New Orleans news station WWL-TV reported today that a group of cyclists was struck by a motorist and one of the cyclists has died, while another was taken to a hospital with critical injuries.
The accident took place on Chef Menteur Highway which is part of the bike course for the upcoming Ochsner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans race on Sunday and a picture of the accident scene clearly showed a destroyed triathlon bike.
Ironman later confirmed that the cyclists involved were indeed triathletes who had registered for the race on Sunday and Ironman made the following statement.
"We have learned that a group of cyclists were struck by a car on the Chef Highway. We are deeply saddened to learn that one of our athletes, scheduled to participate in this Sunday’s triathlon, has passed - while another is critically injured. Our sympathy and thoughts are with all who have been affected by this tragic event," said Ellie Seifert of World Triathlon Corporation.
A New Orleans Police report gave a few more details as to how the accident apparently happened.
"The driver of a white Chevy Cruze was travelling in the right lane eastbound on Chef Menteur when for reasons unknown, he rear ended the two cyclists who were also travelling eastbound. One cyclist was pronounced dead on the scene while the other cyclist was transported to the hospital in serious condition.
This investigation is still ongoing and no charges have been filed at this time," stated the police report.
We have learned now that 3 cyclists were together when the accident happened, but the third cyclist apparently did not get injured.
"His bike had been cut in half by the impact. I looked at the car involved, and the windshield was just shattered, like the body had struck it at a high rate. There was another bicyclist involved, and EMS treated him and took him away," said Russell Drewry, a news photographer for WWL-TV who happened to come onto the accident scene shortly after, and snapped the pictures we featured here.
The Atlanta Journal reported that Sgt. Frank Guinn, a firefighter from Atlanta, was the triathlete who died on the scene, and his brother-in-law was the cyclist critically injured in this tragic accident. Guinn, who was a nine-year veteran of the department, is survived by a wife and triplet daughters.
Below is an image of the car involved in the accident.
We are also very touched and saddened about this accident and would like to send warm and loving thoughts to the families and loved ones of those involved in the accident.
We will update this story as we know more.