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Husband describes pain of losing wife in hit-and-run

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Clare Kirby (Source: Kirby's family) Clare Kirby (Source: Kirby's family)
Clare and Mark Kirby (Source: CBS 5 News) Clare and Mark Kirby (Source: CBS 5 News)
The Not One More Foundation, which helps families of killed and injured bicyclists, has also set up a memorial. (Source: CBS 5 News) The Not One More Foundation, which helps families of killed and injured bicyclists, has also set up a memorial. (Source: CBS 5 News)
(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
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MESA, AZ (CBS5) -

Clare Kirby was one of two people killed in two separate crashes along Usury Pass in Mesa Wednesday morning.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said 73-year-old Marie Blandford, of Payson, is responsible for both.

Deputies said she hit Kirby as the 46-year-old Mesa woman rode her bike near Bush Highway and Usury Pass.

Blandford then took off, leaving Kirby to die. Police said Blandford then slammed into a pickup truck more than six miles away, at the intersection of Ellsworth and McKellips.

The driver of the truck, 72-year-old Phillip Williams, was killed.

"Just the feeling of sudden loss," Mark Kirby said as he described the pain of losing his wife of 18 years. "Sudden, total, unexpected loss."

Clare Kirby was the mother of four children, ranging in age from 8 to 18.

"Right now, with the four little guys, just getting through each day at a time," Mark Kirby said contemplating the healing process.

The family moved from England to the United States in 1999.

Since then, he said his wife was active in the Mesa community and had a true zest for life.

"Outdoor life, camping, Girl Scout leader – as well as a kindergarten teacher," said Mark Kirby as he described Clare Kirby's many passions.

She began cycling about eight years ago, participating in several annual events including the Tour de Mesa and Tri for the Cure.

Clare Kirby often rode her bike through the hills of the Tonto National Forest, where she was killed during her morning ride Wednesday.

But her husband said whenever she hit the road, she always took precaution.

"She always made sure that we both wore safety gear - florescent, visible shirts and helmets," said Mark Kirby.

As his family moves forward, Mark Kirby said he's grateful for the support of their Arizona friends.

 "Living in the environment we're living in - moving from one country to this country - people that'd we'd associated as friends are now more family than friends," he said.

A memorial fund has been set up in Clare Kirby's name.

You can donate at any Wells Fargo bank.

The Not One More Foundation, which helps families of killed and injured bicyclists, has also set up a memorial - including a ghost bike, cross and flowers – on Usury Pass south of Bush Highway.

Meantime, MCSO tells CBS 5 News Blandford is in stable condition at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center.

Charges against her are pending.

Click here to learn more about Not One More Cyclist.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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