kids was hit and killed while cycling by a driver who had taken sleeping pills. I am gonna try and come to the ghost bike installation on the 29th.

    Thinking of you and wishing you peace…

  5. Thanks Kim, I really appreciate the note and would welcome your support at the installation. I am sorry to hear of your similar tragedy; I am finding it happens all too frequently and often without the recognition it deserves. Kevin

  6. The installation was just completed, and hopefully will be a stark reminder for the thousands of drivers and riders who will pass it every day. Heartfelt thanks to Rebecca and the wonderful group from Bike Saviours who helped organize the construction and installation. Jay’s death did finally receive some press on ABC15 and AZCentral, and we’ll continue to spread the message. Kevin

  7. So sorry I missed it. I was looking for the time to be posted. Did I miss that? Thinking of Jay and all his friends and family…

  8. Hi Kevin, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I live in the neighborhood where the accident happened. We drove by just after the accident, as they were working on your brother. Since there was no news coverage, I never knew what had happened, who was he, was he ok, did he have family? And on and on. When I saw the ghostbike memorial this afternoon my heart sank. Although the memorial confirmed what I had feared the outcome would be, I have to say it is a very cool memorial. Again, I’m sorry for your loss and I will continue to pray for you and your family.

  9. Hi Kevin,

    My older brother’s name is Kevin as well 🙂 Well, there was some hesitation to post this but it is only right. I was there the day of the accident and witnessed everything. It was the most devastating thing I have seen and I quickly called for help. While I won’t go into detail out of respect for you and your family, I can say that in all honesty this accident should have never happened. It was completely preventable and the City as well as others need to raise awareness. After the accident I was frantic in looking for any information regarding the accident and if the bicyclist which I now know is Jay was ok. I got a call from a detective last week and while he didn’t give me a direct answer, I knew Jay was not alright. I drove past the site of the accident last night because I live so close by and I saw the ghost bike. I am truly sorry for you and your family’s lost. There are no words that can do any justice. I am more than willing to do my part and work with Tempe Police Dept. If you would like more information I would be happy to email you. You and your family are in my prayers.

  10. I am so sorry this happened; and my heart goes out to the entire Fretz family and friends in this time of mourning and loss. I am a bike commuter also, and this hit me hard. I live about a mile east of the accident site. I used to take Alameda to work all the time. people drive way too fast along that stretch of McClintock. if it is any consolation, I found a link to Jay’s energy saving site and am using his recommendations in making my home more energy-efficient. that way some of his good work will do some more good, for the planet and our family, anyhow.

  11. This is Jay’s wife. I have been avoiding the blogs, etc. because it has been so devastating. Bridgett, if you would be willing to give me some contact information for you as I have also met another witness who was on a bicycle right in front of my husband, I would be so grateful. I thank all those who do and do not know us and our family for your outpouring of support. Jay was a wonderful husband and dad to our 5 year old daughter and will be greatly missed. Angie Fretz

  12. I’m an avid biker, and ride through that same intersection several times a week. The evening that Jay was hit, my wife and I were driving our car by there and saw his bike in the street.

    For a week after the accident, I tried in vain to learn anything about the accident, but could find no information. Nothing on the City of Tempe web site, Arizona Republic, or the East Valley Tribune. Too bad.

    The Ghost Bike memorial on the northeast corner of Alameda and McClintock will be a sober reminder to the unfortunate risks we face as bikers.

    My condolences to Jay’s family. I’m sure we passed each other on our bikes…I would have liked to have met him.


  13. hi folks. First off, my deepest condolences to Angie and the rest of the Fretz family. I was cycling just an hour or so ago up that stretch of road and seeing the white ghostbike and felt compelled to see what it was. even though i live on the SW corner of southern/mcclintock, i never heard of the accident and the story of Jay. Admittedly, straddling my bike and seeing the memorial sent a chill up my spine. I feel a bond and connection for *anyone* who takes to these streets on 2 pedaled wheels. It especially hits hard when it’s a 20 ft stretch of pavement that i myself have ridden past hundreds of times.

    I don’t hate all the actions of drivers and i don’t love all the actions of cyclists, but the bottom line is we on bikes are mostly at the mercy of things out of our control. My head is on a swivel as soon as i pass the bus stop, past basha’s, past the high school, past the partment complex, all the way to broadway. That particular corner is very suspect to drivers getting the nose of their cars in the crosswalks simply because they can’t see through those block fences around the houses along the street.

    I don’t know any of the investigation details myself, but
    for the sake of the Fretz’ and the cyclist that will continue on these very same roads, that justice, peace and closure will go where it belongs.

