Truck-bicycle crash kills U senior

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 21, 2011 - 9:25 PM

Police pleaded with drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to use more caution in the wake of a truck-bike collision that killed a 25-year-old student.

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A memorial was placed near the site where bicyclist Kimberly Yeong Sil Hull was killed on Thursday morning near the University of Minnesota at 15th Avenue and 4th Street SE.

Photo: Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune

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Police vowed to step up enforcement of the rules of the road around the University of Minnesota and pleaded with drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to use more caution in the wake of a truck-bike collision that killed a 25-year-old student.

Thursday's deadly collision occurred about 7:50 a.m. at 4th Street and 15th Avenue SE., according to Minneapolis police.

The woman was identified by the Hennepin County medical examiner's office as Kimberly Yeong Sil Hull of St. Paul. The university said that Hull was a senior in the College of Liberal Arts.

According to police:

Hull was heading south on 15th and entered the crosswalk spanning 4th. The truck, heading in the same direction on 15th, hit the bicyclist while turning right onto 4th.

Her body came to rest in a crosswalk that runs parallel to 15th. She died at the scene, police said.

The truck driver pulled over immediately and was cooperating with authorities. He was given a preliminary breath test that showed no indication of alcohol impairment, police said. Standard procedure also called for him to give a blood sample to detect drug or alcohol use.

The intersection, on the northern edge of the East Bank campus and near several athletic facilities, is controlled by traffic lights.

Hull's father, Harry F. Hull, said the family was declining all media interviews.

"We are hurting," he said.

A memorial ride in honor of Hull was quickly organized on Facebook by a man who said that he didn't know her but was "a Minneapolis bike commuter who was deeply saddened by this tragedy."

Kyle Torfin asked cyclists to meet at Van Cleve Park at 7 p.m. Wednesday and to wear something white in honor of Hull. The Facebook page said they will ride up and down 15th Avenue SE. 25 times, one for each year of Hull's life.

Deadly collisions on rise

The crash, along with another one on Thursday morning involving a woman being hit by a pickup truck and injured while walking near Target Field, are part of what police say is "a dramatic increase" in the past week in collisions involving vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles.

In response, said Sgt. William Palmer, Minneapolis police officers are intensifying enforcement of "drivers not yielding to pedestrians, pedestrians jaywalking in congested areas and cyclists not obeying the rules of the road."

The goal is to prevent crashes that "can result in life changing events for families," he said.

"Warmer weather brings many people into the streets to walk to work, cycle or get out in the fresh air," Palmer said in a statement. "As this occurs, drivers, especially in areas which see considerably more pedestrian and cyclist traffic ... need to exercise more caution as they drive."

Even though the law is on the side of pedestrians, Palmer said, "police are asking pedestrians and cyclists to watch out for themselves."

A preliminary tally from last year shows that nine bicyclists were killed on Minnesota roads, according to the state Department of Public Safety. The average for the past six years is about eight.

Responsibility for the crashes is divided, the department said. The major contributing factor is failure to yield, with bicyclists and motorists sharing the blame. Bicyclists disregarding traffic signals and motorists failing to watch for bicyclists also contribute to the number of collisions.

Staff writer Pat Pheifer contributed to this report. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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  • Kimberly Yeong Sil Hull was heading south on 15th Avenue and entered the crosswalk spanning 4th Street SE. The truck, heading in the same direction on 15th, hit the bicyclist while turning right onto 4th.

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