In the days since her husband’s death, Donna Garske has ridden past the spot where he died in the company of a small but caring Hilton Head Island community.
Bicyclists and friends who knew Jeff Garske are now helping his widow come to terms with the loss after he was killed in a hit-and-run crash on the Cross Island Parkway near Marshland Road as he rode his bicycle last week.
They will be with them Thursday when he’s laid to rest.
“There are a lot of people on the island who knew Jeff, and the cycling community is close-knit,” Donald Veitch, owner of Road Fish Bike Shop on Hilton Head, said Tuesday. “His wife Donna is amazing. We’ve already ridden three times since Jeff’s death. She’s out and involved.”
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Jeff Garske, 66, died at the scene of the crash around 5:45 p.m. Aug. 18.
Veitch said he knew Jeff Garske for several years because they both rode bicycles. He said Jeff Garske rode often on the Cross Island.
“We all do,” Veitch said. “We actually consider that the safest place on the island.”
Veitch said Jeff Garske was always involved and helping others, including in many athletic organizations across the island. He was an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine doctor and is survived by his wife, two children and two grandchildren.
“Jeff touched people all the way through Savannah and the Carolinas,” Veitch said. “He’s been through a lot, and he always got back on his bike.”
To honor Jeff Garske, cyclists are invited to gather at the entrance of Honey Horn on Thursday to escort the Garske family to the Long Cove Club.
The ride will depart at 4 p.m. Donations to the Hilton Head Cycling Club/Jeff Garske Memorial Fund are also welcome and can be sent to P.O. Box 3, Hilton Head Island, SC 29938.
The ride will be followed by funeral services at 5 p.m. at the Long Cove Club.
Suspect remains jailed
Richard Alford, 64, has been charged with felony driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death in connection with the death of Jeff Garske.
The 2011 Ford pickup he was driving allegedly ran onto the roadway’s shoulder and struck Garske, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
Alford then left the scene, the patrol said. He was still being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center on Tuesday afternoon, according to the jail’s records. His bond has been set at $50,000.