April 25, 2014

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Woman’s vacation ends in tragedy

AMHERST — Roberta Blake’s trip to Hawaii was a dream vacation, one she planned to take with her niece for more than a year, a neighbor said.

On Tuesday, she called friends to say she was having a great time. On Wednesday, the vacation ended tragically when Blake, 65, was killed in a biking accident.

The Honolulu Advertiser reported that witnesses told Haleakala National Park officials that Blake had successfully negotiated nine miles of curved road when she lost control of her bicycle, crossed the double yellow center line and was struck by a tour van. She was participating in a downhill bicycle tour when she lost control of her bicycle.

She was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident occurred near the park’s visitor center.

Neighbor Laurel Mate said Blake was a very generous person who truly enjoyed her work as a nurse’s aide at the Crystal Waters Retirement Community and Assisted Living Facility in Strongsville.

“She was a compassionate, generous person who really enjoyed working with the elderly,” she said. “I’m going to truly miss her.”

Mate said Blake went on vacation with her niece. The women were scheduled to return Friday.

“She always dreamt about going to Hawaii,” Mate said. “When she called me Tuesday, she said she was finally able to relax and was really enjoying herself.”

The accident marks the third fatality of a bicyclist within a year at the park.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.