The bicyclist who was struck and killed by an alleged drunken driver Saturday east of Bend was an accomplished cyclist, a local dentist and a mother of two young children.
Marika J. Stone, 38, worked at Mill Point Dental Care in Bend and in her free time cycled competitively on the Sunnyside Sports Race Team, winning multiple races last year.
She left behind a 7-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter.
Stone’s friends and family remember her infectious laugh, unselfish attitude and sense of adventure.
“She loved to push herself and she was just excited to do things and go explore and be active,” said Ryan Levering, a member of the Sunnyside team.
Levering, who works as the Group Fitness Manager at the Athletic Club of Bend, said she met Stone about 10 years ago when she moved to Bend. Stone regularly attended Levering’s cycling classes and began entering races in 2015.
In April, the two took a trip to Monterey, California, where they raced in the Sea Otter Classic.
“It was so much fun to be down there and just do the event with her and watch her just come out of her shell,” Levering said. “She crushed the field.”
Levering’s cycling class on Monday, which Stone had planned to attend, was packed with people there to ride in her memory, including Stone’s identical twin sister, Tansy Brown.
“It was really nice to come together and ride for her,” Levering said. “There were moments where they were starting to falter and they dug deeper for Marika.”
Stone was on a roughly 40-mile ride Saturday with two other competitive and experienced cyclists, Carrie Carney and Bruce Rogers.
Carney, a substitute teacher in Bend and vision therapist at Integrated Eyecare in Bend, has been friends with Stone since they met while studying at Willamette University in Salem. Stone went on to study dentistry at the University of Minnesota.
The two friends reconnected when they both ended up in Bend, and often cycled together.
Their ride on Saturday started in Prineville. Rogers stayed in the front and Carney and Stone switched back and forth as they rode single-file, all wearing fluorescent jackets.
As they rode, they talked, laughed and made bets on who would finish better in this year’s Pole Pedal Paddle, Carney said.
“We were having a great ride and just enjoying life,” Carney said.
The three cyclists were heading westbound toward Bend on Dodd Road at about 3 p.m. — within the last 15 miles of their ride — when an eastbound 2002 GMC Sierra truck struck Stone.
The driver, Shantel Lynn Witt, 41, of Bend, allegedly failed to negotiate a curve to the right near the Obernolte Road intersection, crossed through the westbound lane and struck Stone, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. Stone died at the scene.
“It happened very suddenly,” Carney said. “I’m not quite sure how it didn’t get all three of us.”
Witt was arrested on charges of first-degree manslaughter, driving under the influence of intoxicants, one count of reckless driving and two counts of reckless endangering.
She was booked in Deschutes County Jail Saturday evening and released early Sunday when she posted $27,000 of her $270,000 bail, according to Sgt. William Bailey.
Her first court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 16 in Deschutes County Circuit Court.
Witt was previously arrested for drunken driving in August 2014 and pleaded guilty. The criminal charges were dismissed in November 2015 following Witt’s completion of a diversion program, according to court documents.
The sheriff’s office did a full reconstruction of Saturday’s crash scene at the corner of Dodds Road and Obernolte Road and continues to investigate, according to Bailey.
Stone’s death is the second bicyclist fatality within the past two months in Deschutes County.
On Nov. 20, a FedEx truck and a bicyclist collided at the intersection of NW Olney Avenue and NW Wall Street in Bend. The bicyclist, 31-year-old Jonathan Chase Adams, died at the scene.
The driver of the truck, Trenton Derek Sage, 51, of Terrebonne, fully cooperated in the investigation and was not impaired or using his cellphone at the time of the crash, according to Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel.
Hummel said he is waiting for the investigation to close until he makes a decision on any possible charges.
It had been six years since a bicyclist was struck and killed in Bend, according to Oregon Department of Transportation records. In July 2011, a 16-year-old bicyclist was hit and killed by a pickup truck on SW Reed Market Road.
Bend led the state in fatal bicycle crashes in 2008, when two of the seven crashes that year happened in the city.
Carney is still in shock from Saturday’s crash. All three cyclists were obeying all the rules of the road when the truck came toward them, but unfortunately they couldn’t control the tragic outcome, Carney said.
“All I know is this community lost a class act,” Carney said. “Someone who gave so much to this place.”
— Reporter: 541-617-7820, firstname.lastname@example.org