    Jay and family have a message and a cause that could benefit us all. I checked his blog at I hope that it will get picked up and carried on as well.

    Stay safe, stay alive brothers and sisters on the road.

  14. First and foremost, I am so sorry about Jay’s death. My deepest sympathies to the family.

    I also live a mile east of the intersection and have used the Alameda bicycle path for many years particularly when I was riding to and from work, and for trips to ASU. What happened to the driver? Were there any citations? The Tempe news media need to provide information. Most of the accidents that I have seen between vehicle and cyclists are the fault of the drivers. It’s an outrage to see that the drivers are rarely prosecuted.


  15. All – thanks for the continued postings and interest. Russ, thanks…a great note and very well said. Carolyn, the Tempe PD investigation is just now complete and we will pursue all options afforded us under the law. ABC 15 carried a brief piece on Jay’s accident @; and AZCentral weaved his story onto Chris Volpe’s accident reported a week prior @ If you are also engaged in such a noble cause and bike commuting out there every day in pursuit of a sustainable society…do as Russ said and keep your head on a swivel. Trust no one else on the road; I have preached this to my wife for years even before this happened.

  16. Fretz fatality is ADOT incident number 2372765

    Fatal collision at a signalled intersection. Both units were “going straight ahead”, the driver heading north and the cyclist heading east, and the
    CollisionManner FRONT_TO_SIDE indicates perpendicular-path collision. Driver has damage to the FRONT_MIDDLE. Driver is Most At Fault for “unknown”; cyclist fault is “unknown” (not helpful, but not unusual in fatal crash report).
    According to the adot data the cyclist was alcohol-involved and tested positive for marijuana
    [TODO: double-check FARS database for drug test results; the results in adot are sometimes applied to the wrong person by mistake]

