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Out-of-Control Lumber Trailer Kills 2 Cyclists

August 09, 1995| From Associated Press

NEILLSVILLE, Wis. — A runaway flatbed trailer loaded with lumber careened into a pack of bicyclists riding over a bridge Tuesday, killing two and seriously injuring a third.

"I heard a rumble and turned around and saw bodies flying," said Erwin Thiede, who was on a morning walk when the trailer became unhitched and crushed the victims into the side of the bridge.

The trailer slammed into a ditch and overturned after hitting the cyclists, who were participating with about 450 others in an annual 350-mile ride across Wisconsin sponsored by a bike shop company.

Six bicyclists were on the bridge, which straddles a creek, when the trailer hit. Others in the group rode up and discovered the scene on a state highway near Neillsville in central Wisconsin.

Larry Schmalz, 52, of Cedarburg died at the scene and Margaret Eichers, 41, of Grafton was pronounced dead at a hospital. Schmalz's wife, Linda, 48, was hospitalized with a fractured pelvis. A fourth cyclist had minor injuries.

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