Following Mike Wang's death, a ghost bike memorial marked the spot along Dexter Avenue where he was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while bike commuting home. Police now say they have solved the hit-and run case.
Seattle Police make arrest in death of bicyclist Michael Wang
The Seattle Police reports that Traffic Collision Investigation Squad detectives have solved the July 28, 2011 hit-and-run case on Dexter Avenue N that killed Michael Wang. Details will be revealed later today.
Michael Wang was an esteemed photographer who worked with the local nonprofit group, PATH. Wang biked to work from Shoreline to South Lake Union everyday and was killed last Thursday, July 28, 2011, when he was struck by a black SUV on Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street.
At a press conference on Thursday morning, Seattle Police announced that the suspect is Erlin Garcia-Reyes, 28, of Normandy Park.
Police went to Garcia-Reyes’ home on Wednesday to interview him about the incident. Garcia-Reyes was placed under arrest for felony hit-and run following the interview.
"As we all know, tragedies can not be undone but at least today we'll be able to give some positive news surrounding one of the tragedies that occurred here in the city of Seattle," said Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh.
McDonagh said the case had been "very difficult" and credited the community's engagement, the many tips, and good detective work for the arrest.
Doug Palm, Director of Global Facilities at PATH and Wang's former employer, was present at the press conference, and expressed gratefulness for the arrest.
"It is our sincere hope that this development will lead to some sense of justice and closure for Mike Wang's children, his wife, family, friends and for the people and communities around the world whose stories he told through his wonderful photography," Palm stated.
Chuck Ayers from Cascade Bicycle Club also expressed thanks, calling this day "a bittersweet day".
Wang had been an active bicycle commuter and member of Cascade Bicycle Club.
"No family should kiss a loved-one goodbye only to learn later that they've been injured or left for dead on the side of the road," said Ayers. "Our message has been 'we must do better' and thankfully due to our police department, our mayor's department, SDOT and others, we are starting to do better. We're grateful to the Seattle Police Department for their persistent detective work, for not giving up, and for bringing a criminal to justice. We now call on the prosecuting attorney to take the important step and do the important work to see this criminal offensive through to its fullest possible ending. "
At this time only limited information regarding the case was released and it's up to the Prosecutor's Office to release more details throughout the process.
The Seattle Times however reports that Garcia-Reyes was also involved in another hit-and-run just recently.
"In that case, Garcia-Reyes was a passenger in a vehicle that drove into the parking lot of the 76 gas station at 10500 Greenwood Ave. N. on Sunday. Instead of pulling straight into a parking stall, the vehicle went over the curb, striking the store’s front window and glass door, charging documents say.
"The driver jumped into the vehicle’s back seat and Garcia -Reyes got into the driver’s seat and drove away from the scene, according to the court documents. Police and prosecutors say the incident was caught on the gas station’s video surveillance, " according to The Seattle Times.
We will update this story as soon as more information is available.