March 19, 2014
VAN BUREN TWP. — A 16-year-old Botkins boy was struck and killed Tuesday evening as he rode his bike along Lock Two Road.
On Tuesday March 18 at 7:40 p.m., the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a personal injury crash involving a pickup truck and a bicyclist on Lock Two Road near Kettlersville Road in Van Buren Township.
Preliminary investigation revealed a blue Ford Ranger was traveling west on Lock Two Road just east of Kettlersville Road. The vehicle struck a bicyclist also traveling west on the road.
The driver of the Ranger, Richard Kuck, 72, of New Knoxville, stated he did not see the bicyclist on the road because of the bright sun in his eyes.
The bicyclist, identified as 16-year-old Zachary Kerns, of Botkins, a sophomore at Anna High School, was pronounced dead on the scene by the Shelby County Coroner’s Office. Anna Rescue and Van Buren Township Fire personnel also responded to the scene.
“This has been an awfully difficult day,” Anna Superintendent Andy Bixler said Wednesday afternoon. “Our hearts go out to Zach’s family.”
Bixler said school staff members and local clergy have been in to help with counseling, and Botkins School sent two additional counselors to Anna to help. He said the sophomore class “spent a lot of the day together” to provide mutual support. Most of Kerns’ classmates had not heard about the accident until they arrived to school Wednesday morning.
“He was a really nice young man,” Bixler said. “He was on the football team. He had an injury and a surgery this year, so he was working his way back from that. I think he had plans to run track this spring.”
Bixler said Kerns had a twin sister, Chelsea, who also is a sophomore at the school.
The speed limit on Lock Two Road is 55 mph, and authorities do not believe speed was a factor. Kuck also was not suspected of any impairment.
The crash remains under investigation.
This story will be updated as further details become available.