Bicyclist dies after colliding with passing pickup in Inverness Park

04/18/2013

A bicyclist was swept under the wheels of a passing vehicle in Inverness Park on Friday, and he died of his injuries in the street as passersby and first responders near the cluster of shops along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard worked to revive him.

California Highway Patrol and Marin Coroner’s Office investigators said it remained unclear what caused the incident that killed the 79-year-old San Rafael resident, but after a preliminary investigation law enforcement officials said it did not appear that the motorist who struck Mr. Hauer was at fault.

Juan Rubio, of Marshall, stopped his green 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe when he heard the collision behind him. Witnesses described him as traumatized by the incident, and officers said that he cooperated with a field-sobriety test and offered a “chemical sample.” Mr. Rubio could not be reached for comment.

Officer Andrew Barclay, a highway patrol spokesman, said Mr. Hauer was bicycling east on the shoulder along the peninsular thoroughfare to gain on two other riders who were to meet him at Perry’s when he was passed by Mr. Rubio’s pickup truck, when it appears he lost control, fell under the vehicle and was hit by the rear wheel. The Sheriff’s office received the call about 12:25 p.m.

A deputy who had been parked 60 feet away and others who were gathered at Inverness Park’s defining Tomales Bay retail cluster responded to the downed bicyclist, who was barely moving.
“He was dying right then,” said Gail “Shorty” Coppinger, who was working at Perry’s Delicatessen at midday Friday. Ms. Coppinger and another person tried CPR. But Mr. Hauer was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. His body lay in the street covered with a yellow tarpaulin and traffic stood at a standstill for three hours.

Mr. Hauer was a retired systems engineer and computer programmer and a proud grandfather of five who enjoyed playing bridge with his wife of 48 years and also regularly donated blood, according to an obituary notice.

In a brief conversation with a reporter for the Light, Joan Hauer said her husband, an athlete, outdoorsman and bicyclist, died doing what he liked.

“What I really took away from that event was to live a full life, do what you love and learn CPR,” Ms. Coppinger said. She drives a pickup truck and says she long ago gave up bicycling after being hit twice by vehicles.