Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sidewalk Memorial to Bicyclist Killed at Park and University

story and photo by LEO E. LAURENCE

Copyright © 2008 by Leo E. Laurence • All rights reserved

Over 100 burning candles and dozens of fresh flowers on the sidewalk at Park and University Avenues made up two special memorial tributes to Atip Ouybron, 22, a popular Thai who worked at Trader Joe’s in Hillcrest.

He was enrolled at City College for the fall, but was killed on July 19 when broadsided by a truck as he rode his bicycle through the Park/University intersection seen in the background.

At the center of the main memorial is a bike without rubber tires and painted white, with about a dozen chain locks on it.

“It’s a ghost bike, and people wanted to leave a piece of themselves with the memorial,” explained Mike Lashua, an “old roommate for a long time.”

For days, his friends maintained a constant vigil by the two floral tributes, one at the intersection’s northeast corner and a second on the median.

Ouybron was special, according to co-workers at Trader Joe’s.

“He didn’t walk, he floated,” said Taylor Jordan at the store.

Trader Joe’s staff is considering “doing something” as a memorial to their former employee, says Laurie Kuchinsky, the store’s manager. “It’s really raw for the group” to make any decisions now, so soon after the fellow’s sudden death, she added. In about two weeks, some decisions will be made.

Police media specialist Detective Gary Hasson said Ouybron wasn’t wearing a helmet when he was struck and killed, “and might have lived if he had a helmet.” Helmets are required by law for those under 18, but not for adults, according to police traffic Sgt. Jeff Fellows.
“We are all wearing helmets now,” said Atip’s close friend, Lashua.

Contact Leo E. Laurence at or call (619) 757-4909.

Photo Caption: Close friends of Atip Ouybron, 22, tend a floral me-morial at the northeast corner of University and Park (seen in background) where he was killed while riding his bicycle on July 19.