NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - They rode in solidarity. Hundreds of cyclists, traveling along Esplanade Saturday afternoon (March 9), taking the same route Sharee Walls and David Hynes took just last week before they were hit by a suspected drunk driver, after the Endymion parade.
Walls’ father, Cardies, tearfully addressed his fellow mourners.
“I came today for my daughter, Sharree, if everybody know her, they would love her, as a daughter as well" Cardies Walls said. "She’s probably the best daughter, the best daughter that anyone could have.”
The victims’ families stood shoulder to shoulder in the Bayou St. John neighborhood, with friends and strangers, many who wanted to pay their respects and issue a call for change. Nellie Katzen, a friend of the victims, pointed out while what happened last week was devastating, it was not unique.
“What happened last week was senseless and it was tragic and it happens all the time," Katzen said.
Another man chimed in.
“We need to do better, we all need to do better," he said.
As loved ones watched with tears in their eyes, ghost bikes, symbolizing the two lives lost, were hoisted through the crowd, eventually placed at the exact spots where Walls and Hynes lost their lives. For David Hynes family, the gesture was overwhelming.
His best friend, Sean Pool, thanked the community for their support.
“It’s really touching to see the support from the community," Pool said. "There’s nothing that anyone can do to make it better so we’re just trying to take solace in what’s happening here.”
The hope is that the ghost bikes will incite some sort of change, according to organizer Quentin Price.
“[They are] supposed to be a sign, not just a memorial, but a sign to other people that they have to slow down and keep their eyes open,” Price said.
A sign that will hopefully save innocent lives, like Sharree Walls and David Hynes, and prevent any other family from enduring this unspeakable pain.
The man arrested for the crash, Tashonty Toney, remains behind bars on a $500,000 bond. He’s the son of an NOPD officer, who allegedly told cops on the scene he has a drinking problem.
Seven other people were injured in the crash.
Toney is charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, 11 counts of vehicular negligent injury and one count each of reckless operation of a motor vehicle and hit-and-run.