Noted NJ scientist killed during charity bike ride

July 17, 2011 11:23:23 AM PDT
A noted scientist taking part in a charity bicycle ride to raise funds for troubled children was killed when he crashed his bike into a car that was stopped at an intersection in northern New Jersey.

Fifty-five-year-old Doug McCune of Princeton Township was pronounced dead at the scene of Saturday's crash in Clinton Township. Authorities said he was wearing a helmet, but further details on his injuries were not disclosed.

A cause of death hasn't been determined, and Hunterdon County prosecutors say it's unlikely that any charges will be filed.

McCune was an award-winning scientist who developed sophisticated software used around the world to understand the physics of fusion experiments. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale University with a bachelor's degree in mathematics, he was the co-head of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory's computational plasma physics group.

McCune was taking part in the 33rd annual "Ride for Runaways" event that benefits Anchor House, a Trenton-based shelter for abused and neglected children. He had ridden in the event for 16 years, and his death occurred on the final day of the 500-mile, 7-day ride between Jamestown, N.Y. and Lawrence, N.J.

Officials say McCune had biked about 10 miles of the 48-mile final stretch to Hopewell when the accident occurred shortly after 9 a.m. Police say his bike struck the rear of a vehicle driven by a Clinton woman who was waiting to make a left turn.

McCune was among more than 200 riders taking part in this year's event, which raised more than $410,000. Citing his longtime dedication to the event, Anchor House officials said they were "grieving the loss of a wonderful person and supporter."

McCune's death is the second fatality in the event's history. In 1998, a 15-year-old Hopewell boy was struck and killed by