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Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - Page updated at 11:09 AM

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Fallen cyclist was a "star" at Bastyr

Seattle Times eastside bureau

From her apartment on Locust Way north of Kenmore to Bastyr University is barely five miles, and Autumn Sansom had made the ride on her bicycle nearly every day since she enrolled at the school in 2005.

On Friday, the ride turned to tragedy, when Sansom, 28, was fatally injured in a collision with a pickup in the 15000 block of Juanita Drive Northeast at about 5:15 p.m. as she was riding home from classes.

She was in her second year of a doctoral program in naturopathic medicine and was viewed as a "bright star" at the school, said Teri Thomas, university spokeswoman.

"She was very bright, well-loved, a cheerful, lively young woman," said Thomas. "She was going to be a gifted and natural healer."

The King County Sheriff's Office reported the collision took place when Sansom was northbound along Juanita Drive just north of the entrance to the Bastyr campus. Her bicycle collided with a truck driven by a 46-year-old Kirkland man as he was leaving a store parking lot. The driver, whose name was not released, was not injured.

Sansom later died at Harborview Medical Center. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Sansom was from Tuscola, Texas, and in 1997 received a biology degree from what was then Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos.

"She always wanted to help people, that was a dream of hers, to be a naturopathic physician," said her mother, Fredell Sansom. "It was a calling."

Peyton Whitely: 206-464-2259

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