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Truck Driver Facing Charges Over Death of Australian Tourist in New York

By Mimi Nguyen-ly

A garbage truck driver has been arrested and is now facing drunk driving charges after he hit and killed an Australian tourist who was riding a bike at the time.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) confirmed that Felipe D. Chairez, 44, is facing charges that include driving while intoxicated, and driving while ability-impaired, and operating a commercial vehicle with 0.04 to 0.06 percent or less of alcohol, the ABC reported.

Madison Jane Lyden, 23, from Geelong, Australia, was riding a bike near Central Park when she was hit by the truck around 4:45 p.m. local time on Aug. 10. She had been riding in the Central Park West bike lane when a car pulled in front of her. To avoid hitting the car, she was forced to swerve into a car lane, where she was hit and run over by the garbage truck.

Lyden did not have a helmet on and suffered severe injuries. She was taken to a nearby hospital, but could not be revived.

Chairez had spoken to police at the scene of the incident and officers noted he appeared intoxicated. They later found two empty beer cans in the truck, New York Daily News reported.

Chairez was subsequently released on bail, while the car driver has not been charged.

Lyden had been cycling with a friend who she had been travelling with. “[The woman] was shouting, ‘Baby, baby, baby, wake up,'” a witness told New York Daily News.

New York Major Bill De Blasio said Lyden’s death is “another example of the danger of reckless driving,” 9News reported.

“It’s just disgusting what happened,” he said, according to NBC.

“Here’s someone doing everything possible, [she was] clearly driving in the bike lane … we’ve lost innocent people because drivers didn’t care.”

City of Greater Geelong chief executive Martin Cutter said that Lyden would be “greatly missed,” 9News reported.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said it has been providing consular assistance to the Lyden family.

 
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