Canadian bicyclist on international fundraising trip dies after being struck by driver in South Dakota
After biking nearly 400 miles and raising nearly C$18,000, Jean-Pierre Petit was struck north of Brookings.
BROOKINGS, South Dakota — A 53-year-old man biking from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, in an effort to raise money for his granddaughter's medical condition has died after he was struck by a vehicle on Interstate 29 last week.
Jean-Pierre Petit, 53, of Winnipeg, has died as a result of injuries he sustained in the June 9 crash.
According to the South Dakota Highway Patrol, on June 9, Petit was riding his bicycle on I-29 roughly 17 miles north of Brookings when a 2015 International straight truck struck him along the fog line.
Petit was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, but sustained life-threatening injuries. He was transported to a Sioux Falls hospital, where he died Monday.
In an effort to fundraise for his granddaughter, Eveline, who has suffered from end-stage kidney disease since her birth, Petit was inspired to bike a route from Winnipeg to Hot Springs.
Petit ran his first-ever 100 mile ultra-marathon in Hot Springs. While in town, he saw Kidney Springs, a natural spring that detailed how the minerals in the water promoted kidney health.
After Eveline was born, Petit said he was inspired to make the trip again. He first thought of running, but realized it would take too long. He settled on biking a roughly 800-mile route, instead.
After kicking off his trek on June 4, Petit biked roughly 62 miles each day, before reaching Watertown after five days.
It was on day six, after biking nearly 400 miles and raising nearly C$18,000, that Petit was struck north of Brookings.
Since the crash, family and friends have taken to the Cycle4Eveline Facebook page to mourn the loss of Petit, also known as JP, together.
"JP has always been focused on the health and safety of others. He leaves behind an amazing legacy of this which includes his recent support of his son and granddaughter during their kidney donation experience, and then his fundraising plan in support of Eveline’s kidney transplant and for other kids who need nephrology care," a post written by his family reads. "And now, with this legacy ride, he is donating his organs to help save more lives."
From the beginning of Petit's journey through Wednesday afternoon, over C$22,000 (roughly $17,000 USD) has been raised, slightly more than the original goal of C$20,000.
Petit's family said on Facebook those wishing to honor Petit can direct donations to Cycle4Eveline. He is survived by his wife, their three children and many grandchildren.
The driver of the truck that struck Petit, 65-year-old Mark Akkerman, of Brandon, is facing charges in connection to the fatal crash.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol is continuing to investigate the crash.