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Martinez Man Dies on FATS Trails in Merriwether

web posted February 11, 2012

MERRIWETHER – A 65-year-old Martinez man mountain biking on the Forks Area Trail System (FATS) with friends Friday morning failed to join the group at the next agreed juncture of trails. When the group tried to contact him by cell phone and got no answer, they went back to check on him. Two other riders were already on the scene and the cyclist had crashed and was not breathing. They called 911 and began CPR as rescue crews with the Merriwether Fire Department and EMS raced to the scene.

Merriwether Fire Department deployed their Off Road Recovery vehicles custom designed for use on the trails along with a paramedic from EMS. Valiant efforts were made to save the man, however; a short time later the call went out for Edgefield County Coroner Thurmond Burnett to respond to the scene.

According to information gathered at the scene, the unidentified cyclist was at the rear of the group on the Brown Wave trail, several miles deep into the Sumter Nation Forrest when he went down. The man did receive facial and other injuries when he crashed, but none initially appeared to be fatal.

Early speculation was that the cyclist probably had a heart attack which led to the crash. "He was probably dead before he hit the ground," Coroner Burnett said. He estimated the time of death at approximately 11:20 am, but that was based on early information on the scene. 

An autopsy will be performed in Newberry on Saturday to confirm the cause of death. Results could be available as early as Monday.

The name of the cyclist is being withheld pending family notifications.

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