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Waltham man bicycling in Trek Across Maine fatally struck Friday by tractor-trailer

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  June 14, 2013 01:30 PM

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A 23-year-old Waltham man was struck and killed in Maine Friday morning while riding his bicycle with co-workers as part of the American Lung Association's Trek Across Maine 180-mile bike tour, said Maine State Police.

Police said David LeClair was cycling along Route 2 in Hanover, Maine just before 9 a.m. with a group of employees from Watertown-based athenahealth -- where he also works -- when the rear part of a tractor-trailer truck hit LeClair, killing him instantly, according to a statement.

The truck did not stop, police said, although it is unclear from the statement if the driver knew his vehicle struck LeClair.

LeClair's companions stopped to try and help him, also calling police with the description of the truck.

Police stopped a driver operating a truck matching the given description a short time later in the nearby town of Rumford.

Police said they are interviewing the driver and examining the vehicle.

No more details could be released due to the ongoing investigation of the crash, police said. Representatives from the Oxford County District Attorney's office said the office was involved in the case.

The three-day bicycle tour began Friday at 7 a.m. near the Sunday River mountain, located in Newry, Maine -- a short distance from where the fatal accident occurred. The bike tour ends in Belfast, Maine.

Jeff Seyler, American Lung Association CEO and president, said the bicycle tour would continue despite the fatal accident.

"All of us at the American Lung Association express our profound sadness at this tragic loss of life and offer our deepest condolences to the family," Seyler said in a statement. "With heavy hearts, the Trek is continuing."

LeClair was biking as part of the 140-person athenahealth team. LeClair has worked at the Watertown-based medical billing company for two years, officials said.

Holly Spring, an athenahealth spokeswoman, said LeClair -- a Naples, Fla. native -- joined the company after he graduated from Bentley University in Waltham. Bentley spokeswoman Helen Henrichs said LeClair was an honors student while in college, and that his younger sister is a rising senior at Bentley as well.

This year was LeClair's second time biking in the Trek Across Maine, Spring said in an email, adding that LeClair "was very much looking forward [to] and excited about the Trek."

"We’re heartbroken," Spring said in a statement. "David LeClair was a bright light at athenahealth. He was loved by all -- known to be incredibly social, he loved the outdoors, and was a friend, beyond just a co-worker."

Spring said LeClair's position had him helping doctors and physician practices communicate with insurers.

The company has called grief counselors into Watertown and Maine, and officials are planning to hold a memorial event for LeClair, Spring said.

"The entire athenahealth community is deeply saddened by what can only be described as a terrible and shocking accident," she said. "Our deepest sympathies go out to David’s family and loved-ones as we all mourn together."

Athenahealth also has an operational site in Belfast, the ending site of the Trek Across Maine, according to the company's website.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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