An 18-year-old motorist who crashed into and killed a man bicycling in Oak Creek on July 17 told police he blacked out just before the impact, according to a court record.
The information is included in an affidavit Oak Creek police submitted in a request for the cellphone records from the driver, Joshua Chomicki.
The police affidavit provides the first public explanation of what happened in the mysterious crash on S. Nicholson Rd., less than a half-mile north of the intersection with County Line Rd.
Sam Ferrito, 56, was killed when Chomicki hit him from behind, while driving a 2000 Pontiac Sunfire. Chomicki, a 2011 graduate and merit award winner at Oak Creek High School, lived within two miles of the crash location.
Ferrito, 56, was a chemist at Rexnord and a wedding photographer, who took up cycling in recent years and used the exercise to lose 70 pounds.
He biked the route regularly from his home a few miles north. His wife, Marcia, often joined him, but stayed home to avoid the heat and humidity that night.
According to police, Ferrito was biking southbound, but on the outer edge of the northbound traffic lane when he was hit.
Jenna Ferrito explained that her father made it a practice to bike against traffic on that particular section of road because the southbound lanes lacked a shoulder, and the foliage limited sight lines. He wanted to see cars coming toward him.
Chomicki also was southbound, and his car crossed over the centerline into the northbound lane traffic lane.
According to the affidavit, he told police he was not using his cellphone at the time and was not distracted. He “only remembers blacking out just before the impact.”
Oak Creek Police Lt. Randall Knitter said the search warrant for the cellphone records is a standard part of the investigation in such incidents. The police are waiting for a crash reconstruction from the Wisconsin State Patrol before submitting their reports to the Milwaukee County District Attorney.
The district attorney will determine whether to issue any citations or criminal charges in Ferrito’s death.
Ferrito was the second of nine cyclists killed in crashes involving motor vehicles on Wisconsin roads in 2011. Five of them, including Ferrito, were hit from behind.
The other four failed to yield the right of way and crossed into the path of the cars that hit them.