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(John Coons, 35, of Herriman, was killed Wednesday morning in Lehi when hit by a pickup truck while riding hisbicycle to work. Courtesy photo)
Pickup driver not at fault in Lehi crash that killed two bicyclists
Lehi » Truck collided with bicyclists in March; “we don’t anticipate filing charges,” police say.
First Published Apr 28 2014 10:29 pm • Last Updated Apr 28 2014 10:59 pm

A pickup driver apparently had the right of way when he struck two cyclists in a fatal crash last month in Lehi, witnesses reported.

However, police characterized the crash as "strange," with no apparent explanation for why two cyclists and the truck, all using headlights, collided March 12 at the intersection of Redwood Road and 2100 North.

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Lab results showed no impairing substances were in the blood of the 41-year-old Saratoga Springs man who was driving the northbound pickup truck that struck Bryan Byrge, 39, of Riverton, and John Coons, 35, of Herriman, who were riding south when they turned east onto 2100 North during an early morning commute to work, said Lehi police Lt. Darren Paul. Multiple witnesses reported the Ford F-150 driver had a green light to continue north through the intersection, where the truck collided with the bicycles, Paul said, responding to an appeal filed by The Tribune for access to the investigation results. Byrge and Coons died at the scene, and the pickup driver was injured by broken glass as his windshield shattered.

"At this point, we don’t anticipate filing charges," Paul said.

The pickup driver said he "did not see [the cyclists] until impact," Paul said — even though witnesses reported the truck’s headlights were on, and the bicycles were using head and taillights.

Investigators may never know why Byrge and Coons were in the truck’s path, why at least one of them didn’t notice the truck and hold back, or how, "of three people involved, nobody saw it coming," Paul said.

There is no indication the pickup driver or either cyclist was distracted or asleep, Paul said.

Paul said there also was no indication the traffic signal gave the cyclists a green arrow in conflict with the pickup’s green light. The signal is affixed with a "conflict monitor," which forces the intersection to a flashing red light if two directions ever signal green in conflict with each other, said Utah Department of Transportation spokesman John Gleason. UDOT records show the monitor passed inspection in 2012, and there were no complaints or work orders for the signal in the weeks surrounding the bike crash.

There remains one potential clue as to the events leading up to the crash: One of the cyclists was tracking the ride on a digital app, Paul said. The GPS data is being analyzed to determine the cyclists’ speed and whether they paused in the intersection before they were struck by the pickup, Paul said.

Friends of the two victims have said Byrge and Coons had a weekly tradition of cycling together to their jobs in Utah County — Byrge at Fishbowl Inventory in Provo and Coons at Hotdocs in Lindon, according to company websites. The two men were neighbors and longtime outdoor enthusiasts.


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ealberty@sltrib.com



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