Lee Ann Barry, founder of the B.I.G. ride, was killed in a collision with a car, just 27 miles short of completing her fourth ride across the United States. Also killed in the accident was Thomas Hoskins, a long-time cycling enthusiast and charity organizer. Both leave behind grieving spouses and children.
The B.I.G Ride is a ride across America to raise awareness money for victims of serious brain injuries.
The accident happened around 14:15 local time on U.S. 521, about 11 miles north of Lancaster, in South Carolina. The Charlotte Observer reported that Hoskins was killed on the scene, while Barry was transferred to hospital where she died four hours later. The accident remains under investigation.
Barry was hit by a car when she was five years old, then had brain surgery at age 15 to regain much of her physical abilities that she had lost in the accident. Lee Anne Barry and her husband Ben started their cross-country treks in 2001. This year's trip began Aug. 28 in Seattle.
On Sunday, the group started the last leg of the ride in Columbia. Ben Barry said his wife, their 15-year-old son and Hoskins were riding toward Waxhaw when the accident occurred. The group had planned to meet a police escort, then complete the ride to Charlotte. Ben Barry had driven ahead to Waxhaw in a van, then was riding back on his bike to meet the group.