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2013-05-05 / Front Page

Dryden bicyclist struck and killed

Rider’s fiancé one of first responders to arrive
BY PHIL FOLEY 810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

DRYDEN TWP. — The Lapeer County Prosecutor is considering charges in the aftermath of an accident Monday that claimed the life of 38-year-old Dryden woman.

Funeral services were set for Saturday at St. Cornelius Catholic Church in Dryden for Emily Sands. A spokesman for the Dryden Fire Dept. said an account has been set up at Oxford Bank to accept donation’s for Sand’s children.

Dryden Township Police Dept.’s Larry Pack said Sands was struck by a pickup driven by a 34-year-old Imlay City man around 4:45 p.m. while she was riding her bicycle west on Dryden Road near Bishop Road, just east of Lenny Miller’s restaurant.

Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept. Det./Sgt. Jason Parks said Sands was thrown about 100 feet and died at the scene.

Sands, who was stricken with meningitis as a toddler, was deaf. A family spokesman said she was active in the deaf community.

The spokesman said she was attending Baker College and set to begin a Veterinary Tech Program.

One of the first people on the scene, Pack said, was Sands’s fiancé, Michael Ogg, who is a the Dryden Township firefighter and a first responder. Pack said grief counselors have been brought in for the fire department as well as Dryden Community Schools, where Sands had children in second and ninth grades.

Parks said alcohol and excessive speed have been ruled out as causes for the accident. He said the driver told him he had reached down to pick something up that had fallen off his truck seat moments before the crash. Pack said the bicyclist was struck while riding on the fog line.

“People need to pay more attention to driving than the radio and texting,” Pack said. “Things can happen in a split second and the things that can happen in a split second can affect you for the rest of your life.”

He noted a new law went into effect March 1 that prohibits Level 1 and Level 2 license holders from even talking on the phone while driving. “We’re teaching this to kids in school right now,” he said.

Seven months ago a nationally know competitive bicyclist was severely injured in the midst of a 100-mile training ride when she was struck by a semi-truck hauling gravel on East Dryden Road as it turned left on to southbound Havens Road.

At the time the Davison woman’s boyfriend said a half dozen top riders and a couple of hundred serious riders frequently train in the area. Pack said that while some serious bicyclists frequent the area, large numbers of local people, adults and children, can be found on township roads when the weather is nice, bicycle riding and walking for exercise.

Henry Kaye, a personal trainer at the Lapeer Community Center and a competitive bicyclist, said he tried Dryden Road once after he moved to the Metamora area two years ago. “It’s not the greatest road to ride on,” he said. “There’s a lot of traffic, a lot of hills and there are no shoulders.” He said the group that he trains with tends to ride at Stony Creek MetroPark or in the Algonac area.

In 2011, the latest the Michigan State Police’s Office of Highway Safety has statistics for, 1,895 people were involved in bicycle crashes with motor vehicles and 24 of them died. People between the ages of 35 and 54 accounted for more than half of those fatalities.

Parks said Sands was the sixth person to die on Lapeer County highways this year.

Parks noted that in 2010 the state legislature eliminated the felony charge of negligent homicide and replaced it with “causing an accident resulting in death,” a misdemeanor punishable by no more than one year in jail. However, he added, fatal collisions as a result of reckless or impaired driving can still be cited as a felony.

“This has effected the whole town,” Pack said. “She was well known, a nice girl with a couple of kids.”

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