Missouri S&T professor dies after bike accident in Iowa

Monday, July 27, 2009 | 6:27 p.m. CDT; updated 7:52 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 27, 2009

DES MOINES, Iowa — A Missouri professor who was an avid cyclist has died from injuries he suffered in an accident during an annual bicycle ride across Iowa.

Donald Myers was a professor of engineering management at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.

The school issued a news release Monday saying the 69-year-old Myers died Sunday at an Iowa City hospital from injuries he suffered while participating Saturday in the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, known as RAGBRAI.

Des Moines County sheriff's office officials said the crash occurred about 15 miles west of Burlington. Myers was riding down a small hill that ended in a curve near a dam when he lost control of his bicycle and crashed.

Officials said no other bicycle or car was involved.

Emergency medical technicians arrived to help Myers within a minute of the crash and found him unconscious with a head injury. He was taken to an area hospital before being transferred by helicopter to University Hospitals in Iowa City. He never regained consciousness, officials said.

The sheriff's office said he was wearing a helmet.

Myers was a member of the Missouri S&T faculty since 1979. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from the school in 1961 and 1964. He also held a master's degree in business administration and a law degree from Saint Louis University.

Myers was a past Faculty Senate president, had received a number of university awards and served as an adviser to his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha.

William Daughton, chairman of engineering management at Missouri S&T, worked closely with Myers and said his death is a "shocking tragedy for us."

He said Myers had a passion for fitness and was once an avid runner but turned to cycling in his later years.

"For a man who was 69, he looked more like he was 50," Daughton said.

He said Myers was passionate about the school.

"He loved this place," Daughton said. "He put in many hours of service to the campus, the department, the fraternities — he was completely dedicated to the institution."

Daughton said his colleague was well-known and well-liked at the school of about 6,000 students.

"He was tremendously generous with his time with people and I can't think of anyone who didn't think he was a terrific guy," Daughton said.

RAGBRAI is sponsored by The Des Moines Register and attracts about 10,000 riders for the roughly 450-mile trip.

Susan Patterson Plank, vice president of marketing at The Register, said Myers, who had participated in RAGBRAI before, was riding on a team from Missouri S&T.

"The Des Moines Register and RAGBRAI are saddened by the death of Dr. Myers and our thoughts are with his family, his family at the university and his biking team," she said.


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