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Suspect Apprehended in Hit-and-Run that Killed Gay AIDS Charity Cyclist

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday April 19, 2022

Andrew Jelmert
Andrew Jelmert  (Source:The Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence/Facebook)

Authorities swiftly apprehended a suspect in the hit-and-run crash that killed a 77-year-old cyclist during a training ride for an AIDS charity in Los Angeles.

"Alcohol was a factor in this collision," according to the LAPD, local news outlet NBC Los Angeles reported.

"Andrew Jelmert, 77, was a five-time participant of AIDS/LifeCycle and a member of the team Different Spokes," CBS News Los Angeles said. "He had been riding with AIDS/LifeCycle's Day on the Ride SoCal on Saturday" when he was hit while riding in Griffith Park on the afternoon of April 16.

"Police identified the driver Monday as 37-year-old Jairo Martinez, who is being held on $617,500 bail," the report continued.

"The suspect abandoned the car and ran from the scene but was found and arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter by park rangers," CBS News added.

Jelmert, a realtor, was riding in a 25 mph zone when the BMW struck him from behind, reports detailed. Martinez "was trying to pass another car when he moved into Jelmert's lane," according to the police, the Los Angeles Times reported.

One rider said that the car passed him at an estimated 80 mph shortly before the crash happened, according to reports.

"This would have been Jelmert's fifth time on the seven-day, 545-mile ride to benefit the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and Los Angeles LGBT Center," the Times detailed. "He had raised $21,000 for the June event, according to his fundraising page."

The Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, to which Jelmert belonged, posted on Instagram that the group was "devastated to learn of the tragic passing of one of our community members."

The crash sparked renewed calls to make the park safer for cyclists, the Times said, noting that "the few bike lanes that exist do not have barriers separating riders from cars, according to the L.A. Department of Transportation."

"André Goeritz, Jelmert's husband, found Jelmert's water bottles in the bushes, as well as pieces of his helmet and back wheel — an indication of how fast the driver was going," the Times said.

Goeritz told the Times: "Andrew, his life was all about giving, is all about love. It was all about just selfless service. And you know, to have to have been killed in that way — it just seems so unfair."

It was Goeritz, an avid cyclist, who got Jelmert involved in the sport, the Times recounted. "They had planned to do the charity ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles together, and Jelmert had booked the hotel rooms." Goeritz had not attended the training ride.

"We had so many plans for this year," Goeritz told the Times. "You know, planning to go camping and all kinds of stuff."

"He was super active," Goeritz went on to say. "I mean, just amazing, just an amazing human being."

Referring to the speed the car had been moving when it struck his husband, Goeritz said: "He had no chance."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.