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Cyclist Was Ready to Explore the World

Friends and coworkers remember Venice resident Erin Galligan, killed this week in a tragic hit-and-run crash on Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica.

When Ashley Hillyerd stands at the altar next month, her best friend won't be there to hold her bouquet or fasten her bustle.

Her maid of honor, Erin Galligan, befriended her more than two decades ago in third grade when Hillyerd was the new girl at Hamilton Elementary School in Stroudsburg, PA. "She took me under her wing," Hillyerd recalled.

They grew up together, joining the 4-H Club and then the swim team in high school. They chose the same college, Temple University in Philadelphia. When Galligan fulfilled a lifelong dream of living at the beach by moving thousands of miles away to Venice, they remained close.

But fourth months shy of her 30th birthday, and just a few weeks from her best friend's wedding, Galligan was .

The impact reportedly dragged her bike nearly a half mile and Galligan was pronounced dead by authorities shortly after the crash Tuesday night.

"I was more of the realistic one; she was a dreamer," Hillyerd said. "She would do anything for anybody. She was so kind and caring and just loving."

Gilligan moved to Venice in 2009.

She worked at the Manhattan Beach Post restaurant for about six months in 2011 as a server and would ride her bike to and from each shift, said Jerry Garbus, general manager of the restaurant.

"She was really a great girl," Garbus said. "She was a bright, fantastic, warm, loving person. She smiled a lot and laughed a lot. We really enjoyed her energy and we'll miss her very much."

Garbus said he forged a friendship with Galligan and noted that she was well-liked at the restaurant.

"Everyone here is in shock and obviously saddened," he said. "We wish the best for her friends and her family. Chef David (LeFevre) sends his love and I send my love."

Galligan mostly worked restaurant jobs after earning her bachelor's degree in psychology, Hillyerd said.

She was fit, just beginning to learn to surf, and was saving money to travel. A recent trip took her to Bali for about a month and a half. She was looking into international teaching programs.

At one point, she was also employed as a waiter at Craig's Restaurant in West Hollywood. The staff there mourned the loss Thursday.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Erin Galligan," the restaurant wrote in a statement. "She was not only an incredible employee, but more importantly an outstanding friend and person. We will greatly miss her. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family."

Hillyerd flew to the Westside in October to ask Galligan to be her maid of honor. They rode bikes, took a turn on the carousel on the  and spent time catching up.

"We just talked. She was always missing us," Hillyerd said. "She missed her friends, her family. It was a great trip."

Galligan had wanted friends to move out to California with her, but none were ready for such a big change.

"So she just did it herself. We were so proud of her," Hillyerd said. "I'll miss hearing her voice, having a hug from her... just her smile."

Police are still searching for the truck that hit Galligan. It was described as a white 1999 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 extra cab truck, with damage to the front grill, hood and headlight.

