CARLSBAD, Calif. — Carlsbad City Council held an emotional meeting Tuesday after a deadly electric bike crash earlier this month.
Bob Embree, and his mother and father, spoke during public comment addressing traffic concerns in their neighborhood after Embree’s wife, 35-year-old Christine Hawk Embree, was riding an e-bike with their 16-month-old daughter Delilah, when a woman driving a Toyota 4-Runner collided with them.
“I don’t want anyone to have to suffer how I’ve suffered, we were supposed to live 40 more years together, we were supposed to grow old and gray,” Bob Embree said. “My daughter, she doesn’t have a mom.”
The incident happened at the intersection of Valley Street and Basswood Avenue in Carlsbad on Aug. 7. According to family, Delilah was strapped into a bike seat wearing a helmet and was “miraculously” not hurt.
Christine’s mother-in-law, Gretchen Embree, said Christine and Delilah were on their way home from the park and that Christine was very cautious.
“Christine was the sunshine in our life,” Gretchen said.
The Embree family and many in the Carlsbad community are pushing for change.
“This is a great city, I was born and raised here but it’s not the same sleepy beach community it was 30 years ago, we have to evolve with the times,” Bob’s father Mark Embree said with tears in his eyes during the meeting.
Bob described his wife’s injuries were the worst trauma surgeons with a combined 70 years experience had ever seen.
“12 broken ribs, a broken clavicle, two punctured lungs, a massive hemothorax and every vital organ in her abdomen, destroyed, her aorta ripped off her spleen,” Bob said. “You know what hurts me, she was conscious for an hour, answering questions on her way to the hospital, my wife suffered the way no one should suffer.”
Bob recounted his wife’s last moments from the same podium he stood at 19 days before his wife was killed, when he asked city council to help address speeding drivers in his neighborhood after a car crashed on his street.
“Never in a million years did I think three weeks later, my wife would be hit,” he said.
Some solutions to speeding drivers were brought up during public comment.
“Ceramic road reflectors, dips or divets in the road, those would be the easiest solutions,” Gretchen proposed in her speech during public comment.
Carlsbad City Manager Scott Chadwick said efforts are underway to address traffic safety.
This comes after another deadly crash Monday on Carlsbad Boulevard which killed a bicyclist, who police say was hit by a speeding motorcyclist fleeing from a California State Parks officer during a pursuit.
Chadwick says he has asked the city to gather speed, traffic and collision data for the areas involved in the two recent deadly crashes. He added there is a project underway through Residential Traffic Management Program, where traffic engineers work with neighborhoods to address issues, such as speeding. He said they have completed work in 10 neighborhoods and are starting more.
“On behalf of the entire city council, we want to extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones,” Chadwick said.
Chadwick also touched on the need for more bike lanes, different kinds of crosswalk and more long-term solutions. He said there is a special mobility commission meeting Thursday where Tuesday’s public comments will be brought up as well.
Police have not said if the driver was speeding in the crash that killed Christine. Carlsbad Police said the investigation is still underway.
The Orange County Fire Association, where Bob works, has set up a Benevolant Trust fund to help him and his daughter.
A GoFundMe has raised more than $120,000, quickly surpassing its $20,000 goal.
Gretchen, a former teacher, shared an acronym during the council meeting Tuesday to remember Christine as the sunshine of their lives, and also to help drivers.
S: Stop the distraction in your car, stop using phones.
U: Understand the rules of the road. “look at the traffic, look at the e-bikes, slowdown,” she said.
N: Never take your eyes off the road