It’s been nearly a year since Michael Wang, a 44-year-old married father of two who worked at healthcare non-profit PATH, was killed while riding his bicycle home from work in July of last year. The hit-and-run crash prompted attention from the entire Seattle-area, with everyone calling for justice for the entire Wang family. Thanks to tips from the community and follow-up work from Seattle police, the man believed to be responsible for Wang’s death has been arrested and charged with felony hit-and-run in the case.
Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Michael Wang started working at PATH in 2004 as a temporary worker in the organization’s downtown Seattle headquarters. Like many others in one of the country’s most bike-friendly states, he would two-wheel it to work from his Shoreline home practically every day.
On July 28, 2011 Wang had embarked on what he expected to be a regular bike ride home to his family. As he approached the intersection of Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street, a man driving an SUV tried to make a quick left turn and hit Wang, seriously injuring him.
Michael Wang would be taken to Harborview Medical Center to be treated for his critical injuries, but was pronounced dead soon after his arrival. The driver failed to stop and administer care to the critically injured cyclist, and a lengthy investigation ensued.
Rewards, Tips, Justice for Michael Wang
Police offered rewards of thousands of dollars for anyone who could come forward with information regarding the driver involved in the crash. However, nearly a year went by without any arrests or serious leads.
Earlier this month, Seattle police said in a news conference that they began focusing their investigation efforts on Erlin Garcia-Reyes, a 28-year-old man from Normandy Park, upon learning that he was a registered owner of an SUV believed to be involved in the incident.
As it turns out, Garcia-Reyes’ vehicle was involved in another unrelated hit-and-run crash at a convenience store earlier this month. No one was injured in that incident, though there was significant damage to the building.
Garcia-Reyes was arraigned Thursday morning in King County Superior Court, where he pleaded not guilty to charges of felony hit-and-run despite admitting to officers that he was involved in the 2011 crash and failed to offer assistance to Wang. He is being held on $500,000 bail and had an immigration detainer placed on him in the event that he posts bail.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Michael Wang. Although this was a devastating tragedy, we hope that they can find some sense of justice in the arrest of the man who was responsible for the crash.