Jack McMahon and two buddies stood in the Minnetonka church parking lot Thursday, looking at the paint on the street that marked where his best friend was killed.
As day was dissolving into night on Wednesday, Andrew Dudley rode his bike out of the Cross of Glory Church's parking lot and onto Shady Oak Road where he was hit by a car.
McMahon and others gathered Thursday night at the same church to grieve and find comfort. Hours earlier, students at St. Louis Park High School, where Dudley was a senior, had created a mural of brightly colored handprints and messages in an impromptu memorial to the 18-year-old they remembered as "easygoing and cheerful."
"It was just bad timing," said McMahon as he walked away from the accident scene. He said Dudley and the driver "just didn't see each other. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
The driver of the car was not issued a citation after the accident, which police said happened at about 8:45 p.m. Dudley was heading north along Shady Oak when he was struck. He had the standard bicycle reflectors but no lights and was not wearing a helmet, said Police Capt. Scott Boerboom.
He also was riding against traffic heading north in the outside lane of the two southbound lanes, Boerboom said. Bicyclists are supposed to ride in the same direction as traffic, he said.
The captain added that there also is a sidewalk available to bicyclists and pedestrians.
In 2010, the last year that complete statistics have been compiled in Minnesota, there were 898 crashes involving motor vehicles and bicycles. That was down 6.2 percent from the previous year. There were nine fatalities in 2010 compared with 10 in 2009.
'An infectious smile'
Dudley was at the church for a gathering of fellow high school seniors, said Cross of Glory youth pastor Justin Jeppesen.
"I was very close with him," said Jeppesen. "He was a consistent part of the Wednesday night youth group."
Dudley also helped with kids attending Bible school and had gone on a church mission trip to Philadelphia.
"He was a very joyous young man, with an infectious smile and laugh," the pastor added.
At the high school on Thursday, a team of grief counselors met with students and will continue to be available, said Principal Robert Metz.
It was the second death that the high school has coped with in the past nine days. On April 17, assistant girls basketball coach Joel Koch, 49, died from a heart attack. One of his sons, Charles, is a junior at the school and played on the football and basketball teams. Koch's funeral was last Friday.
As students grieved on Thursday, the principal heard from students and staff that Dudley was a "mellow, easygoing, cheerful and happy-go-lucky kid," said school district spokeswoman Sara Thompson.
Dudley was an avid skateboarder and had dreams of owning a skateboard shop someday, she added.
McMahon said Dudley was the first student to befriend him as he entered St. Louis Park High School as an incoming freshman from a Minneapolis school. "He was just the greatest guy in the world. He was kind, easy going and could always make people laugh," he said.
McMahon and other students left their handprints and messages in memory of Dudley on what is known as the senior wall on a building near the track.
"He was a great guy who loved his friends dearly," said classmate Nick Visneski.
Close friend and fellow St. Louis Park senior Tyrika Douglas described Dudley as "always really happy. I don't think I ever saw him upset or down."
Staff Writer Kim McGuire contributed to this report. firstname.lastname@example.org • 612-673-4482 email@example.com • 612-673-4788