Betty Ross said her son Tom and a friend were bicycling to a recycling center Thursday morning when he was struck and killed by a vehicle in south Sacramento.
Sacramento police spokesman Officer Justin Brown said he could provide few details on the cause of the accident, but he said Tom Ross was riding in the bike lane when he was hit. According to police, two bicyclists were traveling north on Freeport Boulevard just past 35th Avenue at around 6:30 a.m. when a small SUV hit the bicyclist.
Brown said the driver was a man in his 50s and had passengers, including children, in the vehicle. He spoke with officers at the scene. Neither he nor his passengers were injured.
Betty Ross said Tom, 55, collected cans and bottles, and was riding with a neighborhood friend to a recycling center near Freeport Boulevard and Fruitridge Road. She said the friend was traveling in front of her son and turned around when he heard the crash. The friend was not injured, she said.
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In the midst of her sorrow, Ross said she could only urge motorists to watch out for bicyclists and pedestrians.
“He knew the law,” Ross said of her son, who grew up in the Sacramento area and had lived with her at her south Sacramento home off and on for many years.
The crash came two days after a new state law went into effect requiring motorists to give bicyclists a 3-foot buffer when passing.
Ross said a neighbor came to her home to tell her of the accident. She went to the scene, but police kept her at a distance as they investigated.
“I just sat by the Jack in the Box (restaurant),” she said.
Speaking by phone Thursday afternoon, Ross said it seemed unreal that she had lost her only child.
“It’s just me now,” she said.
Ross said her son did odd jobs, mowing lawns around the neighborhood, and caring for her as she dealt with health problems.
She said her son loved bicycling and worked on bikes for people in the neighborhood.
“He was a good friend to everybody, kindhearted,” she said.