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Cyclist recalled as energetic, take-charge person

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Gofundme site to help family of Anastasia Ciolpan, killed in Bethany crash

Coworkers are in shock following the death of Anastasia Ciolpan, a 20-year-old student from Moldova who was struck by a passing vehicle and later died from her injuries.

Ciolpan was riding her bicycle at 11:30 p.m. June 29, just south of Bethany Beach, when she was struck by a passing vehicle and thrown onto the roadway. She was taken to Christiana Medical Center where she died July 1.

Ciolpan was one of many East European students who come to the United States for summer employment. She worked as a cook at The Blue Crab in Bethany Beach, where owner Tim Haley is distraught over the tragedy.

"She was a take-charge person who was full of energy," he said of his first-year employee. "We are all in shock."

Haley said the restaurant is planning an event in her memory for friends and family, but in the meantime his wife, Liz, set up a gofundme site in Anastasia's name.

"We established this campaign to help her family with the many expenses associated with this tragedy," Liz said. "Donations will be delivered directly to Anastasia's family." Ciolpan's gofundme account can be reached at www.gofundme.com/fundforanastasia.

Ciolpan is survived by three brothers; a fourth brother also died following a car accident, Liz said.

One of her brothers is in the area settling his sister's affairs, Haley said, but he is overwhelmed by the tragedy and declined to comment.

Ciolpan's family donated her organs to the Gift of Life. "She leaves behind hopes and dreams to be realized by others through her Gift of Life," Liz said.

Police continue to investigate the crash that killed Ciolpan. The driver, Dustin L. Lowe, 23, initially drove off following the crash; no charges have been filed.

For years, Maryanne Kauffman of the Rehoboth Beach Internation Student Outreach Program and her husband, Bruce, have spent their summers teaching bike safey to students working in the Cape Region. She said she recently spent $700 on bike lights. She also hands out helmets and encourages students to wear them. "I'm pleading with them to wear helmets," she said.

Police said Ciolpan was not wearing a helmet and had no light or appropriate reflectors on her bicycle.

For Kauffman, Ciolpan's tragedy has brought back memories of last summer's death of 19-year-old Nadiia Misa, who was struck and killed while crossing Route 1 at Munchy Branch Road.

"Losing a student every year is not acceptable," she said. "I keep thinking of the families."

Although sidewalk and crosswalk improvements on Route 1 have taken some bike traffic off the roadway, Kauffman said, hazards remain when people ride on the sidewalk.

Bicyclists riding against traffic, even if they are on a sidewalk, must realize a driver pulling out of an intersection may not be looking in their direction. "Accidents are happening when students are crossing driveways, entrances and exits," Kauffman said.

One student was heading south on the sidewalk along the northbound lane and was struck as he tried to cross an intersection when a car pulled out heading north on Route 1. His injuries were minor: gravel burn and a hairline fracture to his wrist. Another student was similarly knocked off his bike and ended up with a swollen elbow, Kauffman said.

While the injuries were minor, she said, students still lost time from work.

Kauffman said she now tells students to ride on sidewalks with the flow of adjacent traffic. "Drivers aren't looking at bicyclists or pedestrians on sidewalks," she said.

Over the years, Kauffman said, the group has questioned whether giving students bikes is the right thing to do. "We continue to give bikes because we know that the students will get bikes elsewhere if we don't provide them," she said.

ISOP provides bikes to 160 students who must complete safety training and orientation, and receive a free helmet and bike light.

"The problem is there are probably more than 700 students in our area, and most of them ride bikes," she said.

Ideally, Kauffman said, if there were a continuous shuttle, students would not need bicycles. However, it would require state and local government funding.

If it were up to her and she could fund it, Kauffman said, she would provide a shuttle for students so they wouldn't have to rely on bicycles.

"It would not only serve students working in town, but other employees and visitors and local residents, like ourselves, who won't drive to Rehoboth during the season. It could be a huge solution to the nightmare that is parking," she said.



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Original Publication Date: July 8, 2016



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