published Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Bicyclist leading charity ride struck by SUV and killed in Alabama

The paint-splattered arms of Christina Genco shows the results of her work as she joins a group of volunteer bicyclists participating in the 4,000-mile Bike & Build program in Athens, Ga., on Friday. Genco was on her bicycle in Rainsville, Ala., on Monday when she was hit from behind and killed while enroute to a build project in Decatur, Ala., according to the Rainsville Polce Department.  (David Tulis/Staff/david.tulis@onlineathens.com)
The paint-splattered arms of Christina Genco shows the results of her work as she joins a group of volunteer bicyclists participating in the 4,000-mile Bike & Build program in Athens, Ga., on Friday. Genco was on her bicycle in Rainsville, Ala., on Monday when she was hit from behind and killed while enroute to a build project in Decatur, Ala., according to the Rainsville Polce Department. (David Tulis/Staff/david.tulis@onlineathens.com)
  • photo
    CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Christina Genco was struck and killed by a vehicle while riding in Rainsville, Alabama. Christina was a member of Bike & Build, a group which organizes cross-country cycling trips, and members also work to build and restore homes along their journey.

A bicyclist leading a charity ride on a 4,000-mile trip was struck by a sport utility vehicle and killed in Rainsville, Ala.

When 22-year-old Christina Genco was traveling up Sand Mountain on state Route 35 on Monday, her bike was hit by the vehicle, killing her, said Rainsville Police Chief Charles Centers. Rainsville native Craig Chandler was driving the vehicle, Centers said.

Genco, of Boston, was traveling with 33 other members of Bike and Build Inc. — a nonprofit organization that raises money for affordable housing — from Rome, Ga., to Scottsboro, Ala., where the group had plans to stop for the night, Centers said.

“It’s a sad situation,” he said.

Police believe Genco was traveling along the white line of the shoulder when Chandler turned onto the highway and hit her, Centers said.

While police and the Alabama State Patrol are still investigating the wreck, Centers said it is unlikely that Chandler will be charged.

Chandler used to work for the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and the county’s 911 Center, the police chief said.

“He’s just tore up,” Centers said.

Meanwhile, Genco’s parents and the organization team leader flew to Alabama Tuesday to make funeral arrangements.

This was Genco’s second time to travel across the country with Bike and Build and she was a team leader for a trip that set out on May 26, said Bike and Build program director Brendan Newman.

The trip began in Charleston, S.C., and was to end in Santa Cruz, Calif., a ride of about 4,000 miles since the group’s route took it up through the Great Plains to Oregon, then down to Santa Cruz.

After the wreck, group members postponed the trip.

Newman said he will be involved in organizing Genco’s memorial service but is still unsure where services will take place.

“We are all shaken by this terrible news and this will be a difficult time for everyone in our community,” he said in a news release.

Genco was an experienced cyclist and had been trained through the organization’s safety program, Newman said.

But Newman said this was the second accident Bike and Build members have been involved in since the group was formed nine years ago.

Contact Joy Lukachick at jlukachick@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659.

about Joy Lukachick...

Joy Lukachick is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press Since 2009, she's covered breaking news, high-profile trials, stories of lost lives and of regained hope and done investigative work. Raised near the Bayou, Joy’s hometown is along the outskirts of Baton Rouge, La. She has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University. While at LSU, Joy was a staff writer for the Daily Reveille. When Joy isn't chasing ...

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CharlesMartel said...

Because the authorities only care about automobiles and their operators. They do not care about bicycles or their operators.

If you are not in an automobile, you are less than a 2nd class citizen.

June 8, 2011 at 3:40 p.m.
NoMyth said...

The majority of residents on Sand Mountain are guilty of routinely exceeding speed limits and other traffic laws, to the point of gross negligence. It seems that the more rural the location, the larger vehicle, the faster the driving, and a complete lack of a law enforcement presence. The residents of Sand Mountain would do well to both honor this patriotic, charitable bicyclist and shun, the many non-patriotic, non-charitable, gas guzzling scofflaws that inhabit the area.

June 8, 2011 at 7:39 p.m.
Obvious1 said...

"Chandler used to work for the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and the county’s 911 Center, the police chief said."

Well there's your answer why he won't be charged. But it's all OK 'cos his buddy said "“He’s just tore up.”

I can't think of any reason or situation how someone cycling along the white shoulder line, then hit by a vehicle and killed - and the driver is not charged?? Am I missing something?

June 8, 2011 at 9:05 p.m.
rolando said...

The car driver was probably on his cell phone or otherwise distracted from what he should have been doing -- driving.

There is simply no excuse for hitting a cyclist. None.

June 9, 2011 at 8:26 a.m.
rolando said...

Why does it always seem to be those who are innocent or doing good things for others who get killed? We keep the scumbag killers alive forever. Something is rotten here. We have it backwards.

June 9, 2011 at 8:30 p.m.

Cyclists all too often take chances on the road that could turn out deadly. They zoom through stop signs without stopping in residential areas. One recently almost came in contact with my car. Not only is their reckless cycling a danger to them, but can be very dangerous for a child skateboarding, riding their small bikes or skating. At the speeds they are going and zipping through stop signs without stopping, if they should strike a child or even a pedestrian, there are goinng to be serious injuries or even death for the individuals they strike.

All of us have a responsibility on the road to obey the rules and make the road safer for everyone. For whatever reason, many cyclists seem to believe those rules don't apply to them. That the roads belong to them and others must get out of the way.

June 10, 2011 at 8:05 a.m.
Franky said...

Drivers all too often take chances on the road that could turn out deadly. They zoom through stop signs without stopping in residential areas. One recently almost came in contact with my bike. Not only is their reckless driving a danger to them, but can be very dangerous for a child skateboarding, riding their small bikes or skating. At the speeds they are going and zipping through stop signs without stopping, if they should strike a child or even a pedestrian, there are going to be serious injuries or even death for the bicyclists and pedestrians they strike.

All of us have a responsibility on the road to obey the rules and make the road safer for everyone. For whatever reason, many drivers seem to believe those rules don't apply to them. That the roads belong to them and others must get out of the way.

June 10, 2011 at 8:39 a.m.
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