Bicyclists describe hit-and-run; police investigating as intentional

It’s not unusual for Ken Mengel and his friends to go on 45-mile bicycle rides.

“All four of us have been riding together for well over 30 years,” Mengel said. “So we’re very experienced riders. We all have 75 to 100 thousand miles on our bikes.”

They thought they had seen it all. Then Saturday morning happened. Mengel was cycling with Ted Achorn and their friends Gary and Tom.

“A car came up very close, within 18 inches of me,” Achorn said. “[It] swerved into Gary and Tom, hit Tom, drove him to the ground.”

Achorn swerved and flew over the handle bars. Mengel, who had been riding ahead, circled back.

“And man, that’s a horrible, horrible sight to see two of your buddies laying in the road,” Mengel said. “You have no idea.”

They were on Colebrook Road in South Londonderry Township. The car took off, but another driver stopped.

“He saw it,” Mengel said, referring to the driver who stopped. “And he said, ‘That guy was trying to hit you!'”

South Londonderry Township Police are calling this a case of aggravated assault. They’re looking for the person responsible for putting Mengel and Achorn’s friend, Tom, in the hospital.

“Tom had a car run into his hip and drive his leg through his pelvis,” Achorn said. “He’ll be three months off his feet, seven months worth of rehab, and that’s if everything goes well.”

“So yeah, I’m pissed off,” Achorn added. “I’m also thankful to be alive.”

Achorn and Mengel say their group is safe and experienced. They wear helmets, ride in straight lines, respect the rules of the road, and try to stay out of the way. They say if this happened to their friend, it could happen to anyone.

“I think people need to know that bicyclists by state law have the same rights as cars,” Mengel said. “And we have an obligation then too. We’re supposed to stop at stop signs and red lights, and cars are supposed to, by law, give us four feet of space when you pass. We can’t compete with a 3,000-pound vehicle.”

Mengel and Achorn say they’ll do everything they can to support Tom in his recovery. They’re also planning to get right back on their bicycles, never forgetting the morning they experienced the worst in people, along with the best.

“We are so thankful for all the people who stopped and helped us,” Achorn said while tearing up. “All we’re looking for is some help to find the person that did this so that person is punished for what they did. But also so that they don’t do it again. You can’t let the bad guys win.”

Police describe the vehicle they’re looking for as a tan or brown SUV. They think it’s a 90s model Dodge Durango with minor scrapes on the front fender or passenger front door. Anyone with information should call police at 717-272-2054 or 717-838-1376.

 

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