The parents of a young Australian tourist who was allegedly killed by a drunk driver while cycling near Central Park have broken their silence.
Madison Jane Lyden, originally from Tasmania, was killed when the rental bike she was riding was hit by Felipe Chairez’s truck near Central Park on Friday, police said.
The young tourist, who had only touched down with friends days earlier, swerved to avoid an Uber, which pulled into the bike lane when she was struck, police said.
Madison Jane Lyden, 23 (pictured), was killed in New York after being hit by a garbage truck after trying to avoid a car which cut her off
Madison’s family broke their silence about the 23-year-old, who had just finished a four-year degree at university and was looking to apply for her masters (Pictured: Madison’s father Andrew Lyden (centre) and Madison’s twin Paige (right))
Madison’s family spoke to Southern Cross News about the ‘beautiful, loyal and loving’ 23-year-old, who had just finished a four-year psychologist degree at university and was looking to apply for her masters.
Her father, Andrew Lyden, said: ‘She had only spoken to me the previous day, or the day before, and said “Dad, can you believe your little girl is in New York City?”‘
‘And for her to be taken from us in such a horrific way is gut wrenching. Words can’t describe how heartbreaking this is.’
Madison’s twin sister Paige said that she ‘didn’t know where to begin with what Madison meant’ to her and her family.
The garbage truck driver who hit Madison has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
However, he claims he wasn’t influenced by the alcohol he had been drinking because he ate a chicken sandwich before driving, a court has heard.
Prosecutors allege three empty beer cans were allegedly found inside Chairez’s truck after it was stopped, according to the New York Post.
Madison’s twin sister Paige (pictured left with her mother Amanda Berry) said that she ‘didn’t know where to begin with what Madison meant’ to her and her family
Madison (centre) was on a trip in the United States with friends when she was killed while riding a bike near New York City’s Central Park on Friday (US time)
But Chairez’s lawyer claimed the alcohol wouldn’t have affected his driving because of what he ate.
‘If he had a chicken salad sandwich, the alcohol may have been absorbed by the lunch he had,’ lawyer Kenneth Ware said.
Chairez, 44, was arraigned on the misdemeanor charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and was ordered to give up his driver’s licence.
Madison was riding a bicycle past Central Park in New York’s City’s Upper West Side about 5pm on Friday when she was struck and killed
According to court documents, Chairez’s blood alcohol level was between 0.04 and 0.06 at the time of the crash.
Madison was rushed to the Roosevelt Hospital after being hit, but attempts to revive her failed.
Images from Madison’s social media show her and her friends enjoying a number of tourist attractions during their dream trip around the United States.
They include a ride in a double-decker open-top bus in New York and posing in front of a large fountain, likely in Central Park.
The girls looked to be making the most of the once-in-a-lifetime trip as they travelled around one of the world’s most famous cities.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who said a full investigation would be launched into the fatal incident
Madison was rushed to the Roosevelt Hospital after being hit, but attempts to revive her failed
The 23-year-old was killed when the rental bike she was riding was hit by Felipe Chairez’s truck near Central Park on Friday, police said
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told CBS News a full investigation would be launched into the fatal incident.
‘It’s just disgusting what happened here, a 23-year-old, in the bike lane, and of course there has to be a full investigation,’ he said.
‘This is another example, from my point of view, of the danger of reckless driving. We’re going to make sure there’s a full investigation and we’re going to make sure that there are real consequences if anything happened here that was illegal.’
NBC New York reported Madison was travelling northbound inside the designated bike lane when a car pulled out in front of her causing her to swerve.
While trying to avoid the car Madison swerved into traffic and was hit by the truck which travelling in the same direction.
An NYPD spokesman said a Toyota pulled out in front of Madison, news.com.au reported
An NYPD spokesman said a Toyota pulled out in front of Madison, news.com.au reported.
‘An investigation revealed that the female was riding a bicycle north bound on Central Park West, in the bicycle lane, when a black Toyota livery vehicle pulled out into the bike lane from a stopped position,’ the spokesman said in a statement.
‘The bicyclist swerved and was struck by a private carting truck, which was also travelling north bound on Central Park West.’
The driver of the car and the truck both remained at the scene to give NYPD officers their statements while the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad investigate.
The driver of the car and the truck both remained at the scene to give NYPD officers their statements while the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad investigated