    mysql> select * from pretty_incident WHERE IncidentID=2372765\G
    *************************** 1. row ***************************
                    IncidentID: 2372765
                    Microfilm: 19650245
              ADOTReceivedDate: 2010-07-27 00:00:00
                        Status: 200
              DataConv2008Flag: -1
                  IncidentDate: 2010-05-17 00:00:00
              IncidentDateTime: 2010-05-17 17:25:00
                  IncidentYear: 2010
                IncidentMonth: 5
            IncidentDayOfWeek: 2
                  IncidentHour: 17
                  OfficerNcic: 729
                    OfficerId: 20048
                    FileNumber: 10078719
                  ExtendedNcic: 729
          DamageOverLimitFlag: 1
              PhotosTakenFlag: 1
              PhotographerName: J CYNOWA
                PhotographerID: 15781
            PhotographerAgency: TEMPE PD
          InvestigatedAtScene: 1
          DateTimeInvestigated: 2010-05-17 17:00:00
              CollisionManner: ANGLE_FRONT_TO_SIDE
                LightCondition: DAYLIGHT
            FirstHarmfulEvent: PEDALCYCLE
          FirstHarmfulLocation: ON_ROADWAY
                    TotalUnits: 2
                TotalMotorists: 1
            TotalNonMotorists: 1
                TotalInjuries: 0
              TotalFatalities: 1
        TotalMotoristInjuries: 0
      TotalNonMotoristInjuries: 0
      TotalMotoristFatalities: 0
    TotalNonMotoristFatalities: 1
                InjurySeverity: 5
          MedicalTransportFlag: 1
            FatalAccidentFlag: 1
                  TowAwayFlag: 1
                NscReportable: FATALS_INJURIES_OR_PROPERTY_DAMAGE_OVER_1000
          SchoolBusRelatedFlag: 0
          WorkZoneRelatedFlag: 0
            WorkersPresentFlag: -1
        AlcoholInvolvementFlag: Not Available
          DrugInvolvementFlag: Not Available
                HazardousFlag: 0
                HitAndRunFlag: 0
                        OnRoad: McClintock Dr                  
              CrossingFeature: Alameda Dr                      
                        Offset: 0
            OffsetMeasuredFlag: 0
                    OffsetUnit: 1
                        MPNum: 0
                      MPOffset: 0
                        CityId: 295
                      CountyId: 13
                      StateId: 3
                    StateCode: AZ
                  CountryCode: US
                      Latitude: 33.4001441634525
                    Longitude: -111.909132082341
            ValidLocationFlag: 1
          HESIntersectionFlag: 1
              IntersectionFlag: 1
          IntersectionRouteID: 12387
          IntersectionATISCode: 07  ALAMEDA            DR      
              IntersectionType: FOUR_WAY_INTERSECTION
              JunctionRelation: INTERSECTION_NON_INTERCHANGE
                      Weather: CLEAR
      PropertyDamageOwnerCode: NOT_APPLICABLE_MINUS_1
        PropertyDamageDescCode: -1
    mysql> select * from pretty_unit WHERE IncidentID=2372765\G
    *************************** 1. row ***************************
          IncidentID: 2372765
              UnitID: 2942730
          UnitNumber: 2
            UnitType: PEDALCYCLIST
      TravelDirection: EAST
        RoadAlignment: STRAIGHT
            RoadGrade: LEVEL
                Lane: LANE_1
          UnitAction: GOING_STRAIGHT_AHEAD
        HitAndRunFlag: 0
    VehicleStateCode: --
              RegYear: 1900
        BodyStyleDesc: No Data
            MakeDesc: No Data
            ColorDesc: No Data
              BusFlag: -1
            GVWRFlag: -1
          HazmatFlag: -1
          PostedSpeed: 0
      EstimatedSpeed: 0
        DisabledFlag: -1
          DamageArea: UNDEFINED_MINUS_1
          DefectDesc1: No Data
      EventSequence2: BLANK_0
      EventSequence3: BLANK_0
      EventSequence4: BLANK_0
          ControlType: TRAFFIC_CONTROL_SIGNAL
    SurfaceCondition1: DRY
    SurfaceCondition2: BLANK_0
    *************************** 2. row ***************************
          IncidentID: 2372765
              UnitID: 3126722
          UnitNumber: 1
            UnitType: DRIVER
      TravelDirection: NORTH
        RoadAlignment: STRAIGHT
            RoadGrade: LEVEL
                Lane: LANE_1
          UnitAction: GOING_STRAIGHT_AHEAD
    MostHarmfulEvent: PEDALCYCLE
        HitAndRunFlag: 0
    VehicleStateCode: AZ
              RegYear: 1999
        BodyStyleDesc: PASSENGER_4DSD_SEDAN_4_DR
            MakeDesc: TOYT_TOYOTA
            ColorDesc: GLD_GOLD
              BusFlag: 0
            GVWRFlag: 0
          HazmatFlag: 0
          PostedSpeed: 35
      EstimatedSpeed: 32
        DisabledFlag: 0
          DamageArea: FRONT_MIDDLE
      EventSequence1: PEDALCYCLE
      EventSequence2: BLANK_0
      EventSequence3: BLANK_0
      EventSequence4: BLANK_0
          ControlType: TRAFFIC_CONTROL_SIGNAL
    SurfaceCondition1: DRY
    SurfaceCondition2: BLANK_0
    mysql> select * from pretty_person WHERE IncidentID=2372765\G
    *************************** 1. row ***************************
            IncidentID: 2372765
                UnitID: 3126722
            UnitNumber: 1
              PersonID: 6577657
          PersonNumber: 1
            PersonType: DRIVER
                ZipCode: 850446194
                    Age: 20
                    Sex: F
          SeatPosition: 11
          SafetyDevice: SHOULDER_AND_LAP_BELT
                Airbag: NOT_DEPLOYED
          InjuryStatus: NO_INJURY
              Ejection: NOT_EJECTED
            Extraction: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
    NonMotoristLocation: NON_APPLICABLE_0
        AlcoholUseFlag: -1
              BACResult: -1
              TestTypeA: MINUS_1
            DrugUseFlag: -1
              TestTypeD: -1
        TransportSource: MINUS_1
          TransportedTo: No Data
            InjuryArea: -1
            InjuryDesc: -1
            Violation1: UNKNOWN_99
            Violation2: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
    *************************** 2. row ***************************
            IncidentID: 2372765
                UnitID: 2942730
            UnitNumber: 2
              PersonID: 6578318
          PersonNumber: 1
            PersonType: PEDALCYCLIST
                ZipCode: 852827353
                    Age: 36
                    Sex: M
          SeatPosition: 11
          SafetyDevice: NONE_USED
                Airbag: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
          InjuryStatus: FATAL
              Ejection: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
            Extraction: NOT_APPLICABLE_0
    NonMotoristLocation: NON_APPLICABLE_0
        AlcoholUseFlag: 1 This, like many MV-bike fatals seems to be incorrect
    noone seems to know why??
              BACResult: 0
              TestTypeA: BLOOD_TEST
            DrugUseFlag: 1
              DrugType: MARIJUANA
              TestTypeD: 101
        TransportSource: EMS
          TransportedTo: MED0235
            InjuryArea: 99
            InjuryDesc: 99
            Violation1: UNKNOWN_99
            Violation2: NOT_APPLICABLE_0 

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