Without any leads or suspects, the Houston Police Department's hit-and-run unit continues its investigation into the death of Chelsea Norman — a Whole Foods staffer who was fatally struck by an unknown driver while cycling home from work on Sunday night.
Friends and family have set up a makeshift memorial for the 24-year-old San Antonio native, piling flowers and candles at the scene of the accident on Waugh Drive just south of West Gray.
One of the few bystanders, a man who made the 911 call, told KHOU Channel 11 that he didn't see the vehicle that hit Norman and sped away without rendering aid. He said the victim's shoes and personal items were scattered across the intersection as an emergency personnel arrived to rush her to Memorial Hermann–Texas Medical Center.
Boyfriend Larry Villalobos tells the Houston Press that Norman was found on Waugh lying face up in the bike lane with her bicycle 20 to 30 feet away in the opposite lane. The victim, who was not wearing a helmet, died from her injuries at Memorial Hermann on Wednesday.
To honor their colleague, Norman's fellow employees at the Montrose Whole Foods, where she worked as a wine specialist, will retrace her bicycle route from work to her Jackson Street apartment. The event, dubbed Complete Chelsea's Ride, begins at the grocery store on Sunday at 9 p.m. with the official ride at 10:17 p.m., the time Norman left Whole Foods that horrific night.
Those close to the victim are expected to erect a Ghost Bike — a somber streetside mark memorializing the accident site with a bicycle painted completely white. A GoFundMe site has been set up to help support the Norman family.
" We want to get the word to both drivers and cycles that we have to work together."
Houston's tightly-knit cycling community will host another memorial ride on Wednesday with the added hope of raising awareness about how vehicles and bikes can share the road. "We're looking to do something positive while honoring Chelsea at the same time," Fab Ordonez, one of the organizers of Wednesday's event, tells CultureMap.
"There's a growing movement of cyclists in Houston and she was a huge part of that. People aren't going to stop cycling at this point, and we want to get the word to both drivers and cycles that we have to work together."
Ordonez calls the Waugh corridor in and around Buffalo Bayou Park a "disaster for cyclists" with huge open gaps on the Waugh Bat Bridge and traffic barreling off four Memorial Drive clover leafs. Given its central location, the major thoroughfare remains a necessity for city cyclists, yet bike lanes exist only south of West Gray.
The Memorial Ride for a Safer Cycling Houston starts at 7 p.m. in the Montrose Whole Foods parking lot. Details are still in the works, so be sure to check out the Facebook event page for further information.
Investigators are asking those with information about the accident to contact the HPD hit-and-run unit at 713-247-4065 of Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.