• Tue September 26 2006
  • Posted Sep 25, 2006
Officials say John Maxwell had the right of way when he was hit by a vehicle Sunday in Dallas County. By MEGHAN V. MALLOY REGISTER STAFF WRITER September 26, 2006 A Dallas Center man who was killed Sunday while riding his bicycle to work died while doing what he loved best, a longtime friend said. John Maxwell, 45, loved riding his bicycle, said John Phillips. Dallas County sheriff's officials are continuing to investigate the accident in which a vehicle driven by Matthew Merical, 22, of Urbandale allegedly struck Maxwell. Merical was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He was convicted of the same charge three years ago. Maxwell was riding south on Dallas County Road R16, a flat, paved road that leads to a recreational trail that goes into Waukee. He was struck at the intersection of the county road and 270th Street, south of Dallas Center. Maxwell had the right of way at the intersection, officials said. "As I understand, he routinely rode his bike to work," Chief Deputy Kevin Frederick said of Maxwell. Maxwell worked the Heartland Co-op. Many people said they remember him fondly. Frederick declined to say whether Maxwell was wearing reflective gear or a helmet. Phillips, however, said safety was important to Maxwell, and he could not imagine his friend riding without a helmet or reflectors. "John had two lights on his bike all the time," Phillips said. "Sometimes we'd have to turn them off for him if he forgot." Phillips and Maxwell, a native of Oklahoma, met 10 years ago through the landscaping business, and they shared a passion for motorcycles. "We'd get on the (motorcycles) and go on 200- or 300-mile trips," he said. Maxwell had worked as a grain elevator superintendent for Heartland Co-op, 529 Ashworth Drive in Waukee, for five years. Maxwell, who had participated in the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, also enjoyed fishing and being outdoors, Phillips said. "He was easy to make friends with," Phillips said. Maxwell's death was believed to be the third this year involving a bicyclist being hit by a motor vehicle, said Scott Falb, a driver safety specialist for the Iowa Department of Transportation. Eleven bicyclists were killed by motor vehicles in 2005, the highest number since the mid-1990s, Falb said. Merical was being held in the Dallas County Jail. He was convicted of driving while under the influence in December 2003 in Dallas County. Frederick said the county attorney's office had filed no other charges in the case. Brandt Funeral Home in Dallas Center is handling arrangements. No services had been arranged as of early Monday.

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