Archive for Sunday, October 18, 2009

Police continue investigation of bicyclist’s death

October 18, 2009


Lawrence police have not issued a description of a driver or vehicle involved in the early Friday morning apparent hit-and-run death of 20-year-old Lawrence woman Rachel Leek.

A press release police issued Friday said Leek “was found just off the roadway and appeared to have been struck by a passing vehicle as she was riding her bicycle in the 1000 block of Tennessee.”

Police said Leek was transported by air ambulance with serious, life-threatening injuries to Stormont-Vail hospital in Topeka, where she later died.

Emergency crews responded to the scene after a 2:20 a.m. call to Douglas County emergency dispatchers. Police Sgt. Susan Hadl said a resident in the area had heard a noise and had gone outside to investigate when he or she found Leek unconscious near the curb on the east side of the street. Leek’s bicycle was nearby.

Another press release issued by Lawrence police later on Friday said the investigation was ongoing and that no other details were available.

Hadl asked anyone with information regarding the incident to call Lawrence police or leave an anonymous message on the Crimestoppers TIPS hot line at 843-TIPS (8477).

Leek was an employee at Wheatfield’s Bakery in downtown Lawrence.


Boston_Corbett 8 years, 5 months ago

Last night in north Lawrence a bicycle zipped through an intersection just in front of lights, no white clothing, one tiny reflector on the back wheel.

While he was 40-50 feet in front of me when it did so, I was going 30 mph. And I did not see him until he was directly in front of me.

Please folks, be careful out there.

Ward 8 years, 5 months ago

I see cars almost daily without their lights on at night, rolling through stop signs, and drivers texting or otherwise distracted by their cell phones.

Everyone is at fault some of the time.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 5 months ago

so, LJWorld writes an article with no new information to tell us there is no new information, I read it, and got no new information. the comments contain no new information, just a very tired repetition of applying one personal agenda to a deeply sad situation. as I type, I am adding no new information.

no new information: NNI.

could add that to: LOL, FTW, FGS, etc.

LJWorld, you've spilled uncounted trillions of electrons to bring us NNI here.

  1. is there transfer paint on Ms. Leek's bike?
  2. were any pieces of debris recovered at the site possibly connected to the 'apparent' hit and run vehicle.
  3. has LPD checked for other DUI drivers or drivers who have history of hit-and-run and what they were doing at that time?
  4. anybody know the whereabouts of Jakie Deckert at the time of that accident?
  5. LJWorld, can't you do some investigating yourself instead of waiting for LPD to put your food pellet out for you when you push the rat response button?

Ms. Leek's family, God grant you peace strength and support during this suddenly tragic time.

redneck 8 years, 5 months ago

I would be afraid to ride a bike. I used to trust drivers, but I don't trust them anymore. I have a seen a cop almost get nailed at an intersection, even though all other traffic was stopped and the officer had his lights blairing. The vehicle just zipped through the intersection, and kept on going. People just don't pay attention anymore. I cannot say that I have never been guilty of not paying attention, but I do try to be careful as much as possible. They say speed kills, but I have to disagree with that. It's usually people who don't have good driving skills, or they are just not paying attention.

Pete Kennamore 8 years, 5 months ago

Cyclist certainly have the legal right to share the road with automobiles. But you can't deny simple physics; bicycle vs. car, cyclist dies. The shear number of autos and cycles on the road insures that from time to time, there will be fatalities. It's a risk decision the cyclist makes when pulling onto the road.


yourworstnightmare 8 years, 5 months ago

The fact is, riding a bicycle in Lawrence is dangerous. At best, drivers do not watch out for cyclists and at worst, some drivers intentionally harass them.

It should not be like this, but it is. Cyclists must take responsibility for their own safety and not assume that drivers are.

Lawrence streets are designed for autos with very little consideration to cyclists. Kentucky and Tennessee are prime examples of streets built for fast through auto traffic.

Lawrencians might want to believe that Lawrence is a bicycle-friendly city like Madison, but the reality is that it is not.

BMI 8 years, 5 months ago

What? Gnome doesn't like getting a update saying they have no new information? Is it not Gnome that frequently asks for updates? Is this not an update?

Let's hang the reporters, and burn the building for not having exactly the information gnome wants. Information that isn't there.

