(CBS) – A well-loved couple from the Morris area is being mourned after they were fatally struck by an SUV while they were riding their bicycles.
Mark and Janice Wendling had been preparing to take part in a biking event in DeKalb for a multiple sclerosis organization this weekend.
The couple was riding along Old Stage Road — a rural road that runs between Morris and Seneca — when a 16-year-old driver in an SUV hit them from behind around 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department says.
Janice Wendling was a math teacher at Shabbona Middle School.
Morris District 54 Supt. Al Gegenheimer says Janice Wendling went above and beyond as a teacher and went in special yesterday to his office to give him a gift because he’s retiring.
“She had made some handmade strawberry jam and gave it to me yesterday morning. We had a nice chat,” he says.
Gegenheimer says grief counseling will be available from 8 a.m. to noon Thursday and Friday at White Oak Elementary School for students, school staff or anyone else in the community feeling the loss the Wendlings.
Police say the 16-year old driver who hit the Wendlings has been ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. The Grundy County Sheriff’s Office says it’s not yet been determined how fast the teen was driving, but alcohol was not a factor.
Mark and Janice Wendling had been registered for a multiple sclerosis bike ride in DeKalb this weekend. It’s called Bike MS: Tour de Farms.
Janice Wendling had changed her Facebook profile picture to a logo that read: “Bike to Create a World Free of MS.”
Gegenheimer says the Wendlings were killed while preparing for that ride.