Driver flees Steele Creek crash after killing cyclist wearing reflective vest, CMPD says

A car struck and killed a bicyclist wearing a reflective vest and flashing light Friday night in the Steele Creek area before fleeing the scene, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said in a news release.

Christopher Ryan Starr died at the crash scene in the 12600 block of South Tryon Street, according to CMPD. That’s near a busy commercial area where South Tryon Street intersects with Steele Creek Road. Google Streetview imagery from May 2023 shows there are no bike lanes, protected or otherwise, in the area.

Starr was bicycling in the outbound right lane near the curb. He was wearing a reflective vest and a flashing light on his helmet when he was struck by a white Mazda CX-5 driven by Christian R Diaz Castillo, police said in a news release. The car’s front right corner struck the back of the bicycle, which sent Starr flying onto the sidewalk, according to police.

Police, the Charlotte Fire Department and Medic responded around 11:29 p.m. They found a damaged bike and an unresponsive man when they arrived. Medic pronounced Starr dead at the scene, a news release said.

Speeding and reckless driving were contributing factors in the crash, police said.

Castillo fled the scene, but was located later by police officers, a news release said. He now faces charges of felony hit and run and involuntary manslaughter.

Police say the investigation remains active. Any witnesses to the crash, or anyone with information concerning the crash, can contact Detective Mercedes at (704) 432-2169 Ext No. 5 or Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600. The public can also visit the Crime Stoppers website at