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Arrest in hit-and-run death of Seattle bicyclist Michael Wang

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Seattle police have arrested a suspect in last July’s hit-and-run death of bicyclist Michael Wang on Dexter Avenue North.

Charged on Thursday with felony hit and run is Erlin Garcia-Reyes, 28, of Normandy Park. The judge set bail at $500,000. (The suspect vehicle is at right.)

“Our message is that we take these crimes very, very seriously and we’re not going to give up,” Asst. Chief Paul McDonough told a press conference.

Garcia-Reyes was first arrested in connection with a car crash into a service station on Greenwood Avenue on Sunday.


View Bicyclist fatality in a larger map

Police charged Garcia-Reyes with investigation of hit and run and false reporting in that case, then interviewed him in connection with the July 28, 2011, hit-and-run crash that killed Wang.

(Update: Detectives interviewed Garcia-Reyes on Wednesday about the fatal hit-and-run. Police said that he “confessed to the hit & run,” police said.)

The 44-year-old photographer was riding his bicycle to his home in Shoreline on northbound Dexter Avenue North in the South Lake Union area when an SUV made a left turn in front of him onto Thomas Street.

Witnesses said the driver stopped briefly, then continued east on Thomas Street.

Police were looking for a beige to brown SUV with tinted windows and a chrome roof rack that left the crash scene.

The Seattle Times reports that the probable cause documents filed later Thursday with his arrest reveal that police began focusing on Garcia-Reyes in April as his car matched the description of the car that hit Wang.

An investigator said there was no single tip that broke the case — “it was a number of things that all fit together.”

Wang was a photographer for the worldwide health nonprofit PATH. He was survived by his wife, Claire Allen, and two children, ages 12 and 9.

Also, Wang belonged to the Cascade Bicycle Club and was involved in the commute challenge last year, said Chuck Ayers, executive director.

“No family should kiss a loved one good-bye only to learn they are injured or left for dead on the side of the road.” He called on motorists to avoid distractions and pay attention to their driving.

Doug Palm, Wang’s employer at PATH, told a press conference:

“It’s our sincere hope that this development will lead to some sense of justice and closure for Mike Wang’s children, his wife, his family and friends and for the people and communities around the world whose stories he told through his wonderful photography.”

The Taiwanese Association of Greater Seattle offered a $6,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect. Police said they received 50 tips during the course of the investigation.

Video of the Thursday morning press conference.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/06/07/arrest-in-hit-and-run-death-of-seattle-bicyclist-michael-wang/

1 comment

1 ping

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  1. Driver in last year’s hit-and-run Seattle bicyclist fatality pleads guilty » Biking Bis

    […] man, Erlin Garcia-Reyes, 28, of Normandy Park was arrested last month in connection with a car crash into a service station on Greenwood Avenue last month. Police said […]

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