A D.C. cyclist widely known as a safety advocate for his fellow riders was stuck and killed Friday by a stolen minivan whose driver was fleeing at a high speed from police officers who had attempted to stop him, authorities said.
The victim was identified as David Salovesh, 54, of Northeast Washington, who was well- known in the city as a member of the cycling community.
Salovesh was described in a tweet by D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) as a “leader, an advocate, & someone that always pushed us to be better & do more. I am more than heartbroken today & his family is in my prayers tonight.”
Colin Browne, communications director for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, said Salovesh was a bicycle commuter and a recreational rider who “really brought a lot of insight, and a lot of heart to the bicycle advocacy community.”
Warm and kindly, Salovesh also was regarded as uncompromising in championing what he viewed as in the best interest of cyclist safety on the streets, Browne said.
Police said Robert Earl Little Jr., 25, of Northwest Washington, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Authorities said he was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
A statement by D.C. police and a police affidavit made public Saturday in D.C. Superior Court described a horrific crash. A police spokesman said authorities do not believe officers were pursuing the van when it struck Salovesh.
The statement says officers using a car-mounted license plate reader — a device that scans plate numbers to see if vehicles are wanted — received an alert about a white Dodge Grand Caravan about 10 a.m. at Benning Road and Florida Avenue NE.
When officers attempted to stop the van, the driver sped away on Florida Avenue, according to the statement. A few minutes later, the driver passed a red light at a high speed and struck a blue Hyundai at 12th Street and Florida Avenue.
While the Hyundai “came to a final rest in the middle of the intersection” with its driver uninjured, the police affidavit says, “The impact redirected the Grand Caravan into the opposing westbound lanes” of Florida Avenue, “where it struck the bicyclist who was stopped.”
Salovesh suffered “severe crushing trauma” and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the affidavit.
Police said Little was treated for a cut lip, a swollen right eye and “trauma to his body.” They said the Caravan had been stolen Thursday in Prince George’s County, Md.
“The distance from the Caravan’s impact with the Hyundai to the Caravan’s final rest was approximately 102 feet,” the affidavit says. “Preliminary calculations provide an estimated range of speed of 60 miles per hour. This is a posted 25 miles per hour zone.”