Bicyclist killed was well-known Barrow Institute neurosurgeon

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- A bicyclist killed by a hit-and run driver in Fountain Hills on Sunday was a well-respected neurosurgeon at Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center.

The hospital confirmed Monday morning that 38-year-old Marwan Maalouf was a doctor, researcher and teacher at the renowned institution.

Also on Monday morning the suspect in the case, 33-year-old Nicholas Linsk, was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal crash, a class two felony.

According to police reports Linsk originally lied to deputies by saying his Chevrolet pickup was damaged when someone moved it in the parking lot of the Target store where he works. However, after deputies told Linsk that witnesses saw him inspecting damage to his truck near the crash site, Linsk admitted to hitting what he thought was a traffic barricade on Shea Blvd.

The lawyer who represented Linsk at his initial court appearance described Linsk as having learning disabilities, but also said he is an ASU graduate who is pursuing a master’s degree.

Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies said Maalouf was hit from behind and killed while riding his bicycle west on Shea Blvd. Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, colleagues of Dr. Marwan Maalouf said he was a well respected and well liked doctor who came to the Barrow Neurology Institute from UCLA two years ago. 

“Dr. Maalouf was a personal friend of mine and it’s just a tragedy that his young life was cut short before he could realize his true potential,” said Dr. Roy Patchell, director of St. Joseph’s Barrow Neurological Institute.

Dr. Maalouf, who leaves behind a wife, was doing research on Alzheimer’s disease including the causes, signs and possible treatments. Colleagues said he was a favorite teacher, skilled doctor and tenacious researcher.

“He could have cured Alzheimer’s disease, possibly,” said Dr. Patchell. “He had a brilliant career. He was well loved here at Barrow and by his colleagues in the world of Neurology and to have this cut short in this way is a blow to everyone.”

As of Monday evening Linsk was being held on a $90,000 bond.