The driver involved in the near Purgatory Chasm last Thursday said the sun’s glare prevented him from seeing 42-year-old Middletown resident Michael Strickland on his bicycle, police said today.
The accident occurred at approximately 5:35 p.m. that day.
According to the report, the driver, 51-year-old Portsmouth resident Arthur Chapman, was coming up the hill when he saw a truck at the top.
“I had slowed to make the turn at Tuckerman. I accelerated to take the turn and was hit by the bike. I never saw him. The sun was directly in my eyes; I was traveling no more than 15 mph," Chapman reportedly told police.
A witness walking his dog in the area at the time of the accident told police the cyclist, Strickland, was traveling fast down the hill towards the beach when it collided with Chapman’s car as it was turning onto Tuckerman.
According to the police report, Strickland was then ejected from his seat and came into contact with the front windshield of Chapman’s vehicle. Strickland then fell from the vehicle and landed on the pavement.
Chief Ron Doire said the department was at the scene within three minutes. The department transported Strickland to Newport Hospital, and from there he was later transfered to Rhode Island Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said they did not perform drug or alcohol tests in their investigation.