Broward County

Wife and mother killed when driver strikes 6 cyclists on Sunday morning group ride

Davie Police on the scene of a crash at State Road 84 and Flamingo Road
Davie Police on the scene of a crash at State Road 84 and Flamingo Road Sun Sentinel

One cyclist is dead and another in critical condition among six injured when a driver crashed into a pack of 14 cyclists Sunday morning, Davie police said.

Weston resident Denise Marsh, 53, died from her injuries. Marsh’s Facebook page says she was a native of Bloomfield, New Jersey, an office manager, a wife, mother of two and summa cum laude graduate from Broward College in May. Her photo posts featured family, especially her sons, and her pedaling family, Cycling Family Broward.

Carlos Rodriguez, 62, was in surgery “with an unknown prognosis,” according to Davie police. Edgar Reyes, 48; Maria Bautista, 56; and John Beitz, 49 were in stable condition. A 14-year-old boy suffered a scraped knee. All appear to be from Cycling Family Broward.

The tragic end to Sunday’s ride happened on eastbound State Road 84 just east of Southwest 148th Avenue. The police description says the group was riding in two columns in the right lane when 33-year-old Nicole Vanderweit’s Honda Fit hit the outside column of riders.

Vanderweit hasn’t been charged with anything yet. Police say she gave a sworn statement and consented for investigators to download the contents of her cell phone.

“We do not believe speed, alcohol or drugs were a factor,” Davie Sgt. Mark Leone said. “The driver said she was distracted, but doesn’t remember from what.”

Vanderweit told police her vision was hampered by the sun that she and the cyclists rolled toward as they went east on State Road 84 around 8:30 a.m. Leone called sun blindness a “contributing cause to some of the crashes” on State Road 84 and said “it’s a brutal area for sunlight” at that time of the morning.

Her South Florida driving record in South Florida begins and ends with a $292 fine after she got busted going 45 mph in a 25 mph zone in the 1800 block of Northwest 118th Avenue while driving the same Honda Fit.