Cyclist struck in Bisbee by hit and run motorist, investigators say

Two Bisbee officers investigate a hit and run crash that occurred on State Route 80 eastbound at the Lavender Pit on Friday afternoon.   

BISBEE— A bicyclist was struck by a hit-and-run motorist on State Route 80 at the Lavender Pit early Friday afternoon and the driver was arrested a few hours later, investigators said.

The victim, whose name has not been released, remains in critical condition, police said Saturday.

The motorist was identified as 23-year-old Noe Jesus Smith of Douglas.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety said Smith struck the bicyclist on the east outer lane of State Route 80 at the Lavender Pit just after 1 p.m. Friday. He bolted from the scene and was stopped a few minutes later by police, but then ran off, said DPS spokesman Bart Graves.

Smith was found a few hours later and booked into Cochise County Jail just after 9 p.m. Friday, jail records show. He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with death or injury, failure to remain at the scene of an accident, aggravated assault causing serious injury, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, no valid driver’s license and failure to pay a fine.

The victim’s bicycle was in two pieces, one of the tires several feet from the mangled bike on the outer lane of the highway. Three Bisbee officers at the scene were taking measurements and diverting traffic.

That stretch of road between Old Bisbee and the Lowell neighborhood of Bisbee has been problematic for years as pedestrians and bicyclists have navigated their way along narrow sidewalks and zero bike lanes.

Drivers often whip around the curves even though the posted speed limit is 35 and 40 mph at certain sections.

Bisbee city officials are studying a plan to build both a walkway and bicycle lane around SR 80 along the Lavender Pit that would take pedestrians and cyclists to and from Lowell and Old Bisbee.

Smith is being held at the Cochise County Jail.