Local cyclists came out for a memorial ride for Dr. Mario Beltran killed in cycling accident early Saturday morning. More than 50 cyclists showed up for the ride and said this is this worst fear when they hit the road.
"We were so shocked and heartbroken when we heard about the accident. We had already been for a ride yesterday morning and it just... I'm tearing up just talking about it," said Sheilah Chisholm.
Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's officials say Dr. Beltran, 52, was struck from behind just after 5 a.m. on Saturday morning by a pickup truck. He died at the scene.
The driver of the pickup was identified as 25-year-old Casey Richter. Officials said driver impairment did not appear to be a factor in the accident. While, Richter was released, sheriff's officials stated in a news release on Saturday that charges are pending upon completion of the investigation.
Chisholm and her husband Mike at one time were neighbors of Beltran and said riding was his passion.
"He would work all the time and worked long hours so it was not uncommon for him to ride early in the morning or late in the evening. And he had been cycling for a long time. He had lights on his bike so he was visible. It's just a tragedy for something like this to happen," said Mike Chisholm.
Others who didn't know Beltran were there to show support for Beltran and the cycling community.
"I would like everyone to know that something has to change. Cyclists are people who have a right to be on the road. We are out there exercising and enjoying this sport so please pay attention and watch out for us. Remember we are people that you know - we are doctors, lawyers, sales people that you see every day. Pleases take notice," said Alain Newman, cyclist.
Newman also wants to remind people that it is now law for motorists to give cyclist at least three feet of room when passing on the road.
"A lot of the places we ride don't have shoulders... so if motorists would give us that three feet that we is the law it would make things a lot safer for everyone," said Newman.
One group giving locals a lot to think about is Pedestrians and Cyclists of Calcasieu.
"Bicycles have the same laws as automobiles. They follow the same traffic laws - they have every right to be on the road," said Michelle Horak, PCC.
"It's unspeakable to think someone is killed on a bicycle in a safe neighborhood. While I'm really happy for everything Lake Charles has planned, I think actions speak louder than words. We need to see some laws enforced heavily and we need to see infrastructure change now," said Tiffany Davis, PCC.
The riders rode about 15 miles on their memorial ride passing by the crash site on Nelson Road.