SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Donald Haushalter, 62, cycled every day through Broward County, building up his endurance and skills for a planned 120-mile round trip bike ride to Lake Okeechobee.
But Haushalter’s dream ended in the afternoon of Monday, April 22 when Sunrise Police say a hit-and-run driver struck Haushalter from behind on West Oakland Park Boulevard, threw him 20 feet from his bike and killed him.
Robin Guerire, Haushalter’s sister, said her brother was a devoted father, caretaker to his 85-year-old mother, Sarah, and the patriarch of the family.
“It is a tremendous loss for our family,” Guerire said. “He took away a very kind, loving brother, father, uncle. My nieces and nephews all loved him. They really did.”
According to a Sunrise Police search warrant, after the crash the suspected driver Travis Osorio drove off but a Sunrise officer spotted a car driving erratically, speeding through a pair of step signs and heading into a Sunrise community.
The officer followed the vehicle and “noticed a shattered front windshield with blood on it.” The search warrant says that “once outside the car, Osorio dropped to his knees and spontaneously uttered ‘I just hit someone on a bicycle.’”
Then police say “Osorio admitted to the paramedics he had been drinking vodka.” The search warrant shows the suspected driver is being investigated for DUI Manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash involving death.
No charges have been filed at this point and Sunrise Police said they are still awaiting the results of blood tests to determine the suspected driver’s blood alcohol level.
The Haushalter family wants to see the suspected driver arrested and punished. Robin Guerire said she might have been able to find forgiveness for the suspected driver but not once he drove away.
“He didn’t stay,” she said. “He ran away and left my brother to die on the street by himself and it was just heart-wrenching to me to see him laying there under that yellow tarp.”
Guerire said Haushalter was an avid cyclist who rode 20 or more miles each day and preferred to ride on South Florida roads to enjoy the scenery. She said he fell in love with cycling after his doctor recommended giving up marathon running following an injury and he enjoyed the independence it brought him.
“He had solitude and he could think things over,” she said.
Haushalter’s family said he served 11 years in the Air Force and worked in Afghanistan for 6 years during the war for an American contracting firm beginning in 2005.
“He had a sense that he had to do something. He can’t just sit by and not do anything,” Guerire explained. “He was a proud American. He always was.”