Police identify 74-year-old Annapolis man as bicyclist killed in Hilltop Lane hit-and-run

The proposed sidepath along Hilltop Lane will be an off-street shared use lane for both bicycles and walkers. The design of the project is currently 30% complete, said city spokesperson Mitchelle Stephenson, and is expected to be ready for use in 2024.

Annapolis Police identified Zarko Peruza as the bicyclist killed Tuesday night after a hit-and-run crash on Hilltop Lane.

Officers responded shortly after 10 p.m. when they found Peruza suffering from critical injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


According to a GoFundMe fundraiser created by Bella Peruza, Zarko Peruza’s granddaughter, the 74-year-old’s primary source of transportation was his bicycle, which he would use to get to work at the Safeway on Forest Drive.

The city of Annapolis announced plans more than two years ago to install an off-street sidepath where the bicyclist was struck, the unit block of Hilltop Lane near Merryman Road. The scheduled infrastructure is part of a $224,000 grant to design a network of existing trails and bike lanes throughout the city.


The state grant, named after the late biking advocate Kim Lamphier, was awarded to Annapolis in September 2020. According to city spokesperson Mitchelle Stephenson, the Hilltop Lane sidepath design is currently 30% complete. When it reaches 65%, the city will have to apply for another grant to finish the design, and then a third grant for construction costs.

Stephenson said the city expects the sidepath to be finished sometime in 2024.

In an interview with The Capital, Alderman Brooks Schandelmeier, a Democrat from Ward 5, said that with Peruza’s death, the project is “too late.”

“The city of Annapolis failed Zarko Peruza and his family and I’m so sorry to them,” Schandelmeier said. “Things like that are important because there are a lot of people in not just my ward but in the city who can’t afford a car and a bike is a really easy, convenient way for them to get around that’s affordable. If we treat it like an afterthought like we do, we just throw the most vulnerable out to the wolves.”

The Annapolis Police Department is currently investigating Peruza’s death and did not provide any more details Thursday about a suspect or the vehicle involved in the crash.

The department is asking that anyone with information about the crash call 410-268-9000.