ATHENS, GA. - ATHENS, GA. - A bicyclist from Minnesota is dead and a second suffered serious injuries after a driver under the influence of drugs slammed into them near Athens, police said.
According to the police report, Whitney Baker Howard was driving westbound on Athena Drive, near the intersection of Anderson Lane when she crossed the center lane and struck three cyclists, 25-year-old graduate assistant Ashley Block from Minneapolis, Mitchell Eric Enfinger and Brian Molloy, who were traveling eastbound.
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Block was pronounced dead at the scene. Police believe she was struck by Howard's vehicle head-on. Enfinger suffered serious injuries after being struck on the left side and ejected to the shoulder of the roadway. Molloy was struck by the vehicle's mirror, only suffering injuries to his left arm.
Block graduated from Minnehaha Academy in 2009. She was valedictorian of her class and participated in tennis and band, but she was known for much more.
“Ashley just got it. She had this way of just knowing what was the right thing and then going after it," said Diane Hallberg, Block's band director. “She would have these big goals that she wanted to achieve and then there was just nothing that would stop her from getting that.”
Tennis coach Mark Norlander shared a similar perspective.
“I’ve worked with a lot of kids over the years that have had positive attitudes, but Ashley was kind of one of those who was off the charts," Norlander said.
Her Facebook says Ashley Block was pursuing a graduate degree in anthropology at UGA. Her Facebook page reflects an athletic woman who loves the outdoors and physical activity. The name on the account has been changed to "Remembering Ashley Block."
UGA released a statement Tuesday afternoon: "The University of Georgia community is deeply saddened by the tragic death of graduate student Ashley Elizabeth Block. The UGA family extends its most sincere sympathy, thoughts and prayers to her family in this time of need."
Howard was arrested and charged with First degree Homicide by Vehicle, Serious Injury by Vehicle, Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, DUI Endangerment, Failure to Maintain a Lane and Distracted Driving.
Police said Howard's toddler-age child was in the back seat of her vehicle when the accident happened.
According to municipal court documents, there was a pending DUI charge against Howard from June.
Molloy is the owner of The Hub Bicycles. He escaped the crash without major injuries. Cyclists dropped off flowers outside the store on Tuesday as a show of support.
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