Hundreds of cyclists gathered Friday to escort the motorcade of a former Navy Seal who was hit and killed by a car earlier this year just outside Washington, D.C.
The cyclists joined retired Navy Capt. Timothy Holden on his final ride through the nation’s capital and on to Arlington National Cemetery where he was laid to rest.
— Dennis J. Foley (@DJFoleyWTOP) December 18, 2015
A construction worker fell asleep at the wheel and hit Holden with his truck in August, The Washington Post reports.
According to the Post, it is not uncommon for a funeral to take place months after a person dies because of the busy nature of the national cemetery.
Police charged Ricardo Freeman, 22, with negligent driving and failure to avoid a collision with a cyclist after he nodded off and swerved his car, striking Holden, who was riding his bike along Massachusetts Avenue in Bethesda, Md.
Officials ordered Freeman to pay a $690 fine, but he faced no other punishment for Holden’s death, which didn’t sit well with many in the local cycling community.
Tom Craver, the organizer of the ride, had never met Holden but told Bethesda Magazine he felt the urge to honor the former Navy SEAL because he would like to see stiffer penalties for drivers who aren’t paying attention.
“The driver got off with paying some traffic tickets and it just seems unjust compared to what happened to Mr. Holden,” Craver told the magazine.
Holden grew up in Wheaton, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1972 before commanding an elite SEAL team during the Gulf War, according to Bethesda Magazine.
On Dec. 16, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the “Vision Zero” initiative, which she said will end traffic fatalities by 2024. Raising fines on drivers who strike cyclists is a part of her plan to achieve the goal.
Prior to the new Bowser initiative, the fine for hitting a cyclist with a car was just $50. The new fine is $500.
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