A truck driver for a New Jersey-based waste collector who recklessly killed a 24-year-old cyclist in a hit-and-run accident last week remains on the loose.
Timothy “TJ” Campbell was riding his bicycle on Varick Avenue at 9 pm when a garbage truck from Action Carting Environmental struck him near Meserole Street in East Williamsburg and kept on driving without stopping.
Police have not made any arrests or identified the driver, but highway patrol officers have impounded the garbage truck and continue to investigate the crime.
Calls to Action Carting Environmental were not returned by press time.
Neighborhood cyclists reacted with shock.
Eleni Kelaidis, who works at Brooklyn Fireproof East, a bar and artist loft space two blocks from the accident, said she would ride more carefully on nearby streets, especially truck routes.
“It sucks that the culture of truck drivers is pissy towards bikers,” said Kelaidis. “That has to change, but in the meantime, we should ride really defensively.”
Transportation advocates, such as Transportation Alternatives’ Caroline Sampanaro, pointed to the need for more bike lanes and better police enforcement. According to a city study, 94 percent of bike fatalities last year involved inattentive driving or not paying attention to traffic signals.
“In this case, it’s completely unacceptable that someone traveling on a bicycle would lose his life because of completely reckless driving,” said Sampanaro. “This was a preventable crash. No one should risk his life riding a bicycle.”
As police continue to investigate the case, friends and coworkers for Campbell set up a makeshift shrine at the scene of the crime — hanging his Union Beer Distributors work shirt on a telephone poll above half a dozen empty cans of Budweiser and extinguished roman candles. Campbell’s friends wrote loving messages on his shirt such as “TJ, I’m never going to forget you or the light you shine,” and “We will always love and miss you, you were such a beautiful person and life won’t be the same without you, rest in peace,” but one message came from a stranger — a fellow cycler.
“Came thru Varick just after you on 7/7” said the message, simply. “I ride this street daily. I am sorry.”
The fatality came one day before a woman riding a Vespa was hit and killed by an SUV in Fort Greene, and is one of several bike fatalities that have occurred in Brooklyn this past year.