A local bicyclist who was killed last month in an alleged case of hit and run was remembered Monday with a ghost bike memorial.
The memorial arrived in the back of a black pickup truck and stopped along a popular route in east Georgetown for bicyclists. The bike, painted entirely white, was built by Luis Gonzales and Robert McDonald in memory of their friend Tommy Ketterhagen.
"I want them to think of respect, love and memory of a good guy that is up in heaven," said Gonzales.
It’s the first ghost bike the two have ever put together. The bike is now located not far from a roadside memorial on Patriot Way, where Ketterhagen died.
"It’s such a tragedy to have a young man who is on the cusp of doing amazing things in his life, and lose his life because of a car accident like that," said McDonald.
Tommy Ketterhagen was a junior member of the 787 race team. He was hit and killed January 23. His body wasn’t found until the next morning by his family.
"So even though Tommy's life ended here, the story does not end here, there's a lot of work to be done," said Ketterhagen's father during a brief ceremony.
Tommy Ketterhagen Sr. noted more than 500 people signed the wings on his son's ghost bike memorial.
"You know when it’s this dark, every light means so much more, and every person praying wishing us the best, every person sharing in our loss is exactly that light, and it really helps tremendously," said Ketterhagan.
The gathering was attended by several members of the 787 racing team. The bicyclists took part in a memorial ride all the way from downtown Austin to get here. While the ceremony is certainly focused on Tommy, there is also an important message about sharing the road.
"Well there are two sides to it in my mind. There needs to be more education for cyclists and motorists, both sides. And there needs to more of a deterrent you cannot hit a pedestrian or a cyclist or runner and drive away and not get...there needs to be a penalty for that," said Robert Biard with 787 racing.
20-year-old Aaron Richard Davison surrendered after the incident was reported by local media. His attorney Joe Turner tells FOX 7 this is a "tragic case of distracted driving." According to Turner, Davison dropped his cellphone and swerved while trying to pick it up. A grand jury review of the fatal crash has not yet been completed. The first court hearing for Aaron Richard Davison is set for late March.
On the day Ketterhagen was hit investigators say the driver of a truck and a passenger were spotted looking around a ditch before leaving the scene.
The explanation of what happened, for those who now visit the site, may not be enough to heal their heartache, or eliminate the fear that ghost bike memorials like this one will continue to be seen on local roadways.