What started as a crowded memorial for a cyclist hit and killed by a truck in Chelsea turned into mayhem.
Friends of Robyn Hightman tell CBS2’s Matt Kozar she loved cycling and made extra money working as a bike courier. They say Monday was her second day starting a new job.
A memorial filled with flowers has been set up at the scene where she died.
Hightman is the 11th cyclist to die in New York City in 2019, which is why several dozen bikers went on a riding rampage Monday night, blocking streets and intersections.
One man’s car was damaged during the riding protest.
“One guy had a nightstick, looked like one of the police nightsticks, and he’s just beating on everybody’s cars. I confronted them, and they started fighting me,” he said.
Along Sixth Avenue where 20-year-old Robyn Hightman died, friends left candles and photos of a young woman passionate about cycling.
Dana Haberern says Hightman had just ridden her bike for three days from Richmond, Virginia, to her new home in New York City, where she was applying for nonprofit jobs.
“We both raced track bikes at the Village Zone and just yesterday, we were the only two women who showed up and raced bikes together, and we were toe-to-toe having so much fun,” Haberern said. “The last thing I said to her was, ‘Hey, I’ll see you in the street tomorrow.’”
Investigators say Hightman collided with a white truck Monday morning.
Driver Antonio Garcia told CBS2 he was not aware he had hit someone until a witness stopped him several blocks up.
“I’m driving no more than 20, no down to 15. I don’t see nothing … The passenger told me, ‘Somebody hit you in the back,’” Garcia said.
In a short film made recently by a friend, Hightman discussed her love of the sport and the dangers of working as a courier.
“In a split second, something could go wrong. I’ve been hit by cars. I’ve been assaulted on shift. I’ve been harassed in a whole manner of ways, but I feel safe being out there because I know I work hard. I know that I can stand up for myself, I can defend myself, but I know that if I can’t, that the people who are out there with me have my back,” Hightman said.
Garcia was not arrested, but he was issued several equipment violations for minor problems with his truck.