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June 15, 2013

Trek Across Maine bicyclist killed by tractor-trailer

It's unclear what led up to the accident that claimed the life of the 23-year-old bike rider during the event's first day.

By Matt Byrne mbyrne@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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State police move a bike that was involved in a fatal crash in Hanover on Friday. David LeClair, a 23-year-old cyclist from Watertown, Mass., was struck by a tractor-trailer just miles from the starting point of the annual Trek Across Maine cycling event.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

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David LeClair, 23, is shown in an undated photo from the Athena Health corporate team web page. He was struck and killed by a tractor trailer this morning shortly before 9 a.m. near Hanover in Oxford County while he was participating in a charity bike ride, according to police.

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Map of Trek Across Maine route

LeClair was riding as part of a 140-member team of employees of athenahealth. A 2011 graduate of Bentley College in Waltham, Mass., he was originally from Naples, Fla., and worked at athenahealth for two years.

He helped doctors and their practices better interact and communicate with insurance companies, said Holly Spring, an athenahealth spokeswoman. His family could not be located for comment.

Spring said the company has counselors at its office in Watertown to help LeClair's co-workers with the loss, and is sending counselors to Maine to assist the company's riders. 

"We're all pretty sad here," Spring said. "We're going to do everything we can to celebrate David's life and support our employees."

Spring said athenahealth operates an office in Belfast, employing 600 people. An additional 1,000 people work at the Watertown headquarters.

Bob Moulton, whose home is across from the scene of the accident, said his adult son was watching a group of about 12 riders pass the house and saw the truck, but looked away a few seconds before the accident.

"(My son) turned away and that's when the screaming started," Moulton said.

He ran out of the house and saw a chaotic scene at the road's edge, where LeClair's body lay on the white line separating the breakdown lane and the travel lane. 

Grzyb said witnesses said LeClair was riding abreast with another cyclist, with LeClair on the left, closest to the travel lane. Police are trying to determine whether oncoming traffic may have affected how close the truck came to the shoulder.

Nancy Grant, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, who is riding in the trek, said organizers mark the route and intersections, station volunteers in helpful places along the way, and provide signs in areas that require extra attention or safety measures. Grant said she is on a team of 30 riders who are designated to act as a safety patrol. 

"The trek does a really good job trying to ensure everyone's safe," Grant said.

Jeff Seyler, CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast, sponsor of the event, issued a statement saying it will continue.

"It is with deepest sadness that the American Lung Association of the Northeast reports the passing of a member of our Trek family at our annual Trek Across Maine today," Seyler said in the release.

"All of us at the American Lung Association express our profound sadness at this tragic loss of life and offer our deepest condolences to the family. With heavy hearts, the trek is continuing."

-- Staff Writer David Hench and Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Kaitlin Schroeder contributed to this report.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

mbyrne@mainetoday.com

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Additional Photos

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A member of the Maine State Police commercial vehicle inspection unit talks to the driver, name unknown, of the tractor-trailer police believe was involved in the fatal accident in Hanover on Friday.

Photo by David Hench / Staff Writer

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Photo shows the tractor-trailer police believe was involved in the accident that killed bicyclist David LeClair, 23, in Hanover on Friday.

Photo by David Hench / Staff Writer

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Maine State Police Trooper Joe Bureau inspects the rear tire of a Canadian truck police suspect was involved in Friday's fatal bicycle accident in Hanover.

David Hench / Staff Writer

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State police move the bike that was involved in a fatal crash in Hanover on Friday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

  


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