Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Distracted Driver Kills One Bicyclist and Injures Another Near Champaign, Illinois

Update: March 9, 2011 - Some have questioned how a disabled man and his blind wife could ride a tandem bicycle.  Well, here is a photo of David and Cindy Combs doing just that quite well  several years ago:

                                           Courtesy Urbana-Champaign Cycling Ventures
Update:  2:24 p.m. -   A friend of Mr. and Mrs. Combs has shared some additional details about them.  They were no ordinary couple.  "David is disabled; Cindy was blind. Their bike was their freedom," said SiouxGeonz, who apparently met Cindy Combs through a singing group.  Despite their disabilities they were passionate about cycling and rode just about everywhere.  "David is disabled and doesn't drive.  I remember one day when he told me that Cindy had screamed on their way to the ride... because she was so glad to be going on a ride with us," SiouxGeonz wrote in a comment made on this blog.  (Click on the Comment link below the main post to read more.)

Main Post - A 53 year old woman was killed and her husband, 51, was seriously injured when they were struck from behind by a motorist as they rode their tandem bicycle in rural Champaign County yesterday.  Cindy C. Combs and David Combs were riding south on County Road E., just north of 1800 North near Bondville, at around 4:30 p.m. when they were hit from behind by a driver who "may have been distracted by reading a map," according to the Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette.  The driver was identified as 31 year old Errol T. Maul, 31, of nearby Tolono, IL.

Mrs. Combs was pronounced dead at the scene.  Her husband is in critical condition at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.


  1. David is disabled; Cindy was blind. Their bike was their freedom. I met Cindy in Parkland Pops and Parkland Chorus; Parkland Pops is a singing group open to everybody, but most folks are disabled. Cindy was blind but had an excellent ear. When I realized she and her husband rode everywhere, I invited them to a club bike ride. David is disabled and doesn't drive; i remember one day when he told me that Cindy had screamed on their way to the ride... because she was so glad to be going on a ride with us.
    Do I need to mention that they were all about riding safely?
    Their bike was stolen a few years back and it made the papers and television... and the contributions were enough to get them a much better bike than the department store model tehy'd had (and our LBS had always made an exception to their "No Wally World Bike Repairs" rule for them).
    I'm still takin' it in... and thinking we want the same people who rallied behind them to get them a new bike to know waht has been taken from the community by careless driving. As in, not caring enough to deserve to get back behind the wheel, IMHO.

  2. Thanks so much for this information about the Combs. I am very sorry to hear about this incident.

  3. this outrages me! distracted driving IS A CRIME! there should be a ticket issued! and criminal charges of involuntary manslaughter at a minimum...

    when will drivers ever learn that all you need to do is pull over in a parking lot (or on the shoulder if it is super-urgent) to read any map, any phone texts, any book, any newspaper, any emails - in short: THERE IS * N O * WAY THAT YOU CAN READ ANYTHING WITHIN THE CAR SAFELY WHILE THE VEHICLE IS MOVING!

    my extreme condolences for this couple and their families. i have met them before too, and i am so horribly upset that poor cindy, who was blind and who thus couldnt drive, was killed by a driver in a car who thought his stupid map was more important than her and david's lives.

    31 year old errol maul of tolono is identified as the driver of the car.
    i want to see him get a ticket, i want to see his license suspended, and i want to see him convicted of manslaughter and to serve jail time.

    his stupid map just was not that important!

  4. here is errol maul's facebook
    he's just going right along in life, with wife, no ticket, no jail, no remark even on his regret or anything about car accident

  5. I'm so, so sad to hear this news. We think of David and Cindy all the time.

  6. here's a question --
    errol maul's facebook says he works for Farm Credit Services of Illinois.
    since this incident happened around 430p, and in the farm country, and he was reading a map:
    i wonder - was he on duty at work at the time? was he trying to find some type of farmland, or farmer, or something work-related?
    if so, there would be some VERY BIG POCKETS to go after in a wrongful death lawsuit.

  7. It could be that he's already been advised not to post anything about it.

  8. This was a terrible accident. I know Errol, he is a good christian and very conscientious person. Errol is one of the nicest people you could ever know. He will suffer with this the rest of his life, as most would. Please do not convict him before the whole story is told.

