‘It's Just So Unreal': 19-Year-Old Cyclist Dies After Crash With SUV

Montgomery County police say a 19-year-old Rockville man is dead after a bicycle and SUV crashed in Aspen Hill.

The cyclist, Frank Towers, was taken to a hospital, where police say he died. The driver of the SUV was not injured.

Towers' housemate and friend, Alyx Walker, said Towers had been riding his bike to a new job when he was struck, five minutes from home.

"The bike he was riding, my dad had just given him for Christmas. So he was really excited about it," Walker said.

Walker said her father, a volunteer firefighter, heard the call when the accident happened at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Turkey Branch Parkway on Monday evening.

Walker also said the loss is still hitting home. "I just collapsed on the kitchen and started wailing because of it's really unreal," Walker said. "And that's what everyone is saying -- it's just so unreal."

Police said in a news release that a Toyota 4Runner was traveling west on Veirs Mills Road and Towers was crossing from the median strip in the area of a crosswalk when the crash occurred.

The crash is still under investigation.

Police told News4 that at least one other car had already stopped at the crosswalk when the crash occurred. Under Maryland law, if one car is stopped in the roadway at a crosswalk, other cars cannot pass it.

Bike crashes are an increasing problem in Montgomery County, police added.

Each year in the county, "We average about one cyclist losing their life, and this year we've had three," said Capt. Thomas Didone of Montgomery County Police. "And that's quite disturbing."

Cyclists say they are alarmed. 

On Tuesday, at the same intersection where Towers was killed, one cyclist tried to cross but watched as a minivan failed to stop for him.

"I definitely just had a close call there," said cyclist Patrick Larsen. "I wasn't paying attention. I'll try to start being a little more cautious."

A little later, cyclist Gregory Tummer waited until a police officer stopped traffic to try to cross.

"If they didn't see the police officer, they weren't going to stop," Tummer said.

Montgomery County police had conducted a crosswalk sting at that intersection about a year ago, ticketing drivers who didn't stop for people in the crosswalk.

A CaringBridge page is collecting donations to help Towers' family cover funeral arrangements.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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