Bicyclist from Michigan dies when semi hits him in Georgia during cross-country ride

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — An avid bicyclist from Michigan, who was nearing the end of a cross-country ride, died when a tractor-trailer rig struck him on a Georgia highway.

The semi hit Pete Cornell, 64, and two companions around 6 a.m. Thursday near Dawson, Ga., The Albany (Ga.) Herald reported.

Thomas Clark, 62, of Munith, Mich., was seriously injured, and Joseph Muscato, 60, of Grass Lake, Mich., was less seriously injured and no longer is hospitalized, Cornell’s son, Dan Cornell, told AnnArbor.com.

Dan Cornell said his father, who had retired to Port Charlotte, Fla., completed about 2,700 miles of a 3,500-mile trek that took him through Alaska and many other states on his way to Key West, Fla.

Pete Cornell, who spent most of his life in Ann Arbor, had biked all over the United States, said friend Bud Church. The most recent trip was a continuation of one he, Clark and Muscato started last year when they biked from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Calgary, Alberta.

“Pete just thought he was invincible,” Church said. “He never thought anything like that would happen. If he did, he never admitted it.”

Dan Cornell said it’s “so sad” that his father didn’t finish the ride. Even though Dan Cornell hasn’t been on a bike in 20 years, he said he plans to pick up the ride from the last hotel at which his father stayed and finish it in the next few months.

“I’m doing it just because he can’t,” he said. “I think it (will) help me get a little bit of closure.”

Pete Cornell owned Cornell-Morris Real Estate Company, served as chief executive of the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors from 1995 to 2004 and was a former president of the Michigan Association of Realtors.

He was born in Lansing and was a champion wrestler at the University of Michigan. Cornell was inducted into the Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

A memorial service will be held Friday in Ann Arbor, and one is planned for Englewood, Fla., on Aug. 10.

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