• Wed May 26 2010
  • Posted May 27, 2010
Marathon, IA By Dolly A. Butz The Laurens-Marathon Community School District is mourning the loss of a high school science teacher who died Wednesday after he was struck by a vehicle driven by a former student while riding his bicycle near Marathon. Alan Peterson, 50, of Laurens, told school staff that he planned to participate in RAGBRAI this summer. He was training for the ride Wednesday night, when the crash occurred, according to Laurens-Marathon Superintendent Iner Joelson. Joelson said Peterson, who taught physics, biology and chemistry, was "well-liked" by students and staff. "It's like the loss of a parent or sibling," Joelson said today of Peterson's death. "The kids loved him. This has just tore us apart." The Buena Vista County sheriff's office said in a statement that at 8 p.m. Wednesday Peterson was riding his bicycle westbound on Highway 10, 3 1/2 miles east of Marathon, when he was struck by a westbound vehicle driven by 18-year-old Kelsey Fredricks. Fredricks, whom Joelson describes as a great student, had recently graduated from Laurens-Marathon High School. She was not injured in the crash. Peterson was taken to Pocahontas Community Hospital by ambulance, where he was later pronounced dead. A preliminary investigation indicates that Peterson's bicycle and the vehicle were both westbound into the sun as it was setting. Fredricks was unable to see the bicycle due to the blinding sunlight coming from the west, according to police, and struck it. No charges have been filed. Joelson said counselors and clergy are at the school today helping students and faculty cope with Peterson's death.

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