HAMPTON, Ga. - A respected doctor and well-known cycling enthusiast in Henry County was killed during a ride Wednesday night.
It happened on Lower Woolsey Road approaching Highway 19/41 around 6:40 p.m. Henry County Police said John A. Harsch, 59, of Hampton, was struck from behind by a 2002 Infinity as the driver was trying to negotiate a curve. Harsch was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital where he later died. Three other bicyclists were not injured in the accident.
Police said the driver was distracted at the time of the crash. He is fully cooperating with their investigation.
"Some people have asked about was [the driver] texting and things of that nature," said Capt. Joey Smith of the Henry County Police Department. "We can't determine that right now, but we're checking. We're checking all those variables."
People in the cycling community in Henry County said Harsch was well-loved and always friendly.
"He loved riding. He was always willing to help. He's helped me on countless rides, was always smiling. He was smiling last night before he headed off to ride. I stood in the Trek Bike Shop in McDonough and talked to him before he left and he was excited to go ride at the speedway because he said there was less traffic and he felt safe training out there. He will be missed so much,” said fellow cyclist Kimi Bosy.
Dr. Peto Fallas first met Harsch in 2009, but reconnected with him when he joined the Southern Crescent Cycling group.
"As a cyclist, we always fear vehicles," said Fallas. "I'm sure we're gonna go through a period where we're going to be riding a little timid, at least myself. The memory of John will forever prevail with us."
The name of the driver involved has not yet been released. Police said a grand jury will determine any charges in the crash.