Apr 14, 2014 8:29 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck
Renowned for riding around New Iberia on his bicycle, at times carrying sugar cane with him as he rode, 44-year-old Tony "Billy" Parker was struck by a vehicle Saturday night while bicycling on St. Peter Street.
Parker died doing what he loved most.
Deputies said the accident occurred while Parker was riding his bike across the street and he steered into the path of an SUV. Parker was pronounced dead at the scene. According to the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office, the driver is not facing any charges.
Parker was fondly known by some people as "3rd gear."
"He would always say he changing gears on his bike. You know, he would make his little sound and he'd make an 'errk' sound like he stopping in the middle of the street," said Alexis Broussard, a friend of Parker.
Broussard said she will miss seeing Parker around town. She can remember chasing after him as a child.
"He would tell me, 'Stop, girl, stop!" Broussard said.
"He was a very loving person, he always smiled and everyone had loved him," she added.
Also affectionately known as "Cookie," Parker was loved by many. There's even a Facebook page called "Cookie for Mayor of New Iberia." His long-time friends created a fundraising site in which anyone may donate toward funeral expenses. To donate, click here.
"We'd like to thank the community for doing what they did so far. We're planning on donating a lot of the proceeds for bikes for the community for the less fortunate and what not," said Jason Legnon, who has been friends with Parker for the last eight years.
Parker's family said they appreciate the support from the community.
"I'm so happy for that and I thank everybody for what they did for my son. I really didn't know he was that loved. I really didn't know he was that loved by that many people," said Alma Salton, Parker's mother.