Las Vegas, Nevada (KSNV). — It was an international virtual ride in honor of five avid biking athletes killed earlier this month.
“I’ve got five families with five dead loved ones, plus another three families with those who did get hit but are still alive,” said organizer Michael Anderson.
Anderson, a former LVMPD officer, was riding with the group the day of the tragic crash. Anderson says he saw the box truck strike a group of around seven of his friends.
“Just one of the worst things I could see in my life,” he told News 3 cameras that day.
The crash has shocked thousands in the Las Vegas valley. Troopers say around twenty friends were biking alongside the US-95 near Searchlight. That’s when investigators say a box truck plowed into a group of around seven of them—killing five, and leaving three injured.
This week the driver of the truck—Jordan Barson— was arrested. Officials say he had over nine hundred nanograms of meth in his system that day, and is facing several charges.
Anderson. while still grieving the loss of his friends, wanted to honor their memory while raising money to help the families.
He organized a fundraising ride via the virtual biking platform Zwift.
While on his stationary bike, Anderson filmed a Facebook live of the ride.
“Team G,” Anderson says in the stream, “This is all for team G: Tom, Erin, Askoy, Michael and Gerrard.”
The ride drew in around one-thousand people from around the world, said Anderson, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Wales, The Philippines and Singapore.
“It’s like, if I ride a bike, I know you. Our community is so tight, it’s incredible,” he said.
“We wanted to help in some way,” said Uros Huzjak who completed the memorial ride from Poland. “When I heard about this tragedy that happened, we were all shocked and wanted to support Michael as much as I can.”
In total, they raised over $15,000 to help the families with funeral and medical expenses, bringing the grand total of the GoFundMe to over $100,000.
A deeply moving moment for Anderson, who sees how the light of his beloved friends is still shining brightly in the biking community.
“I feel in my heart that all five of our family were in that halo, watching us and smiling,” he said.