SMITHTON, IL (KTVI)-- A Belleville man riding his bike to work Tuesday morning collapsed on Douglas Road near Route 159 in Smithton then was struck by a car and killed. Police say 39-year-old John Fudge rode his bike, which has a small motor on it, to work every day to save money on gas.
Police Chief Brian Vielweber says when Fudge fell in the road two women stopped and were calling for help when he was hit. "They summoned help by dialing 9-1-1 on their cell phone and at the same time a car traveling east bound didn’t see him in the roadway and struck him and subsequently passed because of his injuries."
The driver of the car pulled over. Investigators say he told them he didn't see Fudge because it was dark. He also says he wasn't going above the speed limit and was preparing to stop as he approached the intersection.
Chief Vielweber says, "Evidence at the scene indicate he could not have been traveling very fast from the point of impact with the individual to the point to the stop was less than 50 feet. We didn’t believe speed was a factor."
Investigators say Fudge rode his bike to work every day to save money on gas. He was riding west bound in the east bound lane towards on-coming traffic heading to his construction job near Milstadt when he fell. "We spoke with family members who indicated that was one of his practices to travel in oncoming lane to know where cars were. He felt it was safer."
Police are trying to figure out why Fudge collapsed. Chief Vielwebersays he didn't have any broken bones. "No major abrasions which is indicative of someone being hit by another vehicle. We couldn't find anything on the bicycle to indicate damage."
Chief Vielweber called in Illinois State Police who reconstructed the scene and the St. Clair County Coroner to help with the investigation. He says investigators interviewed the driver of the car twice and spoke with several witnesses. Based on what they’ve learned, Vielweber says no charges will be filed in the case. "It appears to be a terrible accident. It's tragic for all of the families involved."