CRANBERRY TWP — A tribute to a cyclist who was killed by a suspected drunken driver the day after Christmas 2018 is missing from its spot at Haine School and Rochester roads.
His mother, Christina Teimouri, wants the tribute, a ghost bike memorial, back — and is willing to accept anonymous tips or drop-offs.
The bicycle was posted at a traffic light post at that intersection in January 2019, less than a month after Alek Teimouri was struck and killed while bicycling home from his job at Mad Mex on Dec. 26, 2018. A well-known symbol, ghost bikes symbolize the location where a cyclist was killed and reminds passing motorists to be more mindful to share the road.
“I thought it was a beautiful memorial, and his life could help to save somebody else,” Teimouri said.
It had been there, memorializing the late 22-year-old, who had planned on enlisting in the Air Force and aspired to be a Special Forces paramedic, for the past 19 months. The bike was inoperable and fastened to the pole.
“I can't think of any reason for that, just somebody being terrible,” Teimouri said, describing its disappearance as “heartbreaking.”
Much of the ghost bike is “irreplaceable,” she added. Adorning the white ghost bike were streams of pink ribbon that contained messages written at Alek Teimouri's funeral as well as his Mad Mex waist pouch. A triangular sign in the frame stated Alek's name and the date he was killed.
Teimouri said she has contacted township officials and the police as well as the nearby churches, and was given no official reason why it should have gone missing. Flowers at the site remained there, which indicated to her that the memorial was taken maliciously.
She said she doesn't harbor animosity toward the driver who killed her son — it wasn't intentional. But that's a different story for whoever took his memorial, she said.
“It's almost the spot where he was killed, and they desecrated it. They intentionally had to take bolt cutters and steal that. It's worse than the accident,” Teimouri said. “It's very painful that somebody would purposely and intentionally do something so horrific.”
And while Teimouri said she is hurt somebody would take the memorial for her son, she said it can be returned or any helpful information can be given anonymously.
“Their friends would know, they would have posted something dumb on social media,” Teimouri said. “If people could just share that information anonymously, I would be very appreciative.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Cranberry Township police at 724-776-5180 or to return the memorial to the nearby All Saints Anglican Church, 1510 Haine School Road, or Cranberry Community United Church, 2662 Rochester Road.