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Police charge woman in death of Va. Beach cyclist

The Virginian-Pilot: Police charge woman in death of Va. Beach cyclist

By Kathy Adams
The Virginian-Pilot
© November 21, 2009

VIRGINIA BEACH

Police have charged a Virginia woman with reckless driving nearly three months after a local physician died after being struck with a car.

The incident happened Aug. 25 on Port Republic Road in Harrisonburg, in the northwestern part of the state. Joseph V. Mirenda, a 49-year-old from Virginia Beach, was struck from behind while riding his bike, State Police said. He died at the scene.

Jessica L. Chandler, a 22-year-old from Port Republic, now faces a Class 1 misdemeanor charge of reckless driving. It’s punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine, plus suspension of driving privileges.

Frauke Mirenda, Joseph Mirenda’s widow, said she’s glad charges have been filed but doesn’t want Chandler to go to jail.

Police told the Mirenda family that Chandler was not talking on her cell phone or sending text messages at the time of the crash, Frauke Mirenda said.

"I feel really bad for her because I’m sure she’s going to live with this for the rest of her life," she said. "But on the other hand, I feel worse for us."

Joseph Mirenda, a father of two, had been cycling 50 miles from Wintergreen to James Madison University to surprise his son when the crash occurred, Frauke Mirenda said. He was a cardiac anesthesiologist and an avid cyclist, she said.

She said she hopes her husband’s death reminds people to be more careful on the road.