This story is part of "Iowa biking: Welcome or not," a series exploring Iowa's bike culture and the state's attitude toward cyclists.
RICEVILLE, Ia.— Grace Harken’s father was the first to reach her side as she laybloodied and broken in a ditch next to her bicyclealong Highway 218.
The flaxen-hairedformer Mitchell County Fair queenwas riding home from work when she was struck by a driver who was allegedly texting.Her father and sister, who were minutes behind in a family car, werethe firstto spot the crash.
"I went running up there and slid in the gravel right next to her, yelling her name,” Darrel Harken saidTuesday from his living room on his family's Riceville farm. “Her face was soaked in blood, and she was lying on her side.”
Minutes later, Grace Harken died. But the distracted driver who hit herlikely will receive a suspended license and a $1,350fine— with no time in jail.
Drivers in Iowa who run into bicyclists and kill themrarely servetime behind bars, a Des Moines Register review of five years of crash datafound.
Since 2011 in Iowa, 21 bicyclists have diedin collisions with cars. Thirteen of those drivers were subsequentlycharged. Three cases are pending,but in the other 11, the most common punishment was a$250 fine.
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