By Claire Osborn, American-Statesman staff, Wednesday, April 19, 2006
When Gay Simmons-Posey didn't return from her Monday bike ride for hours, her husband said he became concerned.
Ron Posey said he called his wife's cell phone three times and got no answer. He got in his car at their home in the Courtyard subdivision just north of Lake Austin and started driving the route along Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360) that she usually rode, he said. "I saw the traffic blocked off, and I started getting sick to my stomach because I knew what had happened," Posey, 40, said.
He found out that his wife, also 40, had been struck and killed by a car that had fled the scene. Authorities were still looking for the driver of the car, which they think was gray or silver and might have front-end damage.
Simmons-Posey was riding north on Loop 360 about 12:30 p.m. when she crossed the exit ramp for Bee Cave Road, said Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.
As she was crossing the ramp, she had her left arm extended, apparently to show that she planned to continue riding north on Loop 360, Mange said.
A trailer hauled by a van swerved and clipped her, Mange said. Simmons-Posey fell off her bike and was hit by another vehicle headed north on Loop 360, Mange said. The driver of the van stopped, but the second driver did not, Mange said.
Posey said he and his wife were training to ride in the BP MS 150 Bike Tour from Houston to Austin this weekend.
They had done the ride for several years, as well as other rides for charity. Simmons-Posey was passionate about bicycling and wasn't worried about her safety, her husband said.
"She expressed concern about my safety," he said.
Simmons-Posey was a human resources manager for Activant Solutions, her husband said.
The couple was planning a vacation in Spain in May and had been taking Spanish lessons to prepare, he said.
Simmons-Posey grew up in Louisiana and graduated with a political science degree from Southern Methodist University, her relatives said.
A good photographer and painter, she was very athletic and devoted to her family, one of her brothers said. "She comforted me and encouraged me and was a very good sister," Chad Simmons said.
She almost died after she was ejected from her car in a collision in 1992 in Dallas, he said. She couldn't have children after the wreck and had to have her spleen removed, Simmons said.
"Her doctors told us she could not and would not live, so I kept praying for a miracle," said her mother, Annette Turner.
Turner said she was scared by the bike rides her daughter did, and told her so.
"She said, 'Well, Mother, there is an element of danger, but you just have to do the things you love to do,' " Turner recalled.
She liked doing charity rides because she wanted to do things for other people, her mother said.
"Gay always said, 'If I go through life and have not contributed something to society, I will have to consider life a failure,' " Turner said.
Debbie Collins, one of Simmons-Posey's cousins, said Gay was never afraid to tackle problems and work through them.
"One of her favorite sayings was 'Life is not about the breaths you take but the moments that take your breath away,' " Collins said.
Anyone with information about the car that left the scene is asked to call the Department of Public Safety at 997-4131.
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