Man dies after driver strikes cyclists in Arizona race

A cyclist has died after he was struck last month by an Arizona driver who plowed his pickup truck into a group of people participating in a bike race, authorities said Monday.

Jeremy Barrett, 58, died of his injuries Saturday, said Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves.

Jeremy Barret, 58. Photo courtesy of Paul Thomas

Jeremy Barret, 58. Photo courtesy of Paul Thomas

Barrett was well-known in the cycling community for welcoming new riders and hosting bicyclists who were training in southern Arizona, friends said.

"He was very selfless," said Joey Luliano, president of the Arizona Bicycle Racing Association. "I was told that while the paramedics were working on him, he was asking how his friends were and if they were OK."

The accused driver, Shawn Michael Chock, 36, was indicted last week on nine counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count each of fleeing an accident and unlawful flight. He pleaded not guilty to the charges Monday in Navajo County Superior Court.

Shawn Michael Chock, 35

Shawn Michael Chock, 36

Navajo County Attorney Brad Carlyon said he is expecting more charges to be filed in the wake of Barrett’s death.

"Once we have received all the law enforcement reports, we will review to determine if any new charges are appropriate to bring," Carlyon said.

Hunter T. Lewis, an attorney representing Chock, declined last week to comment on the indictment and did not respond to messages Monday from The Associated Press.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is overseeing the investigation. Graves, the agency’s spokesman, said other injured cyclists have a long road to recovery.

Long time friend remembers Barrett

Paul Thomas met Barrett in 2012 when Barrett moved from Australia to Tucson.

He fell in love with cycling and made many good friends along the road.

"If there's anyone that was going to be in this incident on the planet, it's going to be Jeremy because he was made of iron and I guess at some point there's always something we can't, no matter who you are, you can't recover from," Thomas said.

He says he isn't surprised Barrett was concerned about others, even though he was hit by the driver himself.

"From what I've heard from friends, is that he's down on the ground here, obviously got it worse than anybody because everybody else is still alive. He died, but what I heard it wasn't surprising, that Jeremy was more concerned about his friends than he was himself," Thomas said.

He adds, "If there are more Jeremy's out there, it would be a better place."

Barrett's family releases statement on his passing

On July 12, the family released a statement about Barrett's passing.

"On July 10th our dear youngest brother Jeremy succumbed to his injuries sustained in the June 19th Bike the Bluff incident. Jeremy fought bravely, enduring multiple resuscitations and extensive surgeries for massive internal injuries and broken bones. He passed away with his visiting 90-year-old Mother, brother and devoted girlfriend at his bedside to bid him farewell. His devastated mother had traveled alone all the way from Zimbabwe to visit her youngest son on a gifted air ticket, with minimum funds. She has been traumatized beyond belief, and, as a non-US citizen on a visitors visa, alone, penniless and with no legal standing, (but embraced and cared for by the Angel that is the girlfriend,) who has taken her under her wing. Subsequently, her other two sons have made their way to Arizona from Africa to emotionally support her. We have been horrified to hear that the perpetrator of this shocking event is a repeat offender with a string of crimes to his name, and was behind the wheel again. We would like to thank the absolutely outstanding medical team at Flagstaff Medical Center Surgical ICU for their professional, tireless and compassionate care of Jeremy.

They kept us informed over the past agonizing three weeks as Jeremy’s condition went up and down on a daily basis. We would like to also thank Jeremy’s company Apache Nitrogen Products and his many cycling friends in Tucson and across the state for their ongoing love and support. We have been staggered by the incredible acts of kindness and caring that have come our way and our sincere appreciation goes out to these wonderful people. 

Jeremy was a brilliant, kind and generous individual with an infectious positive attitude, always encouraging others and always tried to live his life to the fullest. Whether he was at work, on a bicycle or sailing, he was a shining and inspiring light in this world who will be sorely missed by many, not just in Tucson, but across the whole world."

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