They checked. No new information at this time. Thanks. Let us know what you find out next time. Glad you spilled the beans, and the uncounted trillions of electrons.


Shaun Hittle 8 years, 5 months ago

bearded_gnome, I know there are a lot of rumors out there about who did this and we have received info. from people, but at this point, none of it is info. we can confirm with police, and thus, not anything we can print. We have been diligently following up on this the past three days, but as of 5pm Sunday, the police have said that they have no new information to release. We will continue to provide any confirmed updates as they come in.

Shaun Hittle LJW Reporter

Richard Heckler 8 years, 5 months ago

bearded_gnome put forth some very interesting and legitimate questions regarding the cyclist situation..... some that have been going through my head and I am sure others.

If the LPD has information they must be sure what they have is correct. AND please make sure the case is air tight.

While I know all too well how difficult it is to see pedestrians and some cyclists at night hitting someone from behind on a bike still requires some gross negligence aka simply not paying attention.

Legitimately so other circumstances are also under the public suspecting microscope.

In order to help prevent another episode more lighting and an 8 ft wide "transportation" strip on one side of Kentucky and Tennessee would be appropriate from 6th to 19th. The heavy pedestrian and cycling activity in these areas easily justify the expenditure. The sidewalk space aka right of way is there. Lawrence,Kansas can afford to provide safe passage on existing right of way.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 5 months ago

Shaun, thanks for the note.

no, I sure don't expect you to report rumors

and yes, I appreciate it when ljworld follows up on its stories [^BMI lol] the entire point I was trying to make with some humor was: you wrote an article with no new information, the point of the article was there's no new information.

personally, I hope most sincerely that this gets solved quickly. seems likely that there's someone driving now we sure want off the road!

often ljworld doesn't 'update' its articles unless something new is there to report. honestly this article seemed a bit gratuitous.

KS 8 years, 5 months ago

Ward: I don't believe your post for a minute. Daily? What part of town do you live in that foks want to drive around with their lights off? Once in awhile, maybe, but daily?

suesay 8 years, 5 months ago

I think this article did a great job of clearing up the questions and thoughts that were brought up in the comments from yesterday's article.

-'what hospital was she transported to?' -'I heard that a suspect has turned themself in... True?' -Even a few posters yesterday were arguing that no one should speculate because we didn't even know if it was a hit and run. Someone suggested that maybe she was tired and fell asleep while riding her bike. (really?!?!)

If someone actually relied on reading the ARTICLE for the news an not the COMMENTS, they probably would appreciate today's update.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 5 months ago

JackRipper (Anonymous) says…"Boston your focus on the few bicyclist is bizarre..."

I didn't focus on anything except my experience last night with a single cyclist which made me think of this terrible tragedy. You can loose your attitude.

Brad Maestas 8 years, 5 months ago

I just heard about this today from a person that had just met Rachel the day before. Terrible news. We couldn't help but comment on the fact that it happened when people are still leaving the bars (or going to another party) but it doesn't matter what time it happened. Hit and runs disgust me. I hope they find this coward (or cowards).

christy kennedy 8 years, 5 months ago

Oh for god's sake, I believe Boston was just saying that he was startled to have a cyclist that close in front of him all of a sudden—without a light, at night—and was just asking everybody to be careful.

Whether on foot, on a bike, moped, or motorcycle, or in a car, some people (everywhere) do stupid and dangerous things. Obviously, those with a ton of metal around them have the highest responsibility to look out for others. Mere seconds of inattention can result in a tragedy like this.

Shaun Hittle 8 years, 5 months ago

suesay, In tonight's/tomorrow's update, we'll address the rumors someone has turned himself/herself in. We've heard them, but do not have anything official yet.

Thanks to the readers/commenters who have provided us information about this case, it's much appreciated and helps us fill in the gaps.

