Family of bicyclist killed in accident speak out

By Layron Livingston - bio | email

SMITH COUNTY, TEXAS (KLTV/KTRE) - Christine Murphy Fuller stood outside a relative's home and spoke openly about the death of her cousin, Damien Carter.

"Whoever owned that dog should have to give an account for this," she said. "They took a precious life that we're all going to miss."

Damien Carter, 19, was riding his bike along FM 2767 when witnesses say he was chased into the busy road by a dog. Damien swerved directly into the path of an SUV. He was knocked in to the middle of the road and hit by another passing car.

"He was such a special child," said Fuller.

"He was a loving, kind person," said Marianne Long, a family friend.

Family members said they have no malice toward the drivers involved in the accident. But they had a tough time understanding why the dog that chased Damien was on the loose.

"Somebody should have known that [it] was a vicious dog," said Fuller.

"That's horrible," said C.C. Callahan.

Callahan is a part-time bicycle mechanic and avid cyclist.

"People don't keep their dogs chained up, and they go after people on bikes all the time." Callahan said, unfortunately, the roadway is where riders end up.

The Smith County Animal Control Ordinance requires that dogs be retrained by 1) staying on the owner's property, 2) by a leash, or verbal heel command, or 3) secured in a vehicle.

We spoke to the owner of the dog authorities believe chased Carter into the road. Billy Herring said he does not feel responsible. "I hate that it happened," he said.

Herring said he's seen Damien ride by before, sometimes twice a day. We're told Damien had encountered Herring's dogs before and would throw rocks or sticks.

Three of Herring's dogs were in cages, Saturday afternoon. Smith County Animal Control officers are expected to pick them up, Monday.

Herring said the accident was inevitable on the busy, shoulder-less road.

"I hope something comes of this," said Fuller.

"We have to try to pick up the pieces and carry on, by the help of the good Lord," said Damien's Uncle, Johnny Blair.

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