'He was so happy to be on his bike, doing what he loved'
KOMO News, September 12, 2011
In a business where time is money, Robert Townsend was at the top of his game.
"He was fast - very fast - and happy," said Sarah Staples, Townsend's coworker at the Jimmy Johns sandwich shop in the University District. "He was having the best time on his bike, so at least he was having fun in the end."
Police say Townsend was just a few blocks from work Saturday night delivering sandwiches near the University of Washington when he was hit and killed by a car. Investigators believe Townsend was heading south on University Way Northeast, when a driver turned into him. The impact threw the 23-year old Arlington native from his bicycle.
"He was doing what he loved. There's no denying that," said Kaleo Rendoni, Townsend's friend and coworker. "Robert loved his bike, and he loved Jimmy Johns. He loved everyone that worked there and we all loved him back."
At the crash site Sunday, friends left a white bicycle wheel and attached a large cross. A father mourned the son he taught to ride a bike.
"He had the heart and soul to do it," said Robert Townsend, Sr., holding back tears.
Friends said they often called Townsend by his middle name, Storm, and that he lived up to it, tearing up the road like a tornado and delivering sandwiches twice as fast as the next guy.
"It's just so hard to believe," said coworker Steven Cole. "He was like the anchor for the store."
"I lost my best guy yesterday," Rendoni added.
Investigators say Townsend was heading downhill at the time of the crash and might not have been able to stop his bike in time. The driver of the car was not impaired at the time of the accident, police added. As of Sunday night, no charges had been filed in the case.
"It'd make me smile every time I'd see him on a bike," said coworker Nick Haggard. "He'd have the biggest most childish grin on his face because he was so happy to be on his bike and doing what he loved."