MN cyclist killed in Georgia by driver allegedly on drugs, using cellphone


A cyclist from Minneapolis has died after being struck head-on by an SUV in Georgia, where she was studying for her doctorate.

Ashley Block, 25, a graduate student at the University of Georgia, was killed when she was hit by the SUV, driven by a 31-year-old woman.

The driver is suspected of being under the influence of drugs and using her cellphone at the time of the crash, WSBTV reports, and her two-year-old daughter was in the back seat of the SUV.

Block was cycling with two friends at the time, one of whom was seriously injured and the other sustained minor injuries.

According to her Facebook page, Block was a former student of Minnehaha Academy in southeast Minneapolis, and was studying anthropology in Athens, Georgia.

Block, an avid cyclist, was taking part in a Monday night group ride organized by The Hub Bicycles when the incident happened. She died at the scene.

The bike shop paid tribute to Block on its Facebook page this week, with 38 riders attending a memorial ride in Athens on Tuesday night.

Sgt. Von Anderson, with the Athens-Clarke County Police, told Online Athens Block and her fellow bikers were "doing everything right," staying in single file along the fog line when the SUV, driving the other direction, swerved across the road and hit them.

The driver, 31-year-old Whitney Baker Howard, has been charged with first-degree homicide by vehicle, a DUI, endangering a child, improper use of mobile phone and failure to maintain lane.

According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, 726 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2014, while around 50,000 biker injuries are reported each year.

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