Durham man charged in collision that killed Raleigh cyclist

The truck involved in the incident and the bicycle that was hit. Photos from WNCN

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A Durham man has been charged in the death of a cyclist who was hit and killed along Highway 98 Tuesday morning.

Officials said Russell Grant Rutledge, 33, of Durham, was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in the crash.

The cyclist was identified as Eugene Howard Rotberg, 66, of Raleigh.

Previous: Cyclist hit and killed on Highway 98 in Durham

People who live near the scene said the cyclist was wearing a vest, but said it’s not enough for that busy stretch of roadway. Several neighbors also said it’s not a safe place for bikers.

“You couldn’t pay me to ride a bike on this road any time of the day,” said John Mansueto. “I don’t even like going to get my mail.”

Neighbors are still shaken up about the death, on a road they say, is not safe for cyclists.

Friends of Rotberg are using social media to show their love and support. He belonged to a bike club Life Time Fitness.

Neighbors are having a hard time dealing with another dealing accident on this road.

“It’s not been easy,” said John Mansueto, who lives along Highway 98. “You go down to your mailbox, look out the window, and know somebody passed there, it’s not a good feeling.”

John Mansueto and other neighbors told CBS North Carolina that a change needs to happen.

“It’s a little disappointing,” he said. “Somebody lost their life yesterday and there have been a few other pretty bad accidents on this road.”

Neighbors would like to see bike lanes and the speed reduced.

But, the Department of transportation says rural areas don’t normally have bike lanes.

“It’s not uncommon for folks to feel like those roads aren’t as safe as they could be for cyclists,” said Lauren Blackburn. “There’s things that we could do to make them safer, but on rural roadways it’s most important that people look for cyclists, and slowdown in order to safely pass them.”

The department says bikes are allowed to be on this stretch of road, that neighbors say is very busy at times.

That news doesn’t sit well with Mansueto. Since bikers and drivers must share the road, he has advice for everyone.

“If you’re a rider or driver, just be a little bit more precautions and pay attention,” he said.

Jason Whitehead, the general manager of Life Time Fitness in Cary, released a statement that read: “I can confirm that the Life Time family faced a tragedy on Tuesday with the passing of beloved team member. Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts and prayers are with his family. He had tremendous passion for youth fitness and positively changing kids’ lives. He will be greatly missed.”

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