Organizations pushing for bicycle safety in Baylor student’s honor

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October 6, 2016 was a hard night for former Baylor professor Trent Dougherty.

“This was a 19-year-old kid with his whole future before him,” Dougherty said. “I answered immediately thinking it might be something urgent. She was actually calling from the scene of the accident at the time.”

19-year-old David Grotberg and his girlfriend were riding their bikes after a night at the movies. The Baylor student was hit and killed by a driver who took off on Franklin Ave.

“This was all very shocking that this would happen to people so very close to me,” Dougherty said.

Three years later and finally some closure. Waco police arrested 50-year-old Tammy Blankenship Harlen. 

“When we had an event at the honors college, everybody had a story. Everyone had some connection with David,” Dougherty said.

In honor of his student, Dougherty helped start a bicycle safety commission, hoping to make changes with the city.

“Part of the fundamental problem was that there was no guidance for students. As to where it was safe to ride and where it wasn’t. So they just had to make their best guess,” Dougherty said.

The commission has spent the last three years working with city leaders, bringing in new ideas to keep commuting cyclists safe.

“We worked very hard to get bike lanes, bike routes, signage, designations,” Dougherty said. “Theres a whole array of instruments that will promote bike safety.”

Dougherty says it’s all in memory of his former student. 

“We have put a ghost bike. It’s painted all white and we chained and padlocked it to a street sign there so that it stands as a reminder for people who drive by that a life was lost here,” Dougherty said.

FOX 44 also spoke to Grotberg’s father who says he’s grateful for the Waco police officers investigation and the Baylor community for their support.

David’s family and the Baylor Baylor Golden Wave Band also has an annual scholarship in his honor. It is given to a student in the program each year.

If you’d like to donate to the scholarship, click here.

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