Bicyclist dies in crash

By The Mercury

A Manhattan man died Thursday evening after being hit by a truck three miles south of the city on Kansas Highway 177.

Mark M. Jilka, 49, was riding a bicycle in the southbound shoulder of K-177 at around 7:10 p.m. when a 2007 Dodge pickup driven by Derik Kesler, 32, of Rossville, struck the bicyclist from behind. Kesler was also headed south.  According to Kansas Highway Patrol crash report, the bicyclist came to rest in a west ditch and the truck was came to a stop on the southbound shoulder.

Kesler was not injured in the collision and was wearing his seat belt.

Jilka’s body was taken to the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Morturary in Manhattan.  Both the KHP and the Riley County Police Department responded to the collision.

RCPD Director Brad Schoentold KMAN on its In Focus show Friday morning that Kesler was using his cell phone at the time of the crash, though Schoen said he was not texting.

KHP Trooper Ben Gardner said the highway patrol is investigating the case.

Gardner said there were about 10 troopers working the crash scene, closing the right lane of the highway from the time of the collision until after midnight.

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