  9. this is david and cindy nephew now i say this but really he more like a big brother to me. he was the only boy in a family of 5 girls and iam my moms only . Now my mom lives with myk gma n gpa n i did for 19 yrs of my life so whenever david and cindy came we would always had guy time we would go shoot some pool or ride bikes and just take walks now i always looks forward to that time with him he was the brother i never had and i was the younger anoyin bro that he never had. now cindy she was the nicest person that i know in my 24 yrs ive never seen nothing but love from her she never raised her voice or anything to me n trust me thats hard i can be a handful. Now what david and cindy had was something that we all are looking for and thats true love. Not even could over come everything they did and they did it like it was nothing. Most of us could handle or take what they went through in life.

    now on this dumbass anonymous person blog thing i agree dont convict b4 the whole stories out but if he was lookin at a map wtf come on why would you need a map to start with in an area that you live i mean come on you live in tolono n this happen what 5 10 miles from your place now come on i could tell you every rode anywhere around here including that area and ive never live there just my inlaws do and just going to see them i know my way so not like its that flippin hard. Second you had to see them at least what a mile away and thats being really nice probly more like 5 but why would you look at a map knowin peoples in fornt of you is my question to you.

    But here where iam going to surprise you all i want to say thanks for atleast stopping and trying to help and calling the cops most people wouldnt of so thank you.

    But i can honestly say that we will wait to everything comes out then we will talk to our lawyer

  10. Hey gcombs, Sorry for your loss but your blog is obviously incoherent. That means you make little or no sense. Why did you call anonymous a dumbass? Absolutely uncalled for.

  11. now i do need to say sorry for that i shouldnt of called him that. And at all my anger got the most of me and that was uncalled for so iam so sorry for that and god bless and i will pray for errol and his family bcus if hes a christain man like my family i know he feels bad himself. This will be the last thing i say bcus iam not getting into it on a blog over something tragic like this

  12. Now that was a nice blog. The Combs's must have been two of the most unbelievable people on this planet. You can not hear anything but good things about them. They are truly an inspiration to all. Errol Maul is also one of those special people of the world. A young man that anyone would be proud to know. This world would be a much better place if we all lived as these three chose to live. I believe this map theory that is going around is because Errol carried maps and platbooks in his passenger seat. They were a big part of his job. That does not mean he would read them as he drove. And like you said, why would he need a map when he was on his home turf. God bless all family members. This is truly a tragic time.

  13. yea my aunt and uncle would of truthly been embarass by the way i acted at a time like this they help raise me better then that. They truely are two of the most loving and caring people i ever meet. So iam truely sorry that i had to open my mouth and saying something as retard and out of line as that. So whoever this anonymous person is iam truely sorry i thank you honestly bcus its helping me out talking to you. Sorry these last couple i have wrote on my phone thats why its not under gcombs

  14. Thank you gcombs, obviously some of your aunt and uncles great virtues are showing through in you. I wish you the best in some very hard times. Your aunt and uncle are very proud of you. I wish I could have known them. God bless you.

  15. I too know errol and he is a kind person. that fact alone though does not erase the fact that he killed someone. accident or not someone is dead. if the shoe were on the other foot and errol was the one killed i know his family would want justice served.

  16. Unfortunately, we now get to find out whether prosecutors will use their new weapon against people who negligently kill bicyclists. Wish we never had to use it. The silver lining is that Cindy's death may help others. The new law enacted and in place as of Jan 1 2011 means that the negligent driver may be held accountable under a felony charge. Nice guy or not, he didn't pay attention (it seems like) and he did kill a bicyclist.

    Sorry for your loss Mr. Combs.

  17. I do not wish for harm for Mr. Maul, but he has clearly an d irrevocably demonstrated that he is not able to handle the responsibility of driving a motor vehicle. Now, our state's attorney has not said anything about pursuing the new laws in this instance (and has stated that because it still has the word reckless in it, that the 'wanton and willful' part applies and that's difficult to get convictions for), which makes me think she also thinks that killing people with your car is acceptable behavior as long as you say you're sorry and perhaps pay a ticket.
    I am afraid that I disagree. has an aerial view and description that makes it clear just how incredibly AVOIDABLE this killer crash was. The best way to express remorse for this act would be not to endanger anybody else by driving for a while.

  18. I'm so sorry to hear about this news. My thoughts and prayers go to the families of the affected. May Cindy rest in peace.

  19. I am a biker myself and it makes me cringe at the thought of sharing the road with careless drivers. My condolences to Cindy's family. I'd suggest they look into The grieving process is a long and painful one but knowing someone is going through the same thing gets it a little less difficult.


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