David and Cindy Combs were riding theirtr tandem bicycle to choir practice west of their hometown of Champaign, Illinois when they were hit from behind by Errol Maul of Tolono, according to the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette. Police believe Maul was reading a map when he struck the cyclists. He was ticketed for “failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.”
David, who is in critical condition at Carle Hospital, has physical impairments while his deceased wife Cindy was blind. David could see well enough to captain, and the couple used a tandem bicycle to get around everywhere, including to their hospital appointments and to work. Their disabilities left them unable to drive and they depended on their bicycle for transportation.
The collision happened on the Bondville Slab north of Interstate 72; this road is straight as an arrow and absolutely flat. This time of year there’s no tall corn to obstruct sightlines. A pair of disabled adults on a tandem bike was likely the tallest thing in the vicinity, and Dave and Cindy always rode with a big orange flag waving over their bike.
Illinois country roads are narrow but lightly traveled — there’s plenty of room for a driver to pull over to the opposite lane to pass. You’d think a farmer’s son from north of Rantoul would know to at least watch for farm tractors on those narrow roads. The driver is a crop insurance specialist for Farm Credit Services of Illinois. (To be fair, I don’t know that there’s much tractor movement right now — ground is maybe still too soggy for field work?)
Sue in Champaign knows the couple and writes a little more about them here. They were apparently well known to others in their community who says the couple had a wonderful, loving relationship. They mourn Cindy’s passing, as do I.