Raphael Sagarin, a UA associate research scientist, was killed on Thursday, May 28 around 6:37 p.m. while riding his bicycle on State Route 77, Milepost 99.3 near Oracle. He was 43 years old.
A pickup truck driven by Gary L. Colvin, 44, from Tucson is said to have swerved partially off the road and struck Sagarin from behind. Sagarin was thrown off his bicycle and although he was wearing a helmet, he succumbed to injuries at the scene.
Colvin was allegedly impaired at the time of the collision and he was arrested and booked for a manslaughter charge into the Pinal County Jail. Further charges are still pending.
The UA purchased the Biosphere 2 about eight years ago, and brought in Sagarin to manage and help transform the 700,000-gallon, 9,000 square-foot ocean inside the facility to replicate the Gulf of California.
Sagarin's passion for marine life shined when Tucson Local Media, our parent company, interviewed him in 2014 for a story highlighting the program.
“Every single stranger that I tell I’m a marine biologist and that I live in Tucson, they laugh, and they say, ‘What’s a marine biologist doing in Tucson?’” said Sagarin.
At least one reason Sangarin was in Tucson was his love for his work. More details will be released as they are available.