Minnesota native killed by impaired driver in Georgia

- A Minnesota native and University of Georgia graduate student was struck and killed while riding her bike in Georgia on Monday evening.

According to Fox 5 in Atlanta, 25-year-old Ashley Block was killed and two other cyclists were injured after they were struck by a driver under the influence of drugs in Athens-Clarke County, Ga. The car hit Block head-on and threw her near a roadside ditch. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities say the three cyclists were riding single file along the road when the SUV traveling in the opposite direction crossed over the center line.  

Block’s Facebook page says she attended Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis and received her Bachelor's Degree from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.

“She had all these audacious goals & the character and the drive to get them,” said Minnehaha Academy band director Dane Hallberg. “She wanted to work at Walt Disney World.  I saw on Facebook she did that a couple years ago. She wanted to raise money for cancer. As a student, she ran a marathon to raise money for a cause she believed in. That’s the kind of person she was.”

Block’s former tennis coach at Minnehaha Academy told Fox 9 that Ashley was actively training for a triathlon.

According to the University of Georgia, Block was a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, where she was studying the human-environment interface and the effectiveness of communication of ecological research to the public.

Police say the driver of the vehicle, 31-year-old Whitney Baker Howard, told officers she was looking at her cell phone before the accident and indicated that she had used drugs. Police said there was also a toddler-aged child inside the truck.

Howard was arrested and charged with first-degree homicide by vehicle, serious injury by vehicle, driving under the influence of drugs, failure to maintain lane and improper use of a mobile phone while driving.

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