Three months after Robert Moldenhauer, widely known as "The Can Man," was struck and killed while crossing a Moline street, the driver is being charged.
Kristianna Granada, 26, is being charged with two counts of reckless homicide in the Dec. 12 van/bicycle crash. Bond has been set at $30,000.
She was traveling east on 6th Avenue, a one-way, when she struck Robert in the intersection at 26th Street. The incident created considerable outcry and division among many in the Quad Cities.
Some have angrily called for Granada, who was not identified until Friday, to be arrested. Others have sympathized with her, given reports of her obvious anguish, following the wreck.
At the moment Robert, 63, was hit, Tom Normoyle was leaving his house with his young son. He immediately spotted "The Can Man," whom he described as a friend he had known for 12 years and with whom he had frequent conversations. They often spoke in the alley behind his house as Robert made his can-collecting rounds.
Normoyle was horrified by what he saw. In fact, months after the crash, he said he cannot shake the images in his mind and remains concerned about his little boy's dark memories.
But Normoyle also said he has grown weary of retelling the story and of having friends and strangers rail at him for what they perceive as his opinion of Granada's level of fault.
The truth is, even though he witnessed the accident and Robert was his friend, he doesn't have a strong opinion about how the criminal charges should be resolved, he said Friday.
"I know from being there — from her emotions — it was an accident," he said. "But could it have been prevented?"
Too many people, Normoyle said, are not willing to wait for answers. They want their pounds of flesh.
"They don't take into consideration what really happened," he said. "She's at fault, but it was obviously an accident."
Normoyle has been in contact with Robert's brother, Richard Moldenhauer, who lives in California. Robert's brother said in an email Friday that he has found the wait for charges frustrating. But he also has been grateful for the contact with Normoyle, because he has had a first-hand account of what happened:
Just before 8 a.m. that day, father and son were headed for the bus stop at the corner when they saw the van strike Robert, pinning him against the windshield.
His massive collection of cans and dozens of pieces of his salvaged collection scattered throughout a block or more of 6th Avenue.
It was bitterly cold that morning, but, regardless the weather, Robert hauled his cans and other belongings in giant bags on his bicycle, which he retrofitted with a two-wheeled trailer.
Immediately after the impact, Normoyle rushed his son back into the house, then headed east on foot. Granada's van had continued along 6th Avenue, stopping only after striking a utility pole. Normoyle ran about a block, coming upon his friend, lying on the ground.
"When I got to him, I checked for a pulse," he said. "He was already gone."
He inadvertently recorded Granada's reaction to the crash, having failed to fully end a voicemail recording he was leaving on his wife's phone just as the accident occurred.
He said Moline police made a copy of the recording when they took his statement the day after the accident.
"Somebody help, please!" Granada screamed as Normoyle warned her not to look at Robert's body. She screamed frantically for an ambulance and, at one point, cried, "He came out of nowhere!"
At first, Normoyle was angry at Granada. She clearly was speeding, he said, and had failed to clear ice from her windshield.
"She hit him in the middle of the crosswalk," he said. "She never braked."
After learning the heater was broken in Granada's van and that she has several children, he softened.
He also began to consider that Robert already was in the street, that Granada's van was white and a recent snowfall blanketed the area. He began to wonder if maybe Robert didn't see her.
"I live right in front of where it happened, so I see it every day," he said Friday. "Even if I didn't, I still think about it every day — every single day."
His little boy thinks about it, too.