Hit-and-run bike victim worked at private club for 45 years

On September 11, 2008 around 4:20 a.m. a 64 year old St Louis Park resident with cerebral palsy was struck and killed by a hit and run driver on Excelsior Boulevard less than a block from his place of employment. The male, who will be identified by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, had been employed by the Minikahda Club in the same position since 1962 and rode his bicycle to work along Excelsior Boulevard almost every day around 4:15 a.m.

The victim, who was wearing a bike helmet, was struck by a tan vehicle and that vehicle most likely sustained right front damage. Investigators are asking that anyone with information about this case call Sgt. Bruce Folkens at 612-673-3410 or Sgt. Chris Karakostas at 612-673-3400.

The PIO contact for this case is Sgt. William Palmer.

Last update: September 11, 2008 – 2:09 PM

The bicyclist who was struck and killed before dawn this morning by a hit-and-run driver on a road near Lake Calhoun was a 45-year employee of the Minikahda Club who was on his way to work, the club’s general manager said.

Jimmy Nisser was just moments away from arriving at the club from his nearby St. Louis Park home, when a vehicle struck him shortly after 4:15 a.m. on eastbound Excelsior Boulevard near W. 32nd Street, said club manager Jim Jennings.

Nisser, 65, would ride to work during the warmer months and otherwise walked in the winter, said Jennings.

His minister, the Rev. Tim Rauk, said Nisser could not get a driver’s license because of his diminished capacity due to being born with cerebral palsy.

Nisser, one of the club’s most senior employees, did food preparation in his entire time at the club and “was one of the family here,” said Jennings. “It’s unbelievable.”

Jennings said that “it’s sick for somebody to just drive away. … Who knows what [the driver] is thinking. Not much character, that’s for sure.”

Nisser always wore a helmet and was a safe bicyclist, said Jennings, who added that he knew of no incidents Nisser ever had making the predawn ride to work.

He lived with his mother in the 3700 block of Kipling Avenue until she died about 12 years ago, Jennings said.

Nisser was a member of Wooddale Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park and started attending the church as a child with his family in about 1950, Rauk said.

Rauk said Nisser was deeply involved in the church, everything from preparing food to filling in as an usher to working the concession stand at Twins games on behalf of the church. “He loved the Twins,” Rauk said.

“I was always the first one here on Sundays, and Jimmy would the second. He’d make the coffee,” he said.

Police confirmed that Nisser was wearing a helmet when he was struck by a tan vehicle, which police suspect has right-front damage.

Having been the victim of a Hit-and-Run, this kind of thing outrages me.  A year or so ago my friend Chris was struck on Hiawatha and left on the side of the road, nearly being struck by other vehicles that followed.

I’m always taken aback by how news reports always make note of whether or not the cyclist/victim was wearing a helmet, as if that is actually going to protect you from bodily harm or death when you are hit by a car. If the cyclist isn’t wearing a helmet they make it sound as though then they were at fault, or that they deserved what they got.

It obviously didn’t help this poor guy.

My condolences to his friends and family.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Wheels said,

    I feel like we need to start showing up at the funerals of these victims in mass (with the approval of the family of coarse). Silently showing our support in the background, letting the media know of our actions, bringing attention to the issue in a subtle and supportive way.

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