Friends remember deceased bicyclist as devoted father, husband a - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Friends remember deceased bicyclist as devoted father, husband and lover of life

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OREGON (WKOW)-- In life we carry many titles, both personally and professionally. Looking back on his friend Shelton Berel, Vishal Jain, who has known Berel since middle school, says husband and father were the two most important to him.

"All he could talk about is he wanted to be a good dad. He wanted to give his kids and his family the opportunities he didn't have," Jain says.

Berel was hit and killed near the intersection of Hillcrest Lane and Lincoln Road in Oregon early Friday morning. He was riding his bike as part of his training for an upcoming triathlon when a truck hit him and never stopped.

Authorities have tentatively charged the driver, 35-year-old Kevin Meister, with felony hit and run causing death. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday.

"More than knowing what had happened, it's how it happened, you know? And being hit like that in that scenario that is just shocking in itself," Jain explains.

Friends say Berel grew up in Louisiana and moved to Madison in 2006. He left the area in 2011, but decided to return to Madison in 2014 to raise his young daughter. For the last two years he had been working at the University of Wisconsin Madison as a computer programmer.

"He worked his entire life to build a career and get the education and just provide for his family," Jain explains.

That family is about to get even bigger. Jain says Berel and his wife had recently discovered they were pregnant with their second child.

"That just makes this all the more tragic," Berel says. "He's been there for us all these years, we want to be there for him now."

Since hearing the news, Jain says several friends and family members have flown into Madison from all corners of the country. He and others have created a GoFundMe Page to help the family with his funeral expenses.

Berel's untimely death has also sent a shockwave through the cycling community. A group of bicyclists held a memorial ride Saturday in his honor. Local bikers are also avoiding the intersection where he was killed.

"The bicycling traffic on Lincoln is way down," Oregon Bike and Skate shop owner Scot Williams says. "I'm that position too. Do I really want to go on that road right now? Probably not."

Williams knows that intersection like the back of his hand. He says he rides it a few times each week.

"That's my commuting route. I just live off Lincoln."

He says the accident has caused many bicyclists, himself included, to consider their own personal safety.

"It's on everybody's mind. It's something to think about," Williams says.

To learn more about the GoFundMe Page set up for the family of Shelton Berel, click here.

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