FALLBROOK, Calif. — More than a hundred friends and family members paid tribute Monday morning to a cyclist killed by a driver suspected of DUI last week in Fallbrook.
Paul Burke, 59, was killed Tuesday afternoon in the Pala Mesa area on Old Highway 395 south of Pala Mesa Drive. He was a husband and father who ran a surf shop in Oceanside.
“Just to see all the faces — know how much this would mean to Paul. To see the support and how much he was really loved — it’s unbelievable,” said Laura Burke, the victim’s wife.
The driver, 19-year-old Sulem Garcia, pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence of drugs and vehicular manslaughter.
“Witnesses saw her car swerve off the roadway, strike the bicyclist and swerve back onto the roadway. Ultimately, her car wound up off the right shoulder,” said Deputy District Attorney Bob Bruce.
Garcia stayed at the crash scene and cooperated with investigators who took her into custody.
“It’s a nightmare. Accidents happen, but something like this could’ve been avoided,” said Burke.
Garcia does not have a criminal history. If convicted, she could get a maximum of 10 years in prison. Her bail is $750,000 and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 11.
Burke’s family has set up a GoFundMe account.