Bicyclist killed in hit-and-run in Chandler; driver arrested

June 11, 2021

CHANDLER, AZ – A man is facing a felony charge after a bicyclist was hit and left for dead in Chandler on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Ryan Sean Pereira was taken into custody just hours after the crime.

Police say 40-year-old Joseph Theodore Kowalczyk was riding north on Alma School Road around 2:30 a.m. when Pereira hit him from behind with his 1500 Dodge Ram pickup truck near Del Rio Street, which is south of Ray Road. Pereira drove off, police said. Kowalczyk was taken to the hospital, where he later died. Video from the scene showed the mangled bike and a pair of shoes beside it in the street.

Investigators found parts of the truck at the crash scene that matched a Dodge Ram truck. A detective then saw a white Dodge truck with front-end damage at an apartment complex a mile north of the crash. It also had a small piece of Kowalczyk’s t-shirt stuck in the grill, police said. Detectives figured out it belonged to Pereira, and he was arrested.

Court documents say Pereira told investigators he was driving home from work at the time of the crash but didn’t admit to hitting a bicyclist. He added he may have fallen asleep while driving, police said. Pereira was then booked into jail on one count of failure to stop after an accident involving a death or injury, a class 2 felony.

We offer our condolences to the family and friends of Theodore Kowalczyk.

At Begam Marks & Traulsen, we are concerned by the rising numbers of bicycle accident fatalities in Arizona and want to advocate for the safety of bicycle riders. We analyzed the last 5 years of Arizona bicycle accident fatalities data covering the period 2016 to 2020 gathered from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

To visualize our findings and for a better experience for our readers, we’ve created an interactive map that pins every single bicycle accident fatality that has taken place in the State of Arizona between the years 2016 and 2020.

Source: 3TV/CBS 5