Police identify bicyclist hit and killed by truck on Highway 126

A bicyclist was hit and killed by a truck driving east of Veneta early Wednesday morning.

Posted: Dec 25, 2019 5:44 AM
Updated: Jan 6, 2020 3:36 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A bicyclist was hit and killed by a truck driving east of Veneta early Wednesday morning.

Police identified the man as Travis Ewert, 49, from Veneta. 

The crash happened on Highway 126 near Fisher Road, at milepost 52.

Sgt. Hank Duren of the Oregon State Police said a truck driven by Conrad Schwarzkopf, 25, of Springfield was headed eastbound when Schwarzkopf hit Ewert who was in the middle of the road wearing dark clothing.

Duren said another driver, that was travelling westbound on Highway 126, passed the bicyclist before he was hit, and then saw the red truck approaching eastbound and knew something bad was going to happen. 

"He saw the brake lights of the pickup come on, and then the hazard lights came on, he turned around and came back and found that vehicle had struck the bicyclist," Duren said.

OSP officers said the truck that hit the bicyclist was going the speed limit, but since the bicyclist was riding in the middle of the road, and wearing all dark clothing, the driver couldn't see him in time.

"Witnesses stated there were no lights on the bicycle. When I arrived on scene the lights were on the bicycle they were just not being utilized," Duren said. 

The driver stopped and CPR was performed but first responders pronounced the bicyclist dead on the scene, police said.

Police say there was no indication the driver or the bicyclist was impaired.

"I think its just important to understand that on a rural highway like this, with the narrow shoulders, it's very difficult for operators of vehicles to make any kind of evasive maneuvers, to avoid collision. So it's very important for people to be paying attention," Duren said. 

OR 126W Florence-Eugene highway was closed for several hours between Veneta and Eugene. As of 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 25th, the road is now back open

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