Matt Peterson (29) and Kristy Gough (30)

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Matt Peterson (29) and Kristy Gough (30)
Monday, March 9, 2009

Stevens Canyon Rd
by Stevens Creek County Park.
Cupertino, San Jose , CA
United States
from waymarking

From Waymarking:

On March 9th, 2009 a Santa Clara County Sherriff cruiser driven by
James "Tommy" Council, swerved across the yellow lines and hit
Peterson and Gough and two other bikers. Matt Peterson (29) and
Kristy Gough (30) died. Council was charged with two counts of
Vehicular Manslaughter and prosecutors say he had fallen asleep at
the wheel.

The memorial is a few 100 feet from where the accident happened.
It was inaugurated on October 18. The memorial was approved by the
Cupertino City Council. It included a painted bike and three
plaques, one plaque each for Peterson and Gough. There’s also a
plaque for Jeffrey Steinwedel who died on the same road in

from the Mercury News

'Ghost bike' honors cyclists struck by sheriff's cruiser in Cupertino foothills
By Denis C. Theriault
Mercury News
San Jose Mercury News
Article Launched:10/18/2008 06:33:26 PM PDT

"This is not a happy place."

John Peterson was back in the Cupertino foothills, standing on a small bluff off Stevens Canyon
Road where cool morning breezes were quickly giving way to the sun's
eager warmth. With his back turned to a stunning panorama of hillsides
and treetops, he was trying not to cry.

This was the road where his son, Matt, an avid cyclist, was killed in a crash more than seven months ago.
Early on Saturday morning, it was the road where Peterson hoped his son's memory - and legacy - might live on.

For also behind Peterson was a plaque bearing his son's name. And next
to it was one more plaque, this one with the name of Matt's riding
partner, Kristy Gough, also killed that late-winter day when a Santa
Clara County sheriff's cruiser veered across a double-yellow line and
into a close-knit group of riders.

"My hope is that people will see this memorial, and they will be inspired to excel
and that they will realize how precious and how quickly life can
change," John Peterson said, his family alongside him. "We just need to
live life, not with reckless abandon, but with passion, with purpose."

His words came at a tearful ceremony uniting nearly everyone touched by
the horrific scene that unfolded in these hills March 9: Friends and
family of Gough, 30, and Peterson, 29, their teammates and others in the
Bay Area cycling community. Even the Santa Clara County Sheriff's
Department, whose deputies led a pedaling procession of hundreds
bicyclists up Stevens Canyon Road and then back down once again.

"Right after the accident, we spent about 45 minutes here," John
Peterson said. "It was perhaps the most difficult thing we did."


The quiet bluff lies just a few hundred feet south from the spot where
Peterson and Gough, an Olympic hopeful, were struck - a site still
marked by photos and a handful of mementoes, as well as a 4-foot wooden
cross and some fading Buddhist prayer flags strung between a pair of
fence posts.

Their plaques join a third, in honor of another fallen bicyclist,
Jeffrey Steinwedel, killed on Stevens Canyon Road in 1996, Looming over
all three is an all-white "ghost bike," a chilling symbol of loss on a
stretch of Stevens Canyon Road long popular with cyclists because of its
challenging incline and generously wide lanes. The Cupertino City
Council unanimously approved the memorial for Gough and Peterson in

Kristy's father, Rip, remembered his daughter calling him up after a
grueling ride, her legs in the air to let the blood drain out of them,
and talking about the myriad hazards cyclists are forced to endure, the cars brushing past just inches away, the riders forced from the pavement.

He said he wanted drivers heading past his daughter's memorial to hold precious the lives of those other biking enthusiasts sharing the road.

"The people on a bicycle riding on the side of the road, or running on
the side of the road," he implored, "are people who are somebody's
mother or father, or a son or a daughter, or a sister or brother."

Added Gough's mother, Karen Sue Clarkson: "I hope you'll glance over this way and think of Kristy and let her inspire you."

The deputy driving
the cruiser, James "Tommy" Council, has pleaded not guilty to two
charges of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in connection with the
March 9 crash. His next pre-trial hearing is set for Nov. 14.
Prosecutors have accused him of falling asleep behind the wheel while on routine patrol that morning, and witnesses after the crash described him as dazed and saying he had dozed off.

Peterson was killed instantly, while Gough was airlifted to Stanford
Hospital, where she later died. Another cyclist, Christopher Knapp of
Germany, was hospitalized with a broken limb. And a fourth, Daniel
Brasse, lagging behind the group, was uninjured. He was left, however,
with haunting memories, the gruesome scene he found himself facing after
a bend in the road.

Brasse, a teammate of Gough's on the Third Pillar Systems
racing team, was at the ceremony with his wife and two small daughters.
On his uniform was a patch: "KG 03/09/08." He'd been back to Stevens
Canyon Road just once after the crash, a few weeks later, to "finish the
ride." Seeing the ghost bike brought the emotions back.

"I thought all the tears were gone," he said. "I thought I was stronger."

After the ceremony, as the cluster of cyclists dispersed and the road
past the site was reopened, the drivers returned. And their eyes,as they
passed, caught the stark frame of that ghost bike, too.