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Chico 'ghost bike' sends message to community

Published On: Oct 28 2013 08:53:00 PM CDT
CHICO, Calif. -

A 'ghost bike' has appeared on a busy Chico street, but it is not a Halloween gag, it is a memorial to a Chico State student struck and killed by a drunk driver.

The tribute was erected on Nord Avenue near where 21-year-old Kristina Chesterman, a Chico State nursing student, was killed in September.

"That was the first thing that came to my mind, was 'ghost bike,'" says Frankie Dean, a Chico real estate agent and avid cyclist. "I said it out loud. I was sitting on my sofa at home, my boyfriend is sitting next to me, and I saw the news and I said, 'Oh my god, ghost bike. She needs a ghost bike.' So I just moved forward from there."

Chesterman was struck Sept. 22 as she rode home from a daylong study session on campus, she died two days later.

"It just serves as a memorial to her and it serves as an awareness to people driving by there to slow down and to watch, watch for bikers," says Dean.

Kristina's mother, Sandra Chesterman, describes her daughter as a giving person, and with that in mind her family continues to do work in her honor.

"We decided right away that we would not let her death be in vain, that we would continue the work that she would have done," Chesterman says. "But for all of these people to come forward that we don't even know and that she didn't know, I'm just in awe of the support that we're getting."

To keep her memory alive is one thing, but Kristina's mother hopes that memory can be a positive influence.

"I want to keep this up. I want people to not forget Kristina," she says. "I want there to be a change. You know, I want good things to come from this horrific tragedy, I really do."

The grand hope is to erect a permanent memorial and also to make the place where Kristina lost her life safer for those who travel there every day.

"Maybe at some point we can do that and it can be called 'Kristina's Bi-way,' 'Kristina's Bikeway,'" says Dean. "So if we can save one life, we're happy."

The Chesterman's have set up a website to build momentum for Kristina's cause in Chico and well outside of the area.

You can check out that website by clicking here.