Milton teen dies after bicycling group is struck by car in Arkansas

A teenage girl from Milton has died from injuries she sustained when she and six other bicyclists were hit by a car in rural Arkansas on Tuesday, authorities said.

Merritt Levitan, 18, was taking part in a cross-country bicycle tour led by Overland, a summer camps program based in Williamstown. The group embarked from Charleston, S.C., and was destined for Los Angeles.

It was not immediately clear when Levitan died.

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At about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, a car driven by a 21-year-old woman struck seven cyclists traveling north on State Highway 17 two miles north of McCrory, Ark., according to Arkansas State Police.

Three cyclists were taken to hospitals in Memphis, Tenn. and Little Rock, Ark. by helicopter. Four others were taken by ambulance to local hospitals, officials said.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing, State Police in Arkansas said, and the Woodruff County prosecuting attorney will determine whether to bring charges against the driver, Teagan Ross Martin, of Newport, Ark. Martin was not injured in the crash, authorities said.

Early on Thursday, Overland decided to cancel the remainder of the cross-country trek, which was scheduled to conclude in about a month.

“At this point, we believe that this is what needs to be done to allow all involved time to process their thoughts and emotions while surrounded by loved ones,” Tom and Liz Costley, Overland’s founders and directors, said in a statement.