Family and friends of Cameron Zimmerman-Randle, a former library assistant supervisor at UTD, are mourning his passing after he was struck by a suspected drunk driver while riding his bike.
At 2:37 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, 33-year-old Zimmerman-Randle was hit by a suspected drunken driver on the 700 block of North Murphy Road, where he died at the scene. Police have arrested the 26-year-old driver, Wilfred TJ Manatsa, who faces charges for intoxication manslaughter and failure to identify.
Zimmerman-Randle was not just an overnight library assistant supervisor, but a great friend and a source of knowledge to many. As an avid cyclist, he would bike routinely to and from work, regardless of the distance.
In the several months following his wife’s spinal surgery, Zimmerman-Randle took his car to work instead of biking in case she needed him. The night he passed, he was cycling to build endurance for his commute from his home in Wylie to UTD. William Mikesell, an evening hours library assistant at the McDermott Library, worked closely with Zimmerman-Randle, and they spent time together outside of work as well. Mikesell said Zimmerman-Randle’s love for biking was an integral part of his life.
“He would ride 19 miles from Murphy to here, and then exercise and then go to work,” Mikesell said. “He loved biking in much the same way people liked breathing or consuming water.”
Although Zimmerman-Randle shared a car with his wife, Lindsey Zimmerman-Randle, biking was his main mode of transportation. Mikesell said he was a cautious biker, and even wore clothing specifically designed for cyclists, such as reflective jackets.
Zimmerman-Randle also loved to read and share the knowledge he gained from his reading with others. He would read hundreds of books on different subjects and enjoyed talking to people about them, Fabiola Williams, an overnight library assistant, said. She said they would bring up historical topics when they were working nights.
“There were a couple of nights where coffee wouldn’t do it and food wouldn’t do it, so I’d bring up a topic in history,” Williams said. “He would go on about the origin of it and the history behind it and I was like ‘How do you know all these things?’ and he said ‘I just pick up books and read.’”
His love for books and knowledge extended into his love for working at the library, where he was able to answer students’ questions and help them find the resources they needed. His wife Lindsey said he enjoyed helping others in the library and being able to guide them in the right direction. She said his personality was kind, and they both taught each other a lot throughout their lives.
“He was definitely someone who was genuine, and he learned to be true to himself,” Lindsey said. “It took him a while, but he learned that he needed to be who he needed to be, that it was OK to be different from everyone else, to be what people call ‘weird,’ to have this crazy sense of humor.”
After his passing, members of the UTD administration and staff worked to support Lindsey during the difficult time. She said they were gracious with the food and donations they gave her.
“I just want to thank UTD, everything that they’ve done,” Lindsey said. “I’m hoping to one day be able to repay the favor. The school has been very, very supportive during all of this and I’m very appreciat(ive) and eternally grateful for what everyone has done for me during this time.”