NEAR GRAND RONDE, Ore. - A 65-year-old Camas man who was critically injured Saturday afternoon when he was hit by a car on Highway 18 later died of his injuries.
The crash happened around 2:30 p.m., not far from Spirit Mountain Casino.
According to the Oregon State Police, Steven Y. Dayley was riding a bike on the shoulder of Highway 18 when a Chevrolet Avalanche truck veered to the right to avoid traffic and struck him.
"All I heard was people hollering and I looked up and said 'oh no, a bike got hit' because I could see a person down," said Robin Melcher, who lives nearby.
"I heard a big thump, which I'm assuming was the truck hitting the bike, and then a couple of loud screams right after that," said Chris Ridgeway, who works at a nearby bar and heard the crash. She said the driver of the Avalanche was visibly shaken after what had happened.
"The driver was frantic, upset, crying," she said.
Dayley was badly hurt and was taken to a hospital in Salem for treatment. He died late Saturday night.
The driver of the vehicle, 24-year-old Fred M. Moore III of Battle Ground, Washington, was not hurt.
Dayley had joined up with other cyclists who were part of an organized ride called Reach the Beach but he had not officially entered. The event began in four different locations in the Willamette Valley and ended in Pacific City on the coast.
Dayley was riding with a friend, Anthony Bergshoeff, and the man's wife. Bergshoeff said none of them saw it coming and that Dayley was hit with the passenger side mirror of the vehicle.
"I was in front," Bergshoeff said. "He and my wife were riding almost side by side when it happened."
Dayley's wife was driving a vehicle as support. She arrived at the scene within about five minutes.
Bergshoeff said that although the family was at first angry over what happened, those feelings have passed and they hold no ill will towards the driver.
"The family wants him to know - and his family in the car - that we're praying for them," he said. "No grudges. We know accidents happen."
Bergshoeff added that Dayley had just been diagnosed with brain cancer last year and went on bike rides because they made him feel normal again.
Highway 18 has a reputation as being a dangerous roadway, which prompted the state to define a portion of it as a safety corridor. Still, the people who drive the highway regularly or live and work along it say it's not completely safe.
"Cars are fighting for position, especially on a Saturday," said Ridgeway. "Traffic is always backed up on Saturday when the weather gets nice because they're going to the coast."
"It's a terrible road," said Bergshoeff. "It's always been a terrible road."
Melcher expressed concern about the Reach the Beach event and having so many bicyclists on the highway, especially with the weather so nice and more people on the road.
"The highway's not made for bikes," she said. "It's scary. I wouldn't get out there. I wouldn't even get out there and walk."