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Person killed in Dexter hit-and-run identified as Mike Wang

Mike Wang, from the PATH website

The man killed Thursday while biking on Dexter has been identified as Mike Wang, 44, a photographer for a nonprofit who rode his bike to work from his Shoreline home every day, according to the Seattle Times.

A memorial has been set up at the site of the collision at Dexter and Thomas in South Lake Union.

Wang was a photographer for PATH, a global health nonprofit. Wang has traveled the world documenting the organization’s work. You can see a slideshow of his photos on the PATH website.


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Wang was riding in the bike lane northbound on Dexter around 3:45 p.m. July 29 after leaving the PATH office near Westlake and Denny when a person driving an SUV made a quick left turn onto Thomas, striking Wang. The driver stopped briefly before fleeing the scene.

Police are still looking for the suspect. The vehicle has been described as a brown, American-made SUV with tinted windows and a chrome roof rack.

Coworkers gather Friday at the site of the collision. Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times. Used with permission

Wang is the second person to be killed while riding a bike in the region this week. John Przychodzen was killed in Kirkland July 22 after a pickup struck him from behind.

UPDATE 7:52 pm: A ghost bike has been installed at the scene. A steady flow of people has been stopping by to pay their respects.


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34 responses to “Person killed in Dexter hit-and-run identified as Mike Wang”

  1. This illustrates two problems cyclists face far more than motorists. I was hit in a similar manner, about ten years ago in South Everett, while driving a car. Because of the mass of my car, I was not hurt, though my car was inoperable. Had I been riding at the time, I’m not sure the result would not have been nearly so favorable, though I would have had a better shot at avoiding any collision at all. The other problem was that, after the scofflaw hit me, his car wasn’t going anywhere so he stayed and faced the music. Had I been on a bike, the scofflaw would have had a choice to make between doing right and hoping to scum out on his responsibility.

  2. Jim B

    Mike Wang sounds like a guy I would have liked to have known. I’m sorry I’ll never have the chance.

    1. Russ

      Yes, you would have enjoyed knowing him.

      1. Alan, I read your article in the seltate PI and did not comment there. I’m totally in agreement with lower speed limits over in Bellevue / Redmond I’d estimate the average speed on arterials is 45-50 mph. At least in Seattle the average traffic speed is lower because of congestion. haha!HOWEVER, have you considered the possibility that texting was a factor in either this accident on Denny or the fatality that occurred on Juanita drive ? The bike lane is 10 feet wide there, and the driver was not drunk, just drifted into the bike lane . I ride the bus frequently and when I look down into cars, man, EVERYBODY has a device in their hands. It’s an epidemic. And the current secondary offense does nothing to address it.I’ve been on the bike for over 35 years, drivers are generally much friendlier and assent to the cyclist’s place on the road then they were in the 70s but mobile devices are a whole new dimension of danger and there’s not much being done about it.Mark PetryBainbridge Island, WA

    2. Michael

      You are right. Mike was a beautiful guy. A terrible tragedy. He leaves behind two young children and a wife.

  3. Melinda

    I commute from downtown and go north for work. I remember this man’s face in the stream of friendly cyclist faces that I used to pass every day.

    1. Russ

      That was him. Every day.

  4. Lindsey Amtmann

    We live in Shoreline and my husband bike commutes every day on the same route. Is there a memorial planned in Shoreline? We would like to attend and pay our respects. We don’t know the family, but feel like this is our tragedy as well.

  5. Chris

    As long as this state and others continue to view car vs. pedestrian or cyclist homicides as “involuntary vehicular homicide” with a less than 4 year term, this will continue.

    Here’s a case where Mike Wang did nothing wrong. Many of us ride this route everyday. We can debate whether or not bike lanes are good or bad, but in this case had he not been there and a pedestrian was in the crosswalk the same thing would have happened.

    What did we really accomplish with the Venerable User bill? This is from Cascade’s website:

    Penalties in the bill range from moderate to severe. One may opt to surrender their license and pay a civil fine of $5000, or one may appear in court and request the alternative penalty. Under the alternative, one would perform up to 100-hours of community service in traffic safety or driver improvement, complete a state approved traffic safety course, and pay a fine of $250.

