From the HSV Times:
Report says driver glanced away just before accident
The driver of a sports-utility vehicle that struck and killed a 20-year-old bicyclist Monday was distracted by her cell phone, according to a police traffic accident report.
Huntsville police Sgt. Mark Roberts said investigators have ruled Sarah Chapman's death as accidental and don't anticipate any charges against the driver.
"It was just an accident, as far as we can tell," he said. "It's one of those terrible things we wish didn't happen."
The SUV's driver told police that she had turned her windshield wipers on and had glanced down at her beeping cell phone just before her 1994 Jeep Cherokee struck the bicycle, the report said.
A witness told police that Chapman, a University of Alabama in Huntsville student, was cycling "a bit erratic" before the SUV hit her. Police believe Chapman was trying to avoid an obstacle in the street on Technology Drive when she was hit from behind.
The accident report shows police didn't think the SUV's driver was drinking or using drugs when the accident occurred, and her estimated speed was 40 mph - the speed limit on that stretch of road.
The wreck was the result of the SUV driver not being in control her vehicle, the report said.
Chapman was wearing a helmet, the report said, but it came off when the SUV struck her.
A group of local cyclists left a "ghost bike" at the site of the wreck Friday afternoon.
"Ghost bikes" are nothing more than old bikes spray-painted white and left at a wreck site as a memorial, said cyclist Victor Burlingame.
Burlingame, who works at Bicycles Etc. on Meridian Street, said he had posted a picture on his blog of a ghost bike - popular in cities like Chicago and New York - and other cyclists here picked up on the idea and decided to leave one for Chapman.
"They're meant to build awareness and serve as a memorial," Burlingame said. "Having a bike there lets you know that something tragic happened."