John Blankenship (Credit: Fulton County Sheriff’s Office)

Truck driver charged in fatal Milton collision with bicyclist

The driver of a pickup truck that police say struck and killed a bicycle rider in Milton last week has been charged with reckless driving and homicide by vehicle.

John Blankenship, 46, of Jasper, was charged in the death of Jason Young, 45, of Canton, police said Monday afternoon.

Five bicycle riders, including Young, were southbound on Freemanville Road in a single-file line headed toward the intersection at Dartmouth Road about 7:30 p.m. April 29, according to a police incident report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Blankenship was northbound in a pickup truck on Freemanville when he approached a slow-moving box truck, which was about to turn right onto Dartmouth Road, according to the report.

Blankenship, the report said, crossed over the double yellow line into the southbound lane in an attempt to pass the box truck. That’s when Blankenship hit the second bicycle rider in the line and Young, the fourth rider. The first rider in the line was not hit and the two other riders crashed their bicycles because of the collisions around them, according to the report.

Young died May 2 from injuries he suffered in the crash, police said. One other rider, a juvenile, was taken by his father to the hospital, but the other riders refused hospitalization, according to the report.

Blankenship, who was initially cited for passing in a no-passing zone, was being held Monday afternoon in the Fulton County Jail without bond, and is scheduled to appear in court on May 18.

About 60 bicycle riders rode to the crash site Sunday morning in a memorial tribute to Young, said Pete Wicker, who owns Outback Bikes in Atlanta and organized the tribute.

Wicker noted that Young was a father, a husband and a coach.

“It’s terrible when something like this happens, and you have to pull together,” he said.

He said he hopes for greater awareness of bicycle safety, including the law requiring other vehicles to give bikes at least three feet of space when passing.

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