Driver suspected of being on heroin during crash that killed bicyclist appears in court
ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKRC) - A bicyclist was killed and the driver suspected of hitting him with his car admitted to taking heroin before the crash in Anderson Township Monday. A judge ordered Steven Sickle held on $600,000 bond.
Hamilton County deputies say William Rust, 51, was riding eastbound on US 52 on the right shoulder, near Nine Mile Road, when Sickle drifted partly onto the shoulder, hitting Rust. Rust was thrown from the bike onto Sickle's car before he fell to the ground.
Deputies say Sickle didn't stop or try to help Rust. Witnesses flagged down a deputy who called for help. Rust was pronounced dead at the scene.
Someone in a camper saw Sickle pull into the Steamboat Bend Campground. They brought him back to the accident scene.
In court, Sickle's attorney said his client wasn't sure what he hit and went to the campground to get off of the road because his vehicle was disabled. He also said Sickle indicated to him that he was not on heroin.
A corporal with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office said that they believe Rust was carried on Sickle's car for a period of time and it was unlikely he didn't realize that he had hit a person. He also said that Sickle admitted to investigators he had used heroin before the accident.
Assistant prosecutor David Wood called for a high bond. "The message needs to be sent out to the community, it's bad enough using heroin but getting in cars afterwards when they know there's a likelihood that they could pass out and lose control of their vehicle is just completely unacceptable."
Sickle faces charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash involving death.
The Cincinnati Cycle Club released a statement:
This is a tragedy. In January 2016, the cycling community lost Michael Prater in the same way: Almost the same spot. Driver on heroin. Driver fled and was apprehended.
The Cincinnati Cycle Club, Queen City Bike and Ohio Bike Lawyer Steve Magas will be following this collision and will be calling on you for support to see that justice is served.
We will not stop advocating for safer roads for all vulnerable road users. Drivers under the influence of heroin are a danger to everyone on the road. This must stop.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of William Rust who was on a bicycle ride on a gorgeous May evening when he was run down and killed. To Mr. Rust's family, please know that we are here for you. We will do as much or as little as you want. Please reach out if there is anything we can do.
Sickle faces charges of aggravated homicide and leaving the scene of a crash involving death. He'll answer to those charges Tuesday morning in court.