[messengers] Tribute to cyclist (Carl Hedrick) carries a message

Date: 14 May 2011 22:46:14 +0200
From: Joe Hendry <messvilleto@xxxxxxxxx>


Tribute to cyclist carries a message

 

Friends want 'ghost bike' to honor Carl Hedrick, help find
driver who killed him

 

 

By Franco Ordoñez

 

fordonez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Charlotte Observer, May. 14, 2011

 

 

Cars slow down when drivers see the painted white bicycle
under the street light in south Charlotte.
A pink rose rests on the handlebars and wildflowers have been woven into the
spokes.

 

The "ghost bike" sits along Poindexter Drive as a memorial to cyclist
Edward Carl Hedrick, 29 - everybody knew him as Carl - where he was killed May
1 by a hit-and-run driver before dawn.

 

Greg Martinez, who tried desperately to wave off the car
that hit Hedrick, helped paint the bike to help Hedrick's family and friends
deal with their grief.

 

"It also serves as a reminder to people of what
happened," he said. "It's also a weight on the driver's conscience.
If they drive by there a lot, hopefully one day they'll fess up to what they
did."

 

The death of Hedrick, a former New York
 City bike messenger, has triggered a groundswell of support from Charlotte to New York to London - and a call to
find his killer.

 

His mother, Joni Webster, learned of the hit and run
watching the Sunday morning news.

 

"My heart stopped at that point because I am at home
having my morning coffee," she said. "I know he was out on a ride.
And he's not home."

 

She texted Hedrick's cellphone.

 

"'Bicyclist hit and run....Let me know that you're
good,'" she wrote. "And then 20 minutes later the police showed up at
the door."

 

Hedrick's death has shaken not only the biking community in Charlotte, but also in New York, where he was well-known in the
close-knit courier community.

 

Last week, some 30 cyclists in New York
 City joined together for a vigil and ride through the city to honor
Hedrick and another cyclist who died in a New York accident the same week.

 

Today, Webster and Martinez
are in New York with Hedrick's bike and some
of his gear to join his New York friends on a
memorial ride across the Williamsburg
 Bridge.

 

On Friday, a similar ride is being planned in south Charlotte near the
accident site. A third will take place in London,
where Hedrick also has cyclist friends.

 

Edmond de Jesus, a friend and fellow New York messenger, called Hedrick an
"icon" in the courier community.

 

"Carl was one of those guys who you would see in a
distance and say, 'Hey, there comes Carl,' and then everyone knew that fun
times were about to begin," said de Jesus.

 

"Iconic, because the puzzle wasn't complete without
him. And now that piece is forever gone and there is no other piece that will
replace that empty spot that Carl left. Nothing fits there."

 

Webster said she's been overwhelmed by the response.

 

"It's been a whirlwind of 'Oh my God,'" she said.
"I didn't realize he had so many friends, and I didn't know how many
people cared for him."

 

In a November interview with the website word on the street
new york.com , Hedrick talked about the excitement of "flying through
traffic."

 

"I like to ride my bike," he said. "I get
bored with everything else. I guess this will be another one of those stories I
tell when I'm old."

 

Friends find it ironic that Hedrick survived the traffic of New York City, but died on a neighborhood road in south Charlotte.

 

The poker run

 

Webster said her son had moved to Charlotte
in January to save money and planned to return to New York this month. He worked at a Charlotte shipping
company helping load overnight deliveries.

 

She said he didn't know many people and was excited to meet
some cyclists organizing a social biking event that Saturday evening, April 30.

 

Known as a poker run, the ride coincided with Charlotte's two-week
series of events to promote bike awareness but was not an official part of the
festivities.

 

The poker run involved cyclists riding to different bars
where they picked up playing cards and drank. At the end of the event, the
riders compared their cards and the one with the best poker hand won. After the
event, Hedrick joined some riders at an after-hours party where he was seen
with a wrench working on his bike.

 

By the time he had reached Poindexter Drive, Hedrick had been out
all night. He was not wearing a helmet, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police
report doesn't say whether alcohol was a factor in his falling from his bike.
The report says Hedrick had some bike trouble and ended up falling.

 

Hedrick's friends tried to help him to his feet, but they
say Hedrick was dazed from hitting his head.

 

It was still dark. A car was approaching. Martinez said the riders tried to wave it
off. He even held up Hedrick's silver bicycle with reflectors to get the
driver's attention.

 

Poindexter
  Drive is a popular cut-through between Park Road and South Boulevard.
It's lined with speed bumps. Police said the driver had enough time and light
to see the riders and stop.

 

"They didn't stop, man," Martinez said. "They never hit the
brakes. Not even a tap."

 

Police said they're still searching for the driver of a
light blue or silver sedan, possibly a Toyota Corolla or Tercel, with damage
underneath. Several hours after receiving the news from the police, Webster
posted a short message on her son's Facebook page. Within hours, she was
receiving dozens of messages from friends and cyclists in New
 York and London
who were already planning the commemorative events.

 

Webster said she hopes the rides will also help find the
person responsible.

 

"After so much time goes by, we may never find this
person," she said. "I don't want this to happen. The person who is
responsible needs to be held accountable."

 

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