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Griffin cyclist killed on fundraising ride

A Griffin man, 47-year-old Walter Berg, was killed Saturday morning will participating in a fundraising bike ride in southeast Georgia. Berg was riding north on U.S. 341 at the Glynn-Wayne county line at 10:50 a.m. Saturday when he was struck from behind by a northbound van, Senior Trooper Robbie Jump said. Joshua Westberry, 34, of Jesup, was driving the 2012 Dodge Caravan that struck Berg, Jump said. At impact, Berg went onto the windshield of the Caravan and was then thrown about 200 feet onto the roadway, where he died of apparent severe head and internal injuries, Jump said. ’Mr. Westberry said he looked down for a second and when he looked up there was the bicycle,’ Jump said. Westberry said he was driving 65 mph, the posted speed limit, and Jump said the measurements he took indicated that was Westberry’s approximate speed. Berg was riding with a husband and wife, who were traveling on the narrow strip of pavement outside the white fog line, while Berg was in the traffic lane, Jump said. They were riding well ahead of the main body of bicyclists. Jump estimated Berg to be about four feet from the fog line when he was struck. ’He was entitled to be in the traffic lane. The law changed a few years ago to treat bicycles just like a vehicle,’ Jump said. Berg was wearing a yellow bicycling shirt and shorts ‘so he was visible,’ Jump said. Drugs and alcohol are not suspected as factors in the accident, he said. Westberry has not been charged, but the investigation is incomplete. The Georgia State Patrol Special Collision Reconstruction Team from Reidsville is also investigating the accident, Jump said. Berg’s body will be sent to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab for an autopsy, he said. The organizer of the ride said that Berg was in a trio riding well ahead of a much larger group of riders, Jump said. The Altamaha River Partnership was sponsoring the ride that began at the Jaycee fairgrounds on the Wayne County side of the Altamaha and included river crossings and views of the river in Long, McIntosh, Glynn and Wayne counties. Riders had the options of four rides from 28 to 101 miles. – Georgia Times-Union

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