Shaun Hittle LJW Reporter

50YearResident 8 years, 5 months ago

I see most posters here are putting the fault on a car driven by a possible drunk driver. This is pure spectulation at this point. The Journal World coverage of this story is incomplete at best. There are facts available that should have been included in this article if it was necessary to write and publish the story. These facts had to be included in the accident report and available to the J/World. 1) Was the bike lighted and street legal to be on the road at 2:00 AM? 2) Was the bike damage consistant to a vehicle hitting it or was the damage caused by the bycycle hitting a stationary object? 3) Was there paint on the bike from an unidentified vechicle not found at the accident location? 4) Where was the victum returning home from at 2:00 AM?. These facts are important to determine who was at fault. If this information is not public information, it should be. It is the obligation of the reporter, the newspaper and the police department to list all the facts in each story. I am not blaming anyone until more information is provided. With all the facts the blame can be placed on the guilty party quicker. Someone has more information to give.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 5 months ago

boston, if Jackie dropped the attitude, he wouldn't have anything to say!

indeed, it seems there's more inattentive drivers, dangerous right-turn-on-red, blowing through red, etc. as a frequent pedestrian, I never assume that a driver sees me!

Merrill, we honestly don't know if she was hit from behind. that's one of many mysteries in this tragic death.

I'm not sure your solution would really fix the problem. a driver who would leave the scene if he/she knew of a person down, well that driver isn't going to respect painted lines in the road very much.

Shaun, I'm delighted you guys are working on this story and not just reporting what the pd says. don't get me wrong, I hold the pd in high esteem. however, I hope ljworld will do reporting beyond the lpd press release, too.

*most likely there's a driver out there who truly belongs behind bars, doing hard time. all of us, whether on a bike, walking, or driving, are endangered by this @$$.

mom_of_three 8 years, 5 months ago

I have seen cars blow through red lights, and I have seen cyclists as well. I have seen cars drive eratically and cyclists on my left in the middle of an intersection, out of nowhere on campus. Cyclists blowing through stop signs, cause I am stopped. Cars that roll through stop signs out of habit. I have seen all sorts of drivers on two wheels and four who do not belong on the road. It is not limited to one set.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 5 months ago

I should have mentioned above:

Merrill, you are also guilty of trying to append your personal agenda to this tragic situation.

one poster on here who's screenname begins with "s" is one too many.

one day, life and vital. then suddenly stricken from among us.

no time for those who love to prepare.

no time for the lost one to say good bye.

all of us lose.

pain and emptiness spread among us.

death walks among us, be alert.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 5 months ago

The Journal-World will continue to provide updates as new information is made available.

---from end of the other october 18 article.

Shaun et al, this is hat I'm writing about: don't just wait for information to be "made available," and you usually update a story when there's new details!

NNI doesn't warrant an article.

Mike Blur 8 years, 5 months ago

Okay bearded groan, you're right, does that make you feel better now??? How does it feel?

Go to hell with your sanctimonious attitude. The deceased is a sibling of a long-time friend of mine, and because of that, I haven't spoken up until now. You've taken this case and made it into a contest to inflate you own ego.

Please go away.

igby 8 years, 5 months ago

Sad day Charlie Brown dodging minivan's in a tuxedo.

igby 8 years, 5 months ago

In front of you.

In front of you.

In front of you.

In front of you.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 5 months ago

Some of you have no respect for the family of the victim at all. Sure the police have leads. I bet they have countless calls on the TIPS line. Just because someone calls in a tip does not mean it is a viable lead. The police have to take the information and investigate to see if the tip is real. All kinds of people call in tips that are not good. The police can't update the paper everytime they follow a lead. Before the police arrest anyone thay have to have enough evidence to link them to a crime. Even then sometimes mistakes are made. I see an awful lot of talking on these forums but very little community action to follow. We have more than a few bike lanes in this city. The problem is many busy streets lack them and even where they exist drivers ignore them. The same applies to stop signs, traffic signals and crosswalks. I did not know this woman personally but what we do know is that she was left to die on the side of the road alone. That is a shame on this community.

Kris_H 8 years, 5 months ago

A lot of people seem to be under the impression that a lot of specific information is available to the press from the police during an ongoing investigation.

It isn't. The police release what they want to release when they want to release it, and they have to be careful sometimes with those parameters in order not to compromise their investigation.

The rest of us just have to wait, and hope that what's going on will result in the apprehension and prosecution of the responsible party.

In the meantime, Requiescat in Pace.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 5 months ago

Mikie-blur, no, not my ego though I think you're actually projecting there.

my entire point was why was ljworld printing an article to say they had no new news, and then putting up ref to unverified rumors.

you having a connection to her family, I'd think you would wish that her death not be used gratuitously. that's it, hope you can grasp this little mikie.

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