Two bicyclists who were riding to Washington from the West Coast on a fund-raising trip were killed yesterday when they were struck by a tractor-trailer truck in Fauquier County, Virginia State Police reported.
Two other bicyclists on the trip were injured in the accident, which occurred about 4:30 p.m. on Route 17 near Goldvein in the southern tip of the county, about 45 miles southwest of Washington.
The cyclists killed were identified as Andrew Appleton, 24, of Acton, Mass., and Holly Ehret, 21, of Sonoma, Calif.
The bicyclists were heading for Fredericksburg, Va., to rendezvous with about 70 others on the trip, which is known as Bike Aid. The group is scheduled to ride here today to finish the trip at the West Lawn of the Capitol.
The Bike Aid project is an annual event sponsored by the Overseas Development Network, a volunteer group based in San Francisco that helps raise money for international aid projects. Riders raise money in pledges before setting out, Reed Merrill, national coordinator for the project, said last night.
He said the fatalities were the first since the start of the project in 1986, and said the cyclists were equipped with recommended equipment, including helmets and special rearview mirrors.
State police Trooper C.R. Purkey said the truck approached the cyclists on the divided four-lane road from the rear, apparently intending to pass.
At the last moment, the trooper said, another vehicle came abreast of the truck, preventing it from passing.
By then, Purkey said, the truck "was too close to come to a stop or slow down to keep from hitting" the cyclists.
Purkey identified the injured cyclists as Marsha Miquelon, 24, of California, and John P. Chesson, 23, of Ohio. They were taken to Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton, where Miquelon was to be admitted last night. Chesson was transferred to Fairfax Hospital. Both suffered scrapes and bruises, and Miquelon suffered cuts.
The trooper said Alvin Lee Harris, 42, of Richmond, was ticketed on charges of reckless driving and driving with defective brakes.
Merrill said recipients of funds raised on this year's Bike Aid trip are to include a Bolivian group reintroducing traditional crops to the highlands there and a group in Zimbabwe that trains recent college graduates there in community development.