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Community honors cyclist killed in North Las Vegas crash

Updated May 22, 2022 - 3:37 pm

Theodore Black sat in a red booster bike seat as his grandfather Anthony Ventura led a group of cyclists around the North Las Vegas park where Theodore’s dad, Ben Black, would ride daily.

Ben Black’s last ride was May 15, when the 31-year-old was struck by an SUV around 8:20 a.m. near East Dorrell Lane and Bostick Weir Street. Black died at University Medical Center.

Police said the driver was not impaired but speed was suspected to be a factor in the crash.

Theodore turns 2 in a couple of months, his mom, Jessica Black, said at a memorial held in her husband’s honor Saturday night.

“It’s still so hard, so emotional, but it feels like there’s something positive about it and it felt actually really good to see my dad, my son, all my nephews and brothers just all riding around and finishing the laps that Ben used to do around this park every day,” she said. “It felt great.”

The family lives in a neighborhood near Dorrell and Bostick, and the three would do laps around the park with Theodore either on his dad’s bicycle or being pushed on his tricycle by his mom. Jessica Black, who is pregnant and expecting a daughter in October, said seeing her son ride the same route on Saturday was powerful.

“It just felt like Ben’s still here, for a moment,” she said.

Ben Black’s dad, Matt Black, said he had planned to ride with his son the morning of the crash but was unable to make it. He said Ben Black had coffee with his wife and son and then went to ride around the park like he did every morning and every evening.

“I’m holding up because of the outpouring of love and support from everybody,” Matt Black said.

Ghost Bikes Las Vegas organized the memorial and placed a white bike on the side of the road where Ben Black was struck. Founder Pat Treichel said the white bike is placed so that people driving by are reminded to pay attention when driving and to give riders the 3 feet of space required by Nevada law. The group also comforts families who have lost loved ones.

“When we lose a loved one, we lose them twice,” Treichel said. “Once when they physically leave us and the next time is when we speak their name for the last time. So we all refuse to speak their name for the last time.”

Jessica and Matt Black were the first to sign the white bike, followed by friends and family in attendance. The bike was surrounded by flowers and candles.

Treichel said drivers should keep all “vulnerable road users,” like bikers, pedestrians and motorcyclists, in mind and remember they’re “not just a guy in spandex.”

The family invited Caylie Harkness to attend the memorial. Harkness was driving to her friend’s house Sunday morning and saw people standing near the intersection and saw Ben Black in the road. She ran over and told the person on the phone with 911 that she was CPR certified.

Harkness performed CPR on Ben Black until police arrived and took over before the ambulance transported him.

“I wanted to say my piece to the family and just let them know I did what I could,” Harkness said.

A celebration of life for Ben Black was held Saturday morning in Henderson. A GoFundMe created in his honor had raised more than $107,000 as of late Saturday.

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @davidwilson_RJ on Twitter.

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