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Probe of Cambridge cyclist’s death continues

State Police said Friday that a preliminary reconstruction of the crash that killed a female cyclist in Cambridge Thursday indicates the victim struck the open door of a parked car before she was pushed into traffic and collided with a truck.

Police said the crash that killed 27-year-old Amanda Phillips of Cambridge is still under investigation. But early details show she had “entered the roadway from the sidewalk and struck the open door of a parked Jeep” on Cambridge Street in Inman Square, a busy four-way intersection, as a person prepared to exit the vehicle.

The impact pushed the cyclist into the travel lane, where she “collided with part of a [landscaping] dump truck,” State Police said in a statement Friday.


The crash occurred around 12:17 p.m. Thursday. The area was shut down to commuters for several hours as state and local police investigated.

Phillips, who worked as a barista at Diesel Cafe in Somerville, was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she later died.

When a driver abruptly opens a vehicle door into a cyclist’s path, it’s referred to as “dooring” among those in the bike community. According to state law, opening a car door without first checking for cyclists or other vehicles carries up to a $100 fine.

State Police spokesman David Procopio said in an e-mail that investigators were still looking into the circumstances surrounding Phillips’s contact with the door.

“That is the type of specific fact that the investigation — the entire investigation in its totality, not just the reconstruction — will attempt to discern,” he said.

Procopio offered no details on how she collided with the truck, saying only that “she came into contact” with it.

“The exact positioning and sequence is part of the ongoing investigation. Terribly sad, no matter what,” he said.


The investigation is being handled by Cambridge police, the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction team, and the State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement unit, Procopio said.

The full reconstruction report, he said, will take several weeks to complete. When it’s finished, it will be up to District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office and Cambridge police to decide whether any charges will be filed, police said.

Phillips was remembered by the owners of the cafe where she worked as an “amazing friend and employee.”

“We are all heartbroken,” Jennifer Park and Tucker Lewis said.

Candles and flowers were placed at the scene of the crash Thursday night in remembrance of Phillips.

Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.