Nick Frazee July 13, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Tragic. Be careful on your bikes - I ride 2 miles to work everyday and always try to stay super, super defensive -
Cesar Chavez July 13, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Erin was my tenant and she was a great person always smiling and was saving to travel the world. She loved animals and love meeting new people. She was a kind person and we'll miss her always. It's tragic that the person that hit her did not stop, it was a clear accident and maybe something could have been done to save her had he stopped. I ride my bike to Venice regularly and have done so since I was a kid and this is another example of the drastic increase in traffic on the west side from the over building of condo's and need for more bike lanes on streets and specially on PCH.
lahope July 13, 2012 at 04:40 PM
"When Hillyerd fulfilled a lifelong dream of living at the beach by moving thousands of miles away to Venice, they remained close" Don't you mean When Galligan fulfilled a lifelong dream....or did I miss something here?
RJ July 13, 2012 at 06:21 PM
.....Nick, sounds like you use good common sense by being "super defensive" and ride during the day. Only Ms. Galligan's friends will know why she was riding her bike on PCH 11:30 at night. With our world being video taped by anyone and everyone I hope Police and any other entity that knows of security cameras that may have captured the hit and run driver escaping checks the tapes and turns them in.
david price July 13, 2012 at 06:21 PM
any reason why she wasn't on the bike path ?
Dylan Rush July 13, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Perhaps if the bike path was adequately lit, this cyclist would have chosen to stay off PCH, and this tragedy could have been averted. This section of PCH is not commonly ridden, and for good reason. Clearly, cyclist need more options that are safer and better maintained than the bike path and narrow "bike lanes" along heavily travelled automobile routes. Local government, hear us please!
Concerned Resident July 13, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Truly a tragedy. There is an embedded mindset of reckless and careless conduct in America today. Too few people factor the impact of their conduct into their actions.
Another WorldView July 13, 2012 at 08:53 PM
It's not lit. Besides the possibility of crime - there's always the invisible (in the dark) sand-drifts, waiting to wipe you out. PCH is well-lit and 6+ lanes there, at the scene of the accident. If she got off the bus at Entrada (#9?) - as some reports have indicated - then she was just starting-out there. Perhaps she had intended to cross-over at the parking lot by the Beach house, a few blocks down. Whatever the reason - it is an unspeakable tragedy.
david price July 13, 2012 at 10:02 PM
The bike path should be lit ... that's terrible. I hope they catch this person .
Glenn E Grab July 14, 2012 at 05:42 PM
a brightly lit bike path would be a nightmare for the people that have houses on the path...
Glenn E Grab July 14, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I agree, narrow bike lanes along super busy, dangerous roads like PCH make the street a bowling alley for cars....the pins are the bicylists...I would never ride there, day or night....
Glenn E Grab July 14, 2012 at 05:48 PM
the sidewalk is legal, as long as you give pedestrians the right of way...
daisey July 14, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Nick/Rj Erin worked two jobs and rode her bike to both jobs, she was getting off of her second job that late. And her car was in the shop also, normally she would be riding miles and miles by day prior to her car. She was an avid, daily, responsible skilled cyclist. We are all guess he was drunk or texting, to flee in guilt. RIP Sweet Erin
Eddie Greenberg July 15, 2012 at 01:23 AM
It truly is a tragedy. A young life snuffed out in seconds. So unfair! My compassion is also for her parents whose lives have now been forever changed. I hope they find the driver of that truck. Had that driver stopped perhaps help might have been available sooner.
Another WorldView July 16, 2012 at 10:10 PM
The sidewalk SHOULD be legal, as it is in LA - but in SM, it is not! Of course, PCH has no sidewalk, either.
Another WorldView July 16, 2012 at 10:11 PM
There are ways to direct the light away from their places - and towards the bikepath.
Jason Chapel July 17, 2012 at 09:37 AM
A brightly lit path would be a "nightmare". I suppose if I spent millions on a house I would be appalled at the very thought of having to shut my curtains at night. Glenn you are an idiot.
Glenn E Grab July 17, 2012 at 04:18 PM
jason, you're very brave and obnoxious on paper, I doubt that you would be in person....
Gary Kavanagh July 18, 2012 at 03:20 AM
A real nightmare is realizing someone you love is never coming home again. Something Glenn E. Garb seems incapable of having any sympathy for. Those of us who travel without cars, we're all just bowling pins to the Glenn E. Garbs of the world.
Parker July 18, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Yeah let's have an Internet fight and nitpick in a memorial Article comment forum and I would be braver In Real life... Cause in real life..your a moron
Chandra Kent July 21, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Glenn, you should be embarrassed of yourself.
Dylan Rush July 24, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Glenn, I hesitate to call you an idiot, but I do think that if it's between someone's life versus the annoyance of a streetlight, it's a pretty obvious choice. Besides, the residential areas along the bike path are somewhat lit already ... it's the rest of it that is the problem. Believe me, if you live on Ocean Front Walk, you want lighting! Maybe Jason is on to something ... ;)

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