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Bicyclist Killed On Franklin Ave. Wore Helmet, Lights, Just Moved To Mpls.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- An experienced bicyclist who recently moved to Minneapolis was run over and killed Monday night by an alleged drunk driver.

Marcus Nalls was biking home from his new job at the downtown Hyatt Regency. He was then run over by a van on West Franklin Avenue and pinned underneath. Crews had to use special equipment to lift it off him.

The 26-year-old came to Minneapolis from Atlanta to be part of the Hyatt Regency's culinary management training program. He had aspirations of being an executive chef.

Nalls was hired as a cook at the Atlanta Hyatt in 2007 and within five years was placed in their management program. He was transferred to Minneapolis and was here for only a month.

His co-workers say he had a personality that won people over instantly.

"Marcus just had that infectious smile, his personality was as big as day, and he made friends very, very quickly here," said Mark Becker, the downtown Hyatt general manager.

He said Nalls was excited to be in Minneapolis, ready to explore the city via its renowned bike trails.

"When Marcus and I spoke over the phone, he said 'I have to tell you I've done so much research on Minneapolis…I can't wait to get there, I know I'm coming in the winter, but I'm still going to ride my bike,'" Becker said.

Nalls did everything right, Becker added. He paid attention to detail, wore a helmet and had lights on the front and back of his bike.

"He chose to live close so he could ride his bike back and forth to work," Becker said.

Nalls was riding home from work, when the van traveling west on Franklin Avenue came over the hill and hit him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Honestly we still can't believe it," said Aaron Hagerdon, an executive chef who worked with Marcus in Atlanta and was one of the first to greet him when he moved to Minneapolis.

He also said Nalls was excited about riding his bike in winter.

"We talked about it to make sure he had the proper attire to ride in the cold, and he talked to numerous people about riding here in the winter," Hagerdon said.

The driver that hit Marcus, 49-year-old John Iverson, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, but has not been charged. He was released from custody Wednesday, records show. A toxicology report will have to completed before possible charges come down. 

Witnesses said Iverson weaved across the lanes the night of the incident. When he got to Harriet and Franklin, his van reportedly veered right, hit a parked car and shoved it into the snow bank. Seconds later, Iverson struck Nalls.

A memorial service is set for next Saturday in Atlanta for Nalls. His family says he was an organ donor and through his death, he's saved the lives of others.

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