Cyclist dies after collision with accused drunk driver

AUSTIN - A cyclist is dead and a man is in jail for allegedly driving drunk in a crash in East Austin Tuesday night.

Police said the collision happened on Martin Luther King Boulevard and Scottsdale Road just before midnight.

Police identified the cyclist as Charlie Bunton Jr, 53. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Joshua Christopher Brosemer, 38.

APD said their preliminary investigation showed that Brosemer was driving a 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser westbound in the 4800 block of E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Bunton was cycling eastbound in the westbound inside lane. Brosemer crashed head-on into Bunton. 

Brosemer was arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Police said the accident is a reminder that drivers and cyclists should be more cautious while on the roadways at night.

"Too many times we actually stop cyclists for not having that rear reflector. And that's one of the biggest things that cars will actually see is that red reflection," said Sgt. Eric Cleveland from the Austin Police Department.

Police said cyclists should ride with traffic and not against it, and wear clothes that stand out. It's not known at this time what the victim was wearing at the time of the crash.

Brosemer could potentially face more charges.

Bike Austin, Austin's Cycling Association, released the following statement in response to the news of Bunton's death.

Late last night, a cyclist was struck and killed by a drunk driver on Martin Luther King
Boulevard at Scottsdale Road.

Bike Austin sends our condolences to the family of the person killed while riding a bicycle
on E MLK Blvd last night," said Mercedes Feris, Executive Director of Bike Austin. "Drunk
driving is unacceptable under any circumstances, and the responsibility to keep each other
safe is only magnified when more people use our streets during major events like SXSW.”

In interviews following the crash, members of the Austin Police Department seemed to
place the blame for the crash on the bicyclist, who reportedly wasn’t wearing adequate
reflective equipment.

We strongly condemn the Austin Police Department for placing the blame for this crash
on the cyclist before a full investigation has been completed. A driver made an inexcusable
and reprehensible decision to drive under the influence. That’s where the Austin Police
Department should focus, both in their investigation and their message to the public. Too
often, bicyclists and pedestrians are scapegoated by law enforcement when a fatal or
incapacitating crash occurs. This logic lets reckless drivers off the hook. If the City of
Austin wants to take Vision Zero seriously, the Austin Police Department must focus their
resources squarely on curbing reckless driving, which causes the overwhelming majority
of traffic fatalities on our streets.”

Moreover, while intoxication likely played a role in this horrific incident, it's worth noting
that major streets like E MLK Blvd, with little or no infrastructure for walking and biking,
are disproportionately dangerous, especially for people walking and biking. Crashes like
this one can often be prevented - even when intoxication is a factor - when protected paths
keep people walking and biking separate from fast-moving cars. It's imperative that the
Texas Department of Transportation, which controls that section of E MLK Blvd, install
protected bike lanes and sidewalks on the street (and all major streets it controls in
Austin) to prevent future tragedies. Bike Austin urges everyone behind the wheel for the
duration of SXSW to remain especially alert and safe as we share the streets with an
increased number of people walking and biking."

This is the 12th traffic fatality in Austin of 2017.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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