ACCIDENT EXPLAINED: Bicyclist Still Critical

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Des Moines police say the driver who hit a bicyclist along Scott Avenue Friday morning didn't see him until the last moment.

By then, it was too late to swerve out of the way.

That bicyclist is 27-year-old Luke Sudbrock.

He remains in critical condition Saturday evening at Mercy Medical Center.

Scott Avenue is a road Sudbrock traveled often.

On the morning he was hit from behind by a 68-year-old driver, his cousin, Krystal Sparks says he was riding to his girlfriend's house.

"His girlfriend had called me and I told her to calm down and try to speak clearly,” said Sparks.

It was 6:30 a.m. and the sun wouldn't come out for another half hour.

According to police, the driver that hit him wasn't impaired and there was no evidence he was distracted or speeding.

Sudbrock was difficult to avoid because drivers could barely see him.

"Mr. Sudbrock was not wearing any reflective clothing and his bike didn't have any reflectors. Visibility would have been an issue at that time in the morning,” said Sgt. Jason Halifax of the Des Moines Police Department.

Sparks explains why she thinks Sudbrock's bike lacked any safety equipment.

"He always rebuilt bikes. He wouldn't always have just one, he would have multiple. Sometimes those bikes didn't have reflectors and that's one of those times he should have had them,” Sparks told Channel 13 News.

No charges have been filed against the driver, but Sparks says who is at fault isn't as important as continuing to pray for her cousin.

Family members are doing their best to remember the good times.

"He's that one person that would make new friends and keep old ones. He was that person people could talk to,” said Sparks.

A candlelight vigil is being held in Sudbrock's honor.

It's scheduled for 6 PM Sunday night at Laurel Hill Park, just south of the state fairgrounds.

Balloons will also be released.



  • Mark Overton

    I feel bad for both partys but the rules call for bikes to have headlight on front and a minimum of a reflector on back that can be seen 300 feet away after dark til sunrise.

  • Med. Lizotte

    I believe all bikes should have safety reflectors on them but I also believe that Bycliclists should ride facing traffic so that he/she can see oncoming traffic. Just my opinion.

  • Amy

    The facts in this story are wrong. The gal quoted isn’t even family. I guess WHO is desperate for any kind of story weather true or false. All I know is Luke has a large family out there who is heartbroken. No one is blaming anyone for this, it’s just a tragedy. The only helpful thing right now would be to pray for everyone involved.

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