'Ghost Bike' memorial pops up for hit-and-run victim - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

'Ghost Bike' memorial pops up for hit-and-run victim

ARRESTED: Edward Thomas, 62. (Source: Shreveport Police Department) ARRESTED: Edward Thomas, 62. (Source: Shreveport Police Department)

A make-shift memorial has been created for Friday's hit and run victim, Samuel Smith. From far away, it looks like a regular bike. But up close, drivers can see, the bike is actually a memorial. It's in the spot where just three days earlier police cars crowded the street, investigating a hit and run.

71-year-old Samuel Leon Smith was struck by while riding a bike along the 2400 block of Southern Avenue around 7 p.m. Friday. Smith died of his injuries shortly after arriving at LSU Medical Center. He had no identification on him.

Police say Edward Thomas, 62, turned himself in around 3 p.m. Monday. Thomas is now charged with felony hit and run driving, no drivers license and operating a vehicle while under suspension for prior offenses.

Neighbor Britteny Behan remembers finding out what happened, "I was thinking, maybe someone just fell off their bike, but it was the opposite, someone lost their life," she said. The news emotionally shook her and friend Michael Brooks.

Brooks remembers seeing Smith riding through the neighborhood on his bicycle. "It just breaks my heart, I don't know why I feel sad for the man, it just felt wrong," said Brooks.

Not much is known about the victim Samuel Smith. In fact, police say none of the area shelters recognized his name. But that didn't stop complete strangers from setting up a memorial, that not only honors his life, but serves as a warning to others. The spray painted white "ghost bike" as the sign reads, alerts drivers to "watch for bikes." Neighbors don't know who set it up. "Whoever put that memorial down its beautiful," said Behan.

The memorial displays some of Smith's belongings that were scattered during the impact. A shoe, a neck tie, chapstick and even a comb are set by the makeshift memorial, painful reminders of what happened last Friday night. Brooks and Behan added a special touch, "We went and got some more flowers and dressed the bike up for them," said Brooks.

Behan hopes the memorial serves as a chilling reminder for drivers to slow down before another tragedy like this happens again.

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