Vetal, South Dakota (AP) -- The South Dakota Highway Patrol says a Missouri woman riding her bicycle across the country was struck and killed Tuesday near Vetal by a semitrailer hauling a combine.
Troopers say 21-year-old Paige Hicks of Chesterfield, Mo., was stopped on a hill on the shoulder of U.S. Highway 18 when she was struck by the semi.
Troopers say she was checking messages on her cell phone. The driver of the truck, 45-year-old Scott Wenzel of Wessington Springs, was not injured.
Hicks is a 2007 graduate of Marquette High School in the Rockwood School District. She was riding a bike as a part of the Bike and Build program. The program allows riders to travel across the country raising money and awareness for affordable housing.
"I can't express on behalf of the Marquette family how sad we are and just shocked for the family and words cannot express that," said retired associate principal, Lisa Kaczmarczyk.
School leaders say she excelled in her class where she was the salutatorian.
"Paige was very driven and very dedicated and when she chose a project she saw it to the end," said Kaczmarczyk.
AP / KSDK