(Lancaster County) - A Columbia man who was riding in a charity bike ride near Charlotte was killed by a van Sunday afternoon.
State troopers say 49-year-old Thomas Hoskins of Columbia and 49-year-old Lee Ann Berry of Charlotte were killed.
The two were riding in an event called "B.I.G. Ride" along U.S. 521 in Lancaster County. The ride raises money and awareness about brain injuries.
Hoskins friends in Columbia were saddened by the news of his death. Outspokin' Bicycles owner, Brian Curran says the cycling community will miss Hoskins.
Curran said, "Tom was doing something he loved to do and he used that passion for cycling to help others."
That's exactly what friends and family members say Tom was doing Sunday.
Curran said, "It's a bitter irony that he was doing something he loved; using cycling to raise awareness about an important issue."
For 20 years, Hoskins rode for charitable causes including Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis just to name a few.
Curran said, "Tom has been very active in the Columbia cycling community. He was captain of AT&T Cycling team. This was a tragedy in every since of the word."
The details leading up to the accident have not yet been released.
Barry was one of the organizers of the event. The B.I.G. Ride's website says the ride began in Seattle and was to have ended in Charlotte. This latest state began in Columbia.
The Hoskins family released the following statement:
"Thomas R. Hoskins (Tom) and Lee Ann Berry died following a collision in Lancaster County on Highway 521, Sunday, October 21, 2007. Lee Ann was on the last leg of a two-month ride that began in Montana, raising awareness about brain injuries. Tom kept up Lee Ann’s website, www.thebigride.org. Lee Ann did such rides every two years and Tom always rode with her, often from South Carolina to Florida on the last leg of the campaign each year."
"Tom rode for twenty years, raising money for the American Diabetes Association and the Multiple Sclerosis Society, when he rode in the Tour de Cure for Diabetes and the MS Ride. Tom is the team captain for the South Carolina AT&T Cycling Team, formerly, the Bell South Cycling Team. Tom loved representing AT&T as a cyclist; he made sure he had AT&T Cycling jerseys for himself and his daughter Becca, when the name change occurred from Bell South to AT&T. Over the years, cycling was a family affair for the Hoskins. Sherry, Rob, Ryan and Becca supported Tom and rode with him. Tom completed the Assault On Mt. Mitchell in June. This was one of many pinnacles in Tom’s life. In addition to God, and family, Tom’s next love was cycling. The entire cycling community is in shock over this incident. We ask the media to respect the family at this time and use this release as a statement from the family. The prayers of many will help us through this time. Details regarding a celebration of Tom’s life are pending."