TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Investigators found no signs that the driver of a freight truck ever braked before crashing into a van that was trailing a group of police officers bicycling to raise money for fallen comrades, killing two of the riders.
State Police Sgt. Joe Watts declined to discuss what the driver told investigators, saying details would be revealed when their report was sent to the Vermillion County prosecutor to weigh possible criminal charges.
“The focus is going to be why he didn’t maintain control of his vehicle, why he didn’t make an evasive maneuver, why he didn’t brake,” Watts said.
Authorities said it could take several weeks for investigators to complete their review and submit a report on whether charges should be filed.
Meanwhile, hearses took the bodies of Indiana State Police Lt. Gary Dudley and retired Lake County Sheriff’s Department Chief Gary Martin to funeral homes.
The two were among 10 riders traveling south on Indiana 63 in a rural area about 70 miles northwest of Indianapolis when their support van spun into the group after being hit from behind by a box truck, police said. The van was marked with a banner that read, “Caution Cyclists Ahead.”
It was unclear Wednesday whether the 13-day, 1,100-mile trek organized by Dudley would continue.
“Gary was all about finishing the mission, and I think that when we get past the initial shock, that will be the battle cry of the people that will rally around what he’s started and done,” said Jerry Baker, a member of the Fraternal Order of Police’s critical incident memorial response team.
The ride began Aug. 16 and was to end Aug. 28 in Indianapolis.