    The law will become effective in June of 2012 to give the State time to make changes to its ticketing systems and court computers. Cascade Bicycle Club will monitor its implementation and see how often it is applied to the few hundred incidents that fall in the grey area between an infraction and a crime.

    Had this man/woman not left the scene this is what they faced. Or a charge that would have left them in jail for less than 4 years. A car is no different from a gun, treat it the same.

  6. Lexi

    Mikes son is one of my best friends!! :( i feel so bad for walter …. RIP Mike Wang.

  7. Tim D

    I had the privilege of riding with Mike a couple of years ago when he joined our team for Bike MS up in Skagit County (you can add his work to raise money to fight MS to the many, many reasons that our world is diminished without him in it). I didn’t know him well, but sure did like what I knew. Very nice guy. Very strong rider. As the father of two and a regular bicycle commuter who is a less skilled and weaker rider than Mike was (a high bar, btw), this tragedy certainly gives me serious pause. My heart aches for his family and friends. You are and will be missed in so many ways Mike.

  8. Tina Kurfurst

    Mike was a good guy. A memorial fund for Mike’s family (Claire, Walter and Sylvie) has been set up at BECU. See link below for details.
    http://www.path.org/news/an110801-wang.php

  9. Teresa G

    I appreciate the warm comments left here for Mike and his family and friends. It is a tremendous loss.

    The driver who struck and killed Mike fled the scene and has not been found. Please spread the word to keep an eye out for a brown, American-made SUV with tinted windows and a chrome roof rack. Contact the Seattle police if you think you see the vehicle. Thank you.

  10. Russ

    I’m not sure if I’m addressing this to the right forum. I am attempting to reach out to Seattle area cyclists to ask that we work together to identify the vehicle that struck and killed Michael Wang at the intersection of Thomas and Dexter on Thursday July 28th.

    Michel’s extended family, biological and intentional, has unified around his widow Claire, his children, and his father William. We have dedicated ourselves to assuring that their material and spiritual needs are met.

    One crucial person from whom much is owed remains absent; the motorist who was operating the vehicle that inflicted the injuries which caused Michael’s death. There are few leads and it seems apparent that this person does not intend to come forward voluntarily.

    We, the cycling community, are a numerous, mobile, intelligent, and self-sufficient population. Collectively, we are omnipresent. It is within our ability to rapidly and continuously monitor our surroundings for the presence of a:

    • Brown
    • American-made
    • SUV
    • With tinted windows and
    • A chrome roof rack

    If you see any vehicle that approximates this description, please report it via the Seattle Police’s non-emergency number at: 206-625-5011.

    It seems increasingly likely that it will be left to our community to identify and report this vehicle and, in doing so, permit law enforcement to open the door to accountability for its operator. Please join with me to help bring this motorist to an appropriate place within our society as a person who is answerable for his or her actions, even if those actions may have been accidental.

    Regards,

    Russ Milham
    Lake Forest Park, WA

    1. We continue to seek the driver or anyone with information about this crime.

      SPD Dectective Tom Bacon is the lead investigator. His direct line is (206) 684-8932.

      Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and charges filed in the case. Please call 800-222-TIPS. You can remain anonymous.

      You can find more information about Mike, the crime, and the fund to benefit his window and children here: http://fatalhitandrun.webs.com/

      Thank you!

      1. I may have seen this vehicle this morning around 9:05a traveling south on Roosevelt across the University Bridge. I lost track of it in the Montlake neighborhood, possibly around Lynn & 19th. I have already called and reported this to Detective Bacon.

  11. […] Durning wrote a column for the Seattle Times earlier this week arguing that, in light of Mike Wang’s death and other senseless traffic fatalities in our state, Washington should follow nearby states and […]

  12. […] Wang, the man who was killed in a July 28 hit-and-run on Dexter Ave in South Lake Union, had been working as a photographer for PATH, documenting the […]

  13. […] bicycle facilities. To illustrate their point, they point to the death of Mike Wang, who was struck and killed in a hit-and-run in July: DYING while cycling is three to five times more likely in America than in Denmark, Germany […]

  14. […] Union Park (Moving Planet will be wrapping up) Route: We will ride to the memorials created for Mike Wang, Brian Fairbrother and Robert […]

