An Australian tourist riding a rental bicycle near New York City’s Central Park was fatally struck by a garbage truck whose driver told police he’d drunk two beers prior to the accident, PEOPLE confirms.
Police say Madison Jane Lyden, 23, veered from the bike lane in which she was traveling after another vehicle pulled into her path and then was hit by the truck driven by 44-year-old Felipe Chairez about 4:45 p.m. Friday on Central Park West.
Lyden was taken to a hospital where she later died from her injuries.
In court Saturday, Chairez was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, after police who encountered him at the scene of the accident wrote in a court affidavit that he had watery and bloodshot eyes and registered a .04 blood-alcohol level, which is the legal limit for drivers of commercial vehicles, reports The New York Times.
It could not be determined if Chairez had entered a plea. His attorney, Kenneth Ware, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s call for comment.
“Our girl was on the trip of a lifetime, and she’d only spoken to me I think the previous day … and said, ‘Dad, can you believe your little girl is in New York City?'” Lyden’s father, Andrew Lyden, told the Tasmanian broadcast outlet Southern Cross News. “For her to be taken from us in such a horrific way is gut-wrenching. Words can’t describe how heartbreaking this is.”
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“Madison was a beautiful, beautiful daughter. She was loyal and loving,” he told the outlet. “I used to call her our star, and she was a star.”
Lyden’s Facebook page said she worked as a swim instructor.
According to a statement from NYPD: “An investigation revealed that the female was riding a bicycle northbound on Central Park West, in the bicycle lane, when a black Toyota livery vehicle pulled out into the bike lane from a stopped position. The cyclist swerved and was struck by a private carting truck.”
No charges were filed against the driver of the vehicle that pulled in front of Lyden.
Chairez was released without bond on his own recognizance after a judge temporarily suspended his driver’s license, the Times reports.