Patrick TeNyenhuis was remembered Thursday as a devoted husband and father with varied talents who died while pursuing one of his chief loves – cycling.
The Clovis man was hit and killed at Shaw Avenue east of Leonard Avenue in Clovis on Wednesday while on an early-morning ride.
Clovis police received a report shortly after 6 a.m. that a Toyota sedan rear-ended a cyclist, who was knocked down onto the side of the road along Shaw Avenue. The vehicle’s driver, who stopped on the south side of Shaw Avenue, was later released without charges after cooperating with police. The driver has not been identified by authorities.
The investigation into the collision will continue for another month or so, police said.
Clovis police Cpl. John Weaver said TeNyenhuis was wearing a helmet and was riding in a quasi bike lane – the space between the white line that divides the car lane from the edge of the road. When the Toyota struck him, TeNyenhuis hit the front bumper, windshield and hood of the car.
Weaver said bystanders, and later emergency personnel, performed CPR, but TeNyenhuis was pronounced dead at the scene. Weaver said there were no witnesses to the collision.
“Given the circumstances, it’s kind of a complicated puzzle to put together because we don’t have those eyewitnesses who can tell us what happened,” he said.
Weaver said there were no skid marks and no evidence of the vehicle braking before the crash. He said police did not conduct a field sobriety test at the scene, but as part of the investigation will look into other distractions such as texting.
In a posting on Facebook, TeNyenhuis’ wife Danell Boyles TeNyenhuis expressed appreciation for those who have reached out and said she feels “surrounded by love.”
“Patrick was the love of my life,” she wrote. “We had a wonderful life together and two beautiful daughters.”
Brother-in-law Denny Boyles remembered TeNyenhuis as an amazing man.
“We appreciate the kind thoughts and prayers of the Clovis community,” Boyles said. “Patrick touched many lives through his work, his music, and his eccentric and wonderful personality. We know that we are not alone in our grief.”
Steve Wilburn was TeNyenhuis’ friend and a fellow floorball player for 14 years. Floorball is similar to field hockey but is played indoors.
Wilburn said TeNyenhuis helped start the Fresno Floorball Club with three other men.
“He was tenacious,” Wilburn said. “The guy could run for days. He was super physically fit. He died on his bicycle, and that’s just who he was.”
Cycling community upset
The collision sparked outrage among local cyclists, especially because Clovis police initially said the driver “accidentally bumped into” TeNyenhuis. Dennis Ball, president of the Fresno Cycling Club, said he rode with a group of cyclists to the scene to try and make sense of it.
“My first thought is, there’s the 3-foot law that comes into play,” he said. “The motorist is obviously in violation. Something went wrong to cause this man to lose his life.”
But Weaver said the 3-foot law wouldn’t apply because it was not a sideswipe collision. Under California law, motorists must keep 3 feet of space between their vehicle and bicyclists when trying to pass them. In this case, however, the driver went off the road and struck the cyclist.
Ball said too many motorists are unaware of bicyclists’ rights on the road. He plans to use TeNyenhuis’ death as an educational opportunity, “to make sure he didn’t die in vain.”
“The lesson that can come out of this is, No. 1, that motorists need to be more aware of bicyclists,” he said. “We have a right to be on the road.”
Man of many talents
TeNyenhuis had a variety of interests. Wilburn said he loved his Volkswagen minibus and played several bluegrass instruments, including the mandolin. He was in a band called the Steam Donkeys.
He also traveled across California in various floorball tournaments on the team Physiomotion.
Physiomotion team captain Jason Gray said TeNyenhuis worked as a physical therapist at San Joaquin Valley Rehabilitation. He enjoyed home-brewing beer, was reliable, loved his family and had a dry sense of humor.
Gray knew TeNyenhuis for 12 years. He said one of his colleagues performed CPR on TeNyenhuis at the scene, and that TeNyenhuis didn’t suffer and died quickly. The colleague told Gray the driver was “shaking like a leaf.”
He said TeNyenhuis’ family is still determining funeral arrangements and reeling from the recent loss of several other family members.