Cycling group remembers beloved member who died in Goodyear biking crash

A group of cyclists gathered to celebrate the birthday of Karen Malisa, who was killed in a crash on a Goodyear highway in February.
Published: Aug. 2, 2023 at 8:46 AM MST
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GOODYEAR, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Cyclists in the West Valley took part in a special ride Wednesday morning to remember a beloved biker on what would have been her 62nd birthday. Karen Malisa, a retired teacher, avid biker, mom and wife, was hit and killed earlier this year in a tragic crash along with a biker visiting from another state.

“Karen was a bright and beautiful soul. She had a magnanimous personality. She lit up the room. She lit up the ride. You can hear her on every ride. She was very joyful, and she just spread a lot of joy,” Malisa’s dear friend, Cheryl Herzog, said.

This case rocked the cycling community in February when two bikers were killed, and 19 others were hurt in the crash on the Cotton Lane Bridge next to MC-85. “Every single ride, I think of her and the other gentleman who passed away, and I feel so bad because their bodies were crushed, and they had no chance,” Herzog said.

Herzog and roughly 25 other cyclists went on a long bike ride Wednesday morning to honor Malisa and visit the crash site to pay tribute to her on her birthday.

Clay Wells was among the people hurt when a driver plowed into a group of bicyclists, killing two and injuring 19.

Right after the crash, Goodyear Police arrested the driver of the pickup truck, who they say ran into the large cycling group on February 25. According to court papers, 26-year-old Pedro Quintana-Lujan told investigators his steering wheel locked right before the crash. However, Goodyear Police believe he made no attempts to stop, eventually hitting a concrete barrier.

Just days after he was arrested, prosecutors sent the case back to Goodyear Police for further investigation, and Quintana-Lujan was released from jail. Goodyear Police tells Arizona’s Family the department sent the case back to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office earlier this summer for review. Members of West Valley Cycle say they’re frustrated it’s taking so long for the county attorney’s office to respond.

In a statement to Arizona’s Family, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office says, “The Goodyear Police Department resubmitted the case to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office on June 29. The office is reviewing those materials, and there is not a timeframe for a charging decision at this time.”

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