Police: Alcohol a factor in fatal crash

Published 8:37 am Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Police say alcohol was a factor in a traffic accident that killed a bicyclist Saturday evening in Berrien County.

Merle Dowling, 54, of Coloma, was killed. A press release by the Michigan State Police Niles Post said troopers were dispatched to a car/bicycle injury crash at Riverside Road and Broderick Road in Hagar Township at approximately 9:30 p.m. Troopers arrived to find Dowling laying on the north side of Riverside Road in critical condition. Troopers administered first aid until Pride Care Ambulance arrived. Dowling was transported to Lakeland Hospital in Saint Joseph, where he was treated for severe injuries. He was pronounced dead by an emergency room doctor at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

The accident occurred when Dowling was heading west on Riverside Road near the right fog line. A pick-up truck, driven by a 25-year-old Benton Harbor man, was also heading west. As the truck was passing the bicyclist, the bicyclist attempted to turn south in front of the truck onto Broderick and was struck by the truck.

The driver of the truck was not injured.

According to police, initial indications are Dowling was not wearing a bicycle helmet and was under the influence of alcohol.

The crash remains under investigation by Michigan State Police Niles Post Accident Investigators.

Troopers were assisted at the scene by Pride Care Ambulance, North Berrien Fire Department, and Berrien County Sheriffs Deputies.