MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The death of a bicyclist on his way to work five-and-a-half years ago is still fresh in the minds of Minneapolis Police.
Jim Nisser, 65, was killed in the early morning hours of Sept. 11, 2008. He was biking to his job at the Minikahda Club near Lake Calhoun when he was struck from behind by an SUV at the intersection of Excelsior Boulevard and 32nd Street in Minneapolis.
The driver didn’t stop and still hasn’t been caught, but Lt. Chris Hudok of the Traffic Investigations Unit says they do have evidence that may help to identify the SUV.
“It appears that the victim was dragged for some distance and the vehicle continued to flee after he was dislodged from the vehicle,” Hudok said.
He says the analysis of paint chips at the scene have given police a good description of the vehicle that hit Nisser.
“Based on the evidence, it should be a 1996 to 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee, light brown color,” he said.
And based on experience, Hudok says some cold cases do get solved, and the collision that killed Nisser could be one of them.
“We’re hoping that somebody will have either seen the collision, or heard some information about it,” he said. “Perhaps a body shop can recall working on a vehicle of this description with that type of damage.”
With warmer weather soon to come, Hudok says cyclists should remember what it takes to safely share the road with motorists. More precautions should be taken beyond wearing a helmet.
“Light-colored or reflective clothing, especially in the evening hours, is helpful,” Hudok said. “Reflectors, bicycle lights, things of that sort are also great for increasing visibility and safety.”
No witnesses ever came forward to police in Nisser’s case. Police say it’s quite possible the driver was intoxicated and panicked, but may now be ready to talk about it.
Investigators say Nisser was doing “everything right,” and they continue to look for the driver.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information on this case is urged to call 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or text TIP674 plus your information to 274637 (CRIMES).
People can go to http://www.crimestoppersmn.org and click on “Give a Tip.” All callers are given a unique identifier and no names are used.
Minneapolis Police also want to warn both motorists and bicyclists to be on the lookout for each other as the weather warms and summer approaches.
Data shows that drivers and bicyclists are equally responsible for causing bicycle crashes. More information can be found at http://www.minneapolismn.gov/bicycles.