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August 19, 2010 10:16 PM

Lifelong Friend Remembers Cyclist Hit By Truck

Sioux Falls, SD


Investigators say prescription drugs and alcohol were factors in Wednesday night's deadly truck-versus-bicycle crash in southwest Sioux Falls. 

David Julius Bendt is charged with vehicular homicide and driving under the influence in the crash that killed Kevin Rogers. Prosecutors say Bendt was driving between 35 to 40 miles an hour when he swerved into the bike, throwing Rogers fifty feet.

"He said that he blacked out, so if he was, he went until the vehicle stopped which it did when it got in the water and mud," Sioux Falls Police Lieutenant Jerome Miller said.

Rogers was 49-years-old and single. He worked at Citibank in Sioux Falls, and was working on getting into shape for his 50th birthday this fall. Wednesday night he was riding his bicycle over to his friend's house for dinner when he was hit and killed by a drunk driver.

Kevin Rogers was remembered Thursday night by nearly 100 friends and bicyclists who returned to the scene of the crash. 
Dozens of them rode their bikes down 57th street to remember a life cut short too soon.

"And at the same time we know it could have happened to any of us, in fact yesterday it happened to all of us together," memorial organizer Michael Christensen said.

A white, 'ghost bike' was placed at the scene of the accident to remember Rogers. Brett Lien, his lifelong friend, was in the crowd. Rogers was riding to his house Wednesday night.

"Talked to him about 5:15 cause we were going to make spaghetti," Lien said.

Lien grew up with Rogers in Stickney, South Dakota. The two have been friends ever since they were one year old, and when they moved to Sioux Falls they would get together every week to have spaghetti. Wednesday night was supposed to be one of those nights.
"He always came over, couple nights a week we had spaghetti, watch a few shows, he was like an uncle to my three kids, because he never had kids of his own," Lien said.

But, Rogers never showed up, and while Lien is still trying to cope with his friend's loss he's overwhelmed by the show of support his lifelong friend is receiving from bicyclists he never knew.

"It's like a brotherhood I never knew existed," Lien said.

And while Rogers will be remembered with a white bike, Lien will remember him like a brother who is now in a better place.

"He was very devout, he was quite active in his church, so I'm quite confident where Kevin is today," Lien said.

Rogers had just received his PhD in May and besides working at Citibank he also taught classes at Colorado Tech.

He would have turned 50 in October.
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