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2 Ind. officers die in fundraiser bike ride

Associated Press Writer

COVINGTON, Ind.- A van struck bicyclists riding to raise money for families of officers who died while on duty, killing a state trooper and a sheriff's deputy and injuring another cyclist, police said.

The van, which was providing support to the bicyclists and was marked with a large banner that read "Caution Cyclists Ahead" spun into the group after being hit by a box truck, police said.

The names of the trooper and the Lake County Sheriff's deputy were not immediately released. The injured cyclist was airlifted to an Illinois hospital, Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Joe Watts said.

The drivers of the two vehicles also were injured, Watts said.

The group of 10 current and retired police officers and another man were pedaling south on Indiana 63 near the Indiana-Illinois line, police said. Southbound lanes were closed Tuesday afternoon. Debris and a crumbled red bicycle were in the roadway, along with water bottles, a helmet, shoes and other bikes.

About 30 bicyclists from several police agencies planned to ride portions of 1,100 miles over 13 days, while eight were planning to trek the entire route. The ride was to end Aug. 28 in Indianapolis.

Karen Shelton, director of operations for the Indiana Troopers Association, said the group hosted the riders last week.

"They were all very upbeat when they were here Friday night," she said. "They do this on their own time which I think is admirable."

Watts said the riders were determined to finish.

"My understanding is the ride will continue," he said. "I am sure the officers would not want it any other way."

Money raised supports Indiana Concerns of Police Survivors, which provides support for families of officers killed in the line of duty and helps send them to Washington, D.C., for annual memorial services.

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