A Minneapolis woman working on her doctorate at the University of Georgia was struck head-on by an SUV and killed while riding her bike, authorities there said.
The 31-year-old motorist remains jailed on charges of homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence of drugs, using her cellphone while behind the wheel and endangering her 2-year-old child riding in the SUV with her.
Ashley Block, 25, was among three bicyclists riding early Monday evening. Two other bicyclists were also hit and have so far survived their injuries, police in Athens, Ga., said.
Block was a Ph.D. student in anthropology, with interests in environmental communication, forest regeneration and ecological anthropology, according to her academic profile. Along with being an avid cyclist, she has participated in various long-distances races.
She attended high school in Minneapolis at Minnehaha Academy and then college at Sewanee in Tennessee, where she ran cross-country.
Police say Whitney B. Howard, of Hull, Ga., crossed the centerline and struck all three bicyclists heading in the other direction on their side of the road. Block was thrown from her bike into a roadside ditch and pronounced dead at the scene.
Police told WSB-TV in Atlanta that Howard was under the influence of prescription drugs at the time of the crash. Police declined to say more about Howard’s actions while driving, including the cellphone allegation, citing the continuing investigation.
One of Block’s fellow cyclists, 32-year-old Mitchell Enfinger, was hospitalized with critical injuries. He suffered numerous broken bones, a head injury and a ruptured spleen, according to court records. The other cyclist suffered a minor injury, police added.
The three were on a road ride in a largely rural area of the city that was organized by the Hub Bicycles shop in Athens.
The shop on Tuesday pulled together a ride with 38 participants to remember Block and to try to financially support Enfinger.