Ironman athlete who was Pennsylvania police officer killed in bicycle crash

A longtime Pennsylvania police officer training for the Ironman World Championship was killed Saturday when he was struck by a pickup while riding a bicycle, authorities said.

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Cpl. Brian Kozera, 44, of Blue Bell, a 16-year veteran of the Norristown Police Department and a cancer survivor, was training when he was struck at about 8:48 a.m. EDT in Caernarvon Township, according to an online report from the Pennsylvania State police.

Kozera had beaten Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015, according to WTXF-TV. His Ironman fundraising page was titled “Help crush cancer in Kona” and was created to raise money for cancer research, the television station reported. The Ironman World Championships is scheduled for October in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Kozera completed his first full Ironman in June 2016 and finished six total 140.6-mile competitions.

Norristown police Chief Derrick Woods called Kozera’s death a “tragedy” and “a hole that we are never going to fill.”

“(A) big loss for our department, for our community,” Woods told WTXF. “I got so many emails and text messages from people in the community showing how much he means to them, how much they’ll miss him.”

According to the online crash report, Kozera collided with the pickup truck after running a stop sign. He was thrown from his bicycle and was caught in the truck’s rear wheel.

Deb Detweiler, assistant chief deputy of the Berks County Coroner’s Office, said Tuesday that Kozera died of blunt force trauma and internal injuries, Lancaster Online reported. The crash was ruled accidental. The police report indicated that Kozera was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Woods told WTXF that the driver of the truck remained at the scene and that the investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Kozera is survived by his wife and three daughters.

“What do you say to a wife who just lost her companion, father of her children? No words,” Officer Dan DeOrzio, who worked closely with Kozera, told the television station.