Gwinnett County

29-year-old cyclist on way to work hit, killed by DUI driver, police say

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Friends and family are mourning a Sandy Springs man who was hit and killed by a DUI driver as he rode his bike to work early Wednesday morning.

The accident happened around 5 a.m. on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs.

Marten Bijvank, 29, was killed as he rode to work at a nearby Starbucks, police said.

[GoFundMe page for Marten's family]

The driver, who police identified as Antoinette Battle, 34, of Atlanta was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide, DUI and driving while unlicensed.

Channel 2's Mike Petchenik talked to Bijvank's devastated wife about the impact he had on others.

"He was better than good, he was the best," Valentina Fiorillo said through tears. "There will never be anyone like him again."

Fiorillo and Bijvank met online and decided to go to Bonnaroo Music Festival together in 2012.

Bijvank lived in the Netherlands and went home to his family after the festival.

"When it was time to go home, we were really sad and we decided we'd see each other again," Fiorillo said.

Fiorillo proposed and Bijvank moved to Atlanta.

"He gave me a chance and I was lucky enough to become his bride," Fiorillo said. "We lived a very simple life with our two cats in our small apartment together. But we were really happy."

Fiorillo said Bijvank worked at the Sandy Springs Starbucks while he was finishing two degrees paid for by the coffee company. She said he hoped one day to become a professor.

On Wednesday afternoon, co-workers gathered at the store to console Fiorillo and each other . The store was closed so employees could grieve.

"It's not just me who lost somebody, not just my mom or Marten's parents, or his brother," Fiorillo said. "It's all of Sandy Springs who lost a smiling face in the morning. And they won't get it back."


Channel 2's Kristen Holloway was on Roswell Road on Wednesday morning where she saw several police at the scene investigating just after 6.

Bijvank's bike was broken in half by the impact.

Fiorillo said she feels sorry for Battle.

"I think it's a real tragedy ... I feel very sorry for her because she did a terrible thing, and if I did that thing, I would never live with myself," Fiorillo said.

Petchenik learned that Battle was charged with a prior DUI and reckless driving in August of 2018, less than a year before Wednesday's crash. That case is still pending.

Battle is in jail and has a court appearance Thursday morning.

Fiorillo is asking people to learn a lesson from her tragedy and not to drive while impaired.

"It's my life. It's my everything, gone, because somebody made a wrong decision one day," Fiorillo said. "It was an accident that didn't need to happen."

Fiorillo said Bivjank's family will be coming over from the Netherlands to bury him.