Girlfriends Describe Cyclist Killed on PCH as 'Extraordinary'

Arizona native Sarah Leaf, 29, worked as a nutritionist in Corona del Mar. Her girlfriends say she was happy, joyful, and adored by everyone who knew her.

Sarah Leaf's closest girlfriends say the young cyclist had a way of making people feel like they knew her forever.    

"Sarah was no ordinary 29-year-old, she was extraordinary," Andrea Maurer, one of Leaf's closest friends, said. "She was funny, and had the ability to make me laugh even if I wasn't in the situation to laugh."

Leaf spent her days working at her business, Greenleaf Nutrition, based inside the Shape-Up Fitness Center in Corona del Mar, but her life was cut short Friday when she was hit by a truck while cycling on Pacific Coast Highway and Bayside Drive.

"She was a true inspiration and led by personal example," friend and roommate Nicole Bentley said. "She loved life, her job, her family, friends and where she lived."

"She always asked about others," friend Alison Miller added. "And to use her term, she was '1,000 percent' excited for her friends."

Originally from Arizona, Leaf moved to Newport Beach and formed a strong bond with her group of girlfriends, some of whom were also transplants from other states. Leaf and her friends spent a lot of time together, eating out at local restaurants and going to country music concerts.

Maurer, who had plans to see Leaf the day she died at a Rascal Flats concert,   said Leaf told her things were going well in her life and she had never been happier.

"She had this way of making you comfortable, her gentle spirit could connect with anyone," Maurer said. "And when you with her you felt like the most important person to her."

Newport Beach police say Leaf and a stake-bed truck were traveling east on Pacific Coast Highway on Friday, and the fatal collision happened when the truck's driver turned right on Bayside Drive. Kathy Lowe, police spokeswoman, says the crash is still under investigation and the driver of the truck has not been cited or arrested.

Leaf is survived by her mother, Rita Leaf, father Bill Leaf and two brothers.

A memorial will be held for her on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Shape-Up Fitness Center in Corona del Mar.

Funeral services for Leaf have not been announced, but friends say they will be held in Arizona.

Cheryl Collins September 18, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Sarah was a sweet, kind and supportive young lady. We are all sorry to lose such a light in this world. May you shine in the hearts of those who loved you. Cheryl Collins, Shape-up member
chris September 18, 2012 at 08:11 PM
This girl was beautiful and vibrant. i have met her a couple of times and its just a real tragedy something must be done to protect bicyclists on pch. i live in laguna and commute every day where she and others have died or been injured along this dangerous road. a suggest this event as a call to action to help create some European style bike protection measures before we lose more good people like this needlessly rest in peace Sarah
Richard September 18, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Sarah was truly an amazing, beautiful person, full of life and charisma. She was the type of person that from the second you met her, you just knew you wanted her in your life. We miss you Sarah:)
Bill Leaf September 19, 2012 at 06:23 AM
To all who have commented on my Sarah: I do not have the words to express my appreciation for the feelings of support and love that you have shown to her. I last saw my lovely daughter in july on vacation and left there feeling so glad for her since she was truly happy with her life. She loved you all and now I know why.Thank you
Kristen September 19, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Sarah was so full of grace and sincerity. I am so sad that we have lost such a light in our lives. She will be forever remembered in our hearts and our diets! :) May we find peace in knowing that she accomplished so very much in her short, but well lived life.
Kent Becraft September 19, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Sarah was a wonderful, encouraging woman to work with whose enthusiasm helped me stay on track with my health goals. She was always excited about her work and helping her clients. Her excitement was contagious. I admired Sarah as a self-made young woman. My heart goes out to her family and friends whose love for Sarah is so clear.
Shannon Alford September 20, 2012 at 05:24 AM
I only knew Sarah for a short time from "Shape-Up" but she was a delightful young lady. Much love goes out to her family and friends. She will be missed!!! Again, a life cut way too short!!!
Brenna Marie September 21, 2012 at 05:01 AM
Beautiful Sarah.....I can't even describe the sadness in my heart over this horrible tragedy. I just spoke with you a month ago. I can still hear the way you would say "yuuumm" after every personal meal plan you made for me. I took a walk into Trader Joe's this afternoon and was reminded of how you took me down each isle so patiently and helped me with my grocery list. Oh how persistent you were to make sure we stayed on our game. You will truly be missed but never forgotten. My prayers for peace and comfort to you and your family. Rest in peace sweet Sarah! oxox
Stacey Ellis September 21, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Andrea, Beautiful words from a beautiful friend! You have been such an amazing, loving friend. Sarah was a beam of light that will always be a part of us. Alison, Sonia thank you for being the best friend a girl could have. I am proud and lucky to have Sarah as a part of my life. We love you Sarah! Xoxo, Stacey


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