  15. […] Union Park (Moving Planet will be wrapping up) Route: We will ride to the memorials created for Mike Wang, Brian Fairbrother and Robert […]

  16. […] moments happened at the first stop on our group ride: Dexter and Thomas, the intersection where Mike Wang was killed in a hit and run in July. Wang’s wife, Claire, contacted me a few days before the ride and […]

  17. […] is still space left for you to join a dinner and fundraiser in memory of Mike Wang, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in […]

  18. Russ Milham

    An open note to the person who killed my friend Mike Wang:

    Hi,

    It’s been a bit over half a year since you stuck and killed my friend Mike at the intersection of Thomas and Dexter as he headed home from work at about 3:44PM last July 28th. The “ghost cycle” is long gone from the corner and that’s okay. Everything goes away eventually. Some things should never have had to have been there in the first place.

    As you are aware, you haven’t been apprehended. As it turns out, so long as you can continue to live with yourself and you never speak of this act to anyone with a shred of conscience or moral decency, the laws of this world will probably never call you to account for what you’ve done. Please note that I have no direct knowledge of what awaits you in any world other than this one.

    A friend of mine (and acquaintance of Mike’s) who used to work in forensic network analytics has informed me that, if you had a cell phone in your possession and it was turned on, then you were most certainly tracked along with a fairly small group of other folks (perhaps 300 or so) who drove along the same route as you at roughly the same time that Mike was killed by you. Probably only one of those handsets can be associated with the holder of a registration for a light brown 90’s era American SUV.

    Establishing the relationship between the cell phone records and auto registration records is apparently pretty trivial. Good news for you; it probably hasn’t happened and probably never will. Evidently, for simple fatal hit-and-runs like the one you perpetrated, it’s too much trouble to get the warrants necessary to allow these analyses.

    On a personal note, I’m continually blown away by how well Mike’s daughter and son seem to be doing. I can only hope that when or if I am similarly struck and killed during my daily commute to and from work, that my son and daughter will be able to leverage such apparent valiance and resilience. I cannot begin to describe what Claire still goes through, though, because I can only barely imagine it. You have deprived her of her best friend in this world.

    To that last point, it really doesn’t matter whether you ever surface or whether Detective Tom Bacon of the Seattle Police is ever successful in locating you. The only things that you represent in this regard are the pathway to an apology and the only avenue in our society to material compensation for what you have taken from this family. Apart from that, you represent the same random, anonymous, most-likely-basically-good person who has now demonstrated stunning failure in a crucial test of human quality.

    Should you ever change your mind and chose to come forward, know that our court system will always be available to you. Indeed, I believe that there is no statute of limitations for crimes at the magnitude of yours.

    Russ Milham
    Lake Forest Park, WA

  19. Dani

    What a perfect letter.

  20. […] say they have arrested the person they suspect struck and killed Mike Wang on Dexter Ave Last year. Details will be announced at an 11 a.m. press […]

  21. Jim Hill

    6/8/2012
    They have the guy that hit mike its about time
    rest in peace

  22. […] man suspected of striking and killing Mike Wang on Dexter Ave last year has pleaded not guilty to the charge of felony hit and run. Erlin […]

  23. […] Erlin Garcia-Reyes pleaded guilty to felony hit and run today, just 11 days before the one-year anniversary of the fatal collision that took Mike Wang’s life. […]

  24. […] the scene and following investigation, just one block from the intersection where Mike Wang was struck and killed almost exactly two years […]

  25. […] collisions, including a very serious one July 25 and, of course, the devastating collision that took the life of Mike Wang in […]

  26. […] The city is planning a road safety redesign for the street, which is a major bike route and the scene of several serious collisions including the 2011 hit and run at Dexter and Thomas that killed Mike Wang. […]

  27. […] like the collisions that killed Mike Wang and seriously injured Brandon Blake on Dexter Ave, people turning left from four lane streets have […]

  28. […] Mike Wang was biking home to his family one evening in July 2011 when a man driving an SUV made a quick left turn and killed him on Dexter Ave. It’s impossible to fill a hole in the world the size of Mike Wang, but through all the tears and pain and anger that followed, something truly powerful shifted in hearts across Seattle. […]

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