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'It’s a heartbreaking loss': Friends devastated over fatal hit and run

A late-night bike ride home from work turned tragic for a Fanshawe College student.

29-year-old Jibin Benoy of India was killed Sunday morning while riding across the city after a shift at a downtown London, Ont. eatery.

“Jibin has been with us since the last 10 months, so it's really heartbreaking for his loss,” says Sonu Stephen, one of his many roommates at their Highbury Avenue home. “He will always remain as a brother to us."

Benoy had the Canadian equivalent of a masters in engineering degree from India.

In October 2021 he got married, and came to Canada to enroll at Fanshawe College, while financially supporting his family back home.

Jibin Benoy was married in October of 2021, and was an exchange student from India at Fanshawe College. Benoy was killed while cycling home from work on Hamilton Road on September 18, 2022 in London Ont. (Source: Facebook)

“He was really hard working,” adds Stephen. “He was always helping in nature, and he never says ‘no.’”

On Sunday morning, after working his usual late night shift at Kluck.It on King Street, he rode his bike home and was struck and killed on Hamilton Road around 4:40 a.m.

The driver fled the scene.

“Most international students don't have adequate transport at night,” says Ibraheem Halbouni, Benoy’s boss at Kluck.It who described the relationship of all his employees as “family.”

Halbouni adds, “They don't have a car or a motorcycle, so they typically walk or ride their bikes. They start closing at 3:00 a.m. and that night specifically at 4:07 a.m. they armed the place and they left.”

Google Maps shows it as more than a six kilometre ride from work to home.

Halbouni says the staff often ride home in groups, but Benoy left his friends to finish the trek home, and was struck minutes later.

Police say an investigation has found the suspect vehicle may be a dark-coloured sedan with significant damage to the front end, hood and windshield.

“It's not a road that I would cycle on if I had the choice,” says Molly Miksa, executive director of London Cycle Link. “Like a lot of the arterial roads in the city, it's too fast and the cars are not looking for bikes.”

Halbouni says Benoy never worried about traffic as he often rode home in the middle of the night.

On Hamilton Road on Monday, some cyclists rode the sidewalk, while others braved the high speed traffic.

The fatal crash comes just days after a neighbour in the area reached out to cycling advocates.

“There is a group in the area that are looking to start a petition or in any way do some advocacy around the unsafe conditions for cyclists and pedestrians in this area,” says Miksa. “That the cars are going consistently too fast, they're loud, and there is not enough safe places to cross.”

Friends and roommates of Jibin Benoy mourn the loss of their friend. Benoy was killed while cycling home from work on Hamilton Road on September 18, 2022 in London Ont. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

A pair of online fundraisers have been started by the London Ontario Malayalee Association (LOMA), as well as Halbouni’s work family at Kluck.It.

Benoy’s friends are thankful of all the people who have helped over the past 36 hours from LOMA, the Halbouni family, and Belen Matthew, who is working with the embassy in the process of sending Benoy’s body home.

Stephen also says London police have also been supportive.

“We believe that it will continue until the culprit is caught and brought to justice,” says Stephen.

Investigators are asking anyone who was on Hamilton Road between 4:30 to 4:45 a.m., or anyone who has dash cam video that could help, to contact the London Police Service at (519) 661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Top Stories

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