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Husband of US diplomat killed in Bethesda crash calls for safety improvements

"If cities truly wish to make themselves walkable and bikeable to attract workers and talent, they need to do more than paint lines and bike symbols on roads."

BETHESDA, Md. — The husband of a State Department employee killed while riding her bicycle in Bethesda has started a campaign to improve roadway safety conditions.

Sarah Joan Langenkamp, 42, died last Thursday afternoon after a driver of a flatbed truck struck her in the 5200 block of River Road. Officials with the Montgomery County Police Department said she was in the bicycle lane when the driver turned into a parking lot and ran over her.

There is no word if police will file any charges as the investigation remains ongoing.

Department records listed her as an employee with the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. She worked to help fight corruption in Ukraine and provide resources to Ukrainians fighting against the Russian invasion. 

"We can confirm the death of Foreign Service Officer Sarah J. Langenkamp," a State Department spokesperson told WUSA9 in a statement. "The Department of State extends its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Ms. Langenkamp. We cannot provide further comments due to privacy and law enforcement sensitivity considerations."

A verified GoFundMe page started by her husband Daniel Langenkamp said she was with the State Department for 17 years and "had been in charge of programs to help the country's anti-corruption institutions and shepherd millions of dollars in U.S. assistance to police, border guards, and other non-military security institutions."

The family moved to Bethesda only three weeks ago after they were recently evacuated from Ukraine, where she was a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv.

Her husband said Sarah was riding from their two sons' new elementary school after orientation when she was hit. Her mother-in-law drove the children home while she rode her bike, but never made it.

"When she didn't come back after 30 minutes, the boys began to call her and she didn't answer the phone," Dan told WUSA9. "It's unbelievable to me that we have to brave streets with bike lanes that are dangerous getting mowed down by trucks in modern America. We have to face this after what we faced. It's just wrong."

A report by CBS News published in March captured how their sons were able to reconnect after the Russian invasion of Ukraine through a chance encounter at a lemonade stand.

Daniel started the GoFundMe to raise money for local and national cycling safety organizations that advocate for safer bike routes, including River Road.

"If cities truly wish to make themselves walkable and bikeable to attract workers and talent, they need to do more than paint lines and bike symbols on roads," he said. "Such bike lanes -- lacking proper barriers, truck/auto driver education, laws, and law enforcement -- are only death traps, luring innocent victims like Sarah toward them. They result in tragic deaths that leave children without parents and the world without its most talented and committed individuals."

The campaign stressed how the couple believed in becoming lifelong and committed cyclist who regularly commuted to work all over the world as part of their belief in living a healthy, humble and green life. 

"I am doing this because I am furious about Sarah's death, and I am personally committed to ensuring our mission to increase bike safety is realized," Daniel added. "Our aim will be to conduct government advocacy, raise public awareness, hire legal assistance, and improve driver education. We will strive to develop innovative tech solutions to create a world where bikers are safer."

The page already surpassed its goal of $50,000.

The Montgomery County Civic Federation said on Facebook, "Let's contribute to the extent we are able to support this family and a very worthy cause. We should be able to blow by his very modest fundraising goal."

The family also set up another fundraiser effort through Meal Train Plus. To learn more, click on this link

In July, another State Department employee was also killed after she was run over by a heavy truck while bicycling to work in the District. The mother of Shawn O'Donnell also demanded for the city to take better care of bicyclists. 

WATCH NEXT: Devastated mom demands DC do more to keep cyclists safe

Safety advocates will hold three ghost bike memorials this weekend for the three cyclists killed in July alone. 

RELATED: Woman hit by flatbed truck while riding bike killed

RELATED: Through tears, a devastated mom demands DC do more to keep cyclists safe

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