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Teenage Cyclist Killed Near McPherson, Kansas

Paul ZieglerPaul Ziegler, a student at McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas, was killed by an inattentive driver on Sunday, September 23, 2012 near McPherson.

According to the McPherson Sentinel:

Paul Ziegler, 19, Elizabethtown, Pa., was southbound on his bicycle .2 of a mile north of Frontier Road on 18th Avenue at around 12:45 p.m. Sunday when the accident occurred. Capt. Joe Hoffman said a 17-year-old rural McPherson male was northbound on 18th Avenue and swerved into Ziegler’s path as he was reaching for something he dropped.

Ziegler was a freshman majoring in Business who was loved by many on campus, McPherson College President Michael Schneider said. “He was a long way from home, but loved the community,” Schneider said. “And he got love and respect back.”

Paul’s hometown newspaper, MyElizabethtown News, reported:

Paul Allen Ziegler, 19, was a student at McPherson College and lived in a dormitory on the campus, according to Capt. Joe Hoffman of the McPherson County Sheriff’s Office. He was the son of Dale and Debra Ziegler, of 9103 Elizabethtown Road.

“He was just out riding his bike, about four miles out of town,” Hoffman said. “He was by himself.”

Ziegler was riding southbound on 18th Ave. at 12:45 p.m. when a northbound pickup truck drifted over the center line and struck him head-on, killing him on impact, the captain said.

The pickup truck was driven by 17-year-old Ethan Fowler, of 961 18th Ave., McPherson, Kan.

“He said he dropped his pocket knife and looked over to the passenger seat to see where he dropped it,” Hoffman said. “He looked back up and was left of (the center line) and hit him.”

“Inattention and an inexperienced driver contributed to the accident,” he said. “It is sad to see a young man lose his life over something like this.”

Ziegler was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS personnel.

His body was taken to Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center in Wichita, where an autopsy is planned, Hoffman said.

It did not appear that there were any evasive maneuvers taken by Fowler or Ziegler, he said.

Fowler was “uncontrollable with anxiety” after the wreck, Hoffman said.

Hoffman said it appears Fowler was driving under the road’s 55 mph speed limit at the time of the wreck.

“There’s no evidence of alcohol impairment, and he was not texting,” Hoffman said.

Police will be working with a Kansas prosecutor to determine if any charges will be filed.

A memorial service for Paul Ziegler is planned in McPherson, though details are not yet available. KAKE reports that “Those wishing to show support can drop off cards at designated locations around campus including Miller Library and Mohler Hall.”

The investigation of the collision will be conducted by the McPherson County Sheriff’s Office and the McPherson County Attorney.

Additional coverage:

Paul is the sixth cyclist to lose their life on Kansas roads in 2012. Julian Olea Tomas was killed by a garbage truck in Hutchinson on February 13th, John B. Fuqua was killed in a hit-and-run in Wichita on May 20th, Caleb Garcia was killed by a truck in Liberal on June 1st, Roger Haynie died when two bicycles collided in Garden Plain on June 8th, and Dr. Roger Joyce was struck from behind by a car near Augusta on July 25th.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Paul’s family and friends, and to the people of McPherson and McPherson College. Tailwinds, Paul.

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

8 responses to “Teenage Cyclist Killed Near McPherson, Kansas”

  1. Dale Ziegler says:

    Paul was riding the same 18 mile loop that I road many times 30 years ago.It was a great ride to get out of the dorm and just think. I showed him the loop when we dropped him of as a freshman. We are going to miss him dearly!!

  2. Randy Rasa says:

    So terribly sorry for your and Debra’s loss, Dale. It sounds like Paul was a wonderful kid and well-loved by all. Thank you for taking the time to stop by here.

  3. Nathan Carr says:

    Dale, can you tell me more about your loop.
    I live on 14th Ave. and see a LOT of bicyclists. Is that part of your loop?

  4. Nathan Carr says:

    I’m sorry, Dale not Randy

  5. Doug and Sue Cosenza says:

    Dear Mr. and Mrs. Ziegler, the Cosenza family is greatly saddened upon hearing the tragic news of the loss of your son Paul. We extend our condolences to you on your terrible loss. Our son Alex played tennis with Paul at McPherson and would tell us what a wonderful friend and teammate Paul was to him. Alex is greatly saddened that he has lost a dear friend. Paul and Alex have similar personalities, quiet, honest, caring, and good morals. They hit it off together. McPherson College has lost a wonderful student athlete. God will keep Paul safe and may he bless you both. Our continued prayers to you and Paul.
    The Cosenza Family, Beverly Hills, Michigan

  6. Dale Ziegler says:

    I met Alex last year at homecoming and again this week at services in McPherson. He was able to express how he felt about Paul. We spent quality time with the tennis team.

  7. Dale Ziegler says:

    To Nate,
    The route is: Leave McPherson College,East on 56, South on 17th Ave., Follow hard top when it turns East… to South on 18th Ave., West on Commanche to Old 81. Northwest on Old 81 to 14th Ave. North onto Main St.. to Avenue A. East on Avenue A to Maxwell. North on Maxwell to Euclid. East on Euclid to college.

  8. Randy Rasa says:

    There is a ride this Saturday (October 20, 2012) in McPherson for the McPherson College student who was recently killed in a cycling accident. He had a goal to ride 2000 miles this year. He had completed 800 miles. The students of McPherson College want to honor his dream and ride the remaining 1200 miles for him. “Pedals for Paul” will be a 20 mile ride this Saturday at 1:30. Registration is a 1:00 in front of Miller Library on the McPherson College campus, no charge. They will also have stationary bikes set up in the gym from 10-4. The mileage will be totaled at 4pm and announced at the homecoming dinner later that evening.