Cyclist, 87, dies on Natchez Trace

From Press & Staff Reports

MATHISTON — A Wisconsin man riding a bicycle along the Natchez Trace Parkway died April 20.

According to park rangers, De Loyd E. Stertz, 87, of Altoona, Wis., was riding his bicycle south on the parkway just south of U.S. 82 at mile marker 201 in Choctaw County when he was overcome by exhaustion and fell off his bicycle around 1:20 p.m.

He lost consciousness and could not be revived by emergency responders. The Mathiston Fire Department, MedStat EMS, Choctaw County Sheriff’s Department and National Park Service rangers responded to the incident. according to an NPS release and Webster County 911 reports.

Choctaw County Corner Keith Coleman pronounced him dead on the scene. The cause of the death is still under investigation. Rangers encourage recreationalists to know their limitations when engaging in recreational activities on the Parkway.

Bicyclists should wear high-visibility clothing and helmets, and use flashing lights and/or reflectors on their bicycles to increase their visibility to motorists.

Rangers warn against distracted driving and enforce the 3-foot passing regulation, which requires motorists to give a minimum of 23 feet of clearance to bicyclists when passing.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a National Scenic Byway that encourages multiple uses and recreational activities, including scenic motoring, bicycling, hiking, running and other activities.