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The Boston Globe

Metro

Police find vehicle in fatal Charlestown bicycle crash

A bicyclist was killed on Thursday at a busy intersection in Charlestown when he was struck by a truck that left the scene in what is believed to be the first such fatality of the year in the city.

The man, whom officials did not identify, was hit near Cambridge and Spice streets close to the Sullivan Square MBTA Station about 1:40 p.m., Boston police said.

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Boston police confirmed late Thursday night that the vehicle and driver involved in the crash had been located. Earlier in the evening, police said they were searching for a sanitation truck. No charges were filed as of late Thursday night.

Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, said the case was being investigated as a hit-and-run.

A bloodied sheet covered the man’s body for much of the afternoon while police combed the area for evidence. Investigators placed an evidence marker near a gray baseball hat that was on the ground near the victim. His mangled bicycle was lying about 10 feet from his body.

Chris Kilpatrick, 36, of Malden, said he was walking down Cambridge Street when he came upon the scene, which was sealed off with police tape.

“That was my first thought, that it was a bike,” he said, adding that vehicles hitting cyclists is “a big problem.”

Kilpatrick said he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle in a crosswalk in December and fractured his elbow. He has not ridden since.

“Seeing things like this, I’m glad I don’t ride my bike anymore,” Kilpatrick said.

The crash scene was located off a thoroughfare that includes an MBTA bus way and a number of businesses.

George McCoy, 60, a T bus driver, said cars speed through the congested intersection.

“The cars don’t care,’’ said McCoy, who did not witness the crash. “Everybody drives way over the limit.’’

McCoy’s comments were echoed by Therese Pullum, who works at nearby Bunker Hill Community College.

“I am saddened that this cyclist lost [his] life,” Pullum wrote in an e-mail. “When I heard where it occurred, I was not surprised. Something needs to be done about the way motorists behave around the Sullivan Station area or this will happen again.”

“We take the safety of all Bostonians — particularly bicyclists — very seriously,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said. “This was a tragic event and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victim.”

Pete Stidman,director of the Boston Cyclists Union, said he hoped the driver would be brought to justice, if in fact he or she drove off despite knowing that a rider had been hit.

“If this person consciously left the scene of an accident, it’s a disgusting act,” he said.

It is believed that Thursday’s victim was the first cyclist in the city this year to be killed in a crash. Five cyclists were killed in Boston in 2012 and at least one died in a crash last year. More precise data for 2013 was not available.

Stidman said outfitting trucks and buses with side and tire guards is one way to prevent deaths, because they keep cyclists from becoming trapped underneath the large vehicles. He said the guards “bounce people out of the way. The person may have some bumps and scratches, but they don’t end up dying.”

Stidman added that a serious accident or death of any cyclist is unsettling for the broader community of riders.

“Everyone, I think, in the cycling community feels they’re close to the people who get hit, because we all experience close calls,” Stidman said.

Kilpatrick said he was thinking of the victim’s family.

“They could be waiting for him to come home right now,” he said, “and have no idea their world is about to turn upside down.”

Globe correspondent Jacqueline Tempera contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Evan Allen can be reached atevan.allen@globe.com.
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