Storm Kills One On C&O Canal

Monday, Jul 4, 2011  |  Updated 2:41 PM EDT
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Marc Rhodes

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The violent storm that swept through the capital region on Sunday night killed a cyclist in Maryland.

The National Park Service said a downed tree caused the death along the C&O Canal.  Park Service representative Brad Clawson said the incident occurred between White's Ferry and Edwards Ferry at mile marker 33 in Montgomery County.

Authorities identified the victim as 56-year-old Neil R. Reich of Forest Hills, New York.

Reich was cycling with a companion on a two-day journey from Harpers Ferry in West Virginia to D.C.  Reich's riding partner told investigators that when the storm began, Reich stopped to put on his rain gear.  The companion continued riding, but after realizing Reich was not following, he turned back around on the tow path.

The companion said there were several downed trees on the path that he had to climb over before he got back to his friend.  When he did, he found Reich pinned beneath a tree.

The Park Service said that the New York man had been struck in the head, and died at the scene.  In order to access the tow path, they had to use chain saws to cut through multiple downed trees.

Sunday night's storm knocked down power around the region and disrupted holiday events. Spectators watching concert rehearsals on the National Mall had to be evacuated in D.C.

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