HOUSTON – A cyclist was killed Thursday after he was struck by a school bus, according to police.
Police said the man was struck near the intersection of 8th Street and Heights Boulevard around 3:05 p.m.
The victim was identified as 23-year-old David Leon Loya. He died as a result of blunt-force trauma, according to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
Lt. Thurston Roberson, with the Houston Police Department Vehicular Crimes Unit, said the Houston Independent School District school bus was traveling eastbound on East 8th Street and Loya was traveling northbound in the bike lane on Heights Boulevard when the two collided. Loya was not wearing a helmet, authorities said.
Roberson said Loya slid to avoid the bus, went underneath the bus and was struck by the back axle. He said Loya did not have a stop sign and had the right of way.
“We’re just in such disbelief still,” said David Loya's aunt, Angela Loya.
A neighbor who lives in the area said a 61-year-old woman was driving the bus and an 8-year-old boy was on board at the time of the collision. Marilyn Firehouse said she helped the child off the bus.
“And there was one little boy that was still on the bus. A little 8-year-old boy. So, we took him off the bus so he wouldn’t be traumatized any more than he had been. Because he was on the bus when it happened,” Firehouse said.
Roberson said the surveillance camera on the bus was running. He said he doesn't believe speed was a factor. Investigators are checking to see if the bus might have had a mechanical issue.
Police did not say whether the driver saw David Loya. The driver has not been charged and the case will go before a grand jury, according to investigators.
“I wish I could have saw him before he actually passed away,” said David Loya's half-sister, Dehlila Loya. “I mean, there’s nothing I could do.”
The accident has bicyclists, like Frank Sattler, concerned about sharing the road with heavy traffic.
“I mean, it’s terrible,” Sattler said. “It’s sobering, especially if you’re somebody who rides their bike a lot. You never want to hear something like that, especially somebody so young. Just awful.”
Friends and family left flowers Friday at the intersection where Loya lost his life. A memorial bike ride in his honor will take place Friday at 7:15 p.m. at 701 Waugh Drive.
HISD released the following statement:
"An HISD school bus was involved in a fatal bicyclist accident near the intersection of Heights Boulevard and Eighth Street while completing its afternoon route on Thursday. The driver and one student were aboard the bus, and neither were injured. HISD Transportation Services is cooperating fully with the Houston Police Department investigation."