Well-known band member killed in accident

JOHNSTOWN – An area musician and educator was killed Tuesday when he was struck by a motor vehicle while riding his bicycle.

Edward Lakata, 55, was riding his bicycle from his home in the city to his camp in Caroga Lake when the accident happened, said his brother, John Lakata.

Edward had been a prominent musician in the local music scene for many years, John noted. He played with many bands over the years – including his most recent, “Skyler’s Dream Team” – and helped aspiring musicians record their music at the studio in his home.

John described his brother as a person who constantly surrounded himself with friends and family.

“I’ve never met anybody in my life that enjoyed life as much as [Edward],” John said this morning. “He would never sit still; everything was about being out or being somewhere. He loved people and always had to have people around him. He was always the life of the party and had a huge circle of friends. He always wanted to be around family and friends as much as he could.”

John said his brother had been a science and technology instructor at Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

HFM BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel said this morning Lakata was employed with the district two years ago, which makes it difficult to comment on the recent event.

John said Edward was going to start a new job in the fall at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory.

Lakata was riding a bicycle near Skunk Hollow Road at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday when he was struck by a vehicle. Both were headed north on Route 29A.

Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey said Tuesday the bicyclist was riding a high-end Trek bicycle.

John Damphier, 48, of Johnstown was driving his pickup truck when he collided with Lakata on his bicycle, Lorey said.

No tickets were issued and alcohol was no factor in the accident, Lorey said.

John said he was told Edward was riding toward Caroga Lake up a hill and veered into the lane where a truck was coming from behind.

Edward’s wife, Cynthia Lakata, said this morning it was not a good time to speak and asked for time to mourn.

Edward had two sons, Austin and Karl, John said.