COVINGTON, Ind. – A van accompanying bicyclists riding to raise money for slain police officers was struck by a truck and spun into the group, killing a state trooper and a retired sheriff's official, authorities said. Another cyclist was injured.
The van, which was marked with a large banner that read "Caution Cyclists Ahead," had been traveling with the group of 10 current and retired police officers and another man on Indiana 63 near the Illinois state line when it was hit by the truck, police said.
Killed were state police Lt. Gary Dudley and Gary Martin, who had retired in April as chief of the Lake County Sheriff's Department. The injured cyclist was airlifted to an Illinois hospital, state police Sgt. Joe Watts said.
The drivers of the two vehicles also were injured, Watts said.
Southbound lanes of Indiana 63 about 50 miles north of Terre Haute were closed Tuesday afternoon. A crumbled red bicycle was in the roadway, along with water bottles, a helmet, shoes and other bikes.
About 30 bicyclists from several police agencies planned to ride portions of 1,100 miles over 13 days, while eight were planning to trek the entire route. The ride was to end Aug. 28 in Indianapolis.
Martin, 63, was an avid cyclist who had retired from the Gary Police Department and was named in 2002 to the No. 2 position in the Lake County Sheriff's Department, the department said.
Karen Shelton, director of operations for the Indiana Troopers Association, said the group hosted the riders last week.
"They were all very upbeat when they were here Friday night," she said. "They do this on their own time which I think is admirable."
Watts said the riders were determined to finish.
"My understanding is the ride will continue," he said. "I am sure the officers would not want it any other way."
Money raised supports Indiana Concerns of Police Survivors, which provides support for families of officers killed in the line of duty and helps send them to Washington, D.C., for annual memorial services.