Metro-East News

He was biking cross-country to raise money for a children’s center. Then he was hit by a semi.

In this BND file photo, bikers make their way out of New Baden Village Park.
In this BND file photo, bikers make their way out of New Baden Village Park.

A former Fairview Heights man who was biking across the country to raise money for an East St. Louis children’s center was struck and seriously injured by a semitrailer Tuesday.

Steven King, 60, was riding along Interstate 90 in South Dakota around 11 a.m. Tuesday when a semitrailer veered onto the shoulder of the road and struck him, according to Tony Mangan, a public information officer for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

King was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries that are not considered life-threatening, Mangan said.

Charges are pending against 58-year-old David Akers, who was driving the semitrailer at the time of the crash.

Akers told police that he reached down to grab a drink from his cooler, and when he looked up, the truck had crossed the fog line and was driving on the shoulder, Mangan said. Before he could get back on the road, he struck King, police said.

King, who now lives in Florida, and a team of cyclists were taking a 3,650-mile bike ride across the country, from Astoria, Oregon, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. On the 23rd day, just after coming down from Mt. Rushmore, King was struck by the semi. His team pedaled on without him, said Shannon Horstmann, program director at the Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis.

The Christian Activity Center serves around 1,000 kids in the East St. Louis area. King and his team were riding across the country to raise money for the center. The goal is to raise $10,000. The team will be riding until Aug. 7.