Two BR cyclists die on Perkins in 2012
A man trying to make it home on his bicycle late Monday was struck and killed by an SUV in the 4900 block of Perkins Road.
Jason Michael Stablier, 27, 4268 Woodside Drive, died at the scene of the 10:30 p.m. crash and is the second bicyclist to be killed this year on Perkins Road, police spokesman Cpl. Tommy Stubbs said.
Stablier, who was not wearing a helmet, rode his bicycle onto Perkins Road from Congress Boulevard and was heading west when he was hit by a 1996 Chevrolet Suburban driven by Jason James Sanders, Stubbs said.
Sanders, 29, 8917 Key St., was not injured and is not suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash, Stubbs said.
Sanders has not been arrested or cited in the incident, which is still under investigation.
Stablier’s close friend, Dennis Brewin, said he talked to Stablier about 30 minutes before the accident and believes he was headed home to his cousin’s house on Staring Lane.
Brewin, who met Stablier almost a decade ago, said his friend used a bicycle to get around town because he was mentally disabled and could not get a driver’s license.
Stablier often cut through Concord Estates near Congress to get from the north side of the city to his cousin’s, where he had been living for the past few months, Brewin said.
“He was good at finding shortcuts,” Brewin said. “And he didn’t think twice about the length of a ride.”
Monday’s crash, Brewin added, was not Stablier’s first.
Five years ago, Stablier was hit by a vehicle on Acadian Thruway near Louisiana Technical College, Brewin said. He injured his right leg and had a metal rod put in it from his knee to his ankle.
Stablier’s sister, Lisa Girlinghouse, said she warned her brother many times to be careful while riding his bicycle, especially when he was riding at night.
“He was very free-willed and free-spirited,” she said. “That’s probably why he was out riding when he was.”
Nathaniel Crowson, 30, was killed Jan. 20 while riding his bicycle at night along Perkins Road.
Crowson and a friend were bicycling east in the 6100 block of Perkins Road near Quail Run Drive about 8:45 p.m. when a man accused of drunken driving slammed into the duo from behind and ran over them, police have said.
Crowson, 3079 Eugene St., died at the scene. The other bicyclist, Daniel Morris, 31, no address given, survived.
Police arrested Joseph Branch, 28, 17525 Chadsford Ave., and booked him into Parish Prison on a counts of vehicular homicide and second-offense DWI.
Authorities said Branch’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash was 0.307 percent. In Louisiana, a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent is considered presumptive evidence of drunken driving. For those under 21, a reading of 0.02 percent is presumptive evidence of drunken driving.
Mark Martin, the head of Baton Rouge Advocates for Safe Streets, said Crowson’s and Stablier’s deaths are solid reasons why something needs to be done to make Perkins Road a safer place to travel by bicycle.
He said his organization isn’t necessarily asking for sidewalks or bicycle lanes but would at least like to see signs that direct bicyclists to alternate routes.
That, he said, “is low cost.”
David Guillory, the interim director of the parish’s Department of Public Works, said there are no plans to put sidewalks or bicycle lanes on Perkins Road, but his office is concerned about public safety and will look at options to make the route safer.
Martin said after Crowson’s death that he wanted the city-parish to “create, fund and implement a comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plan for the city-parish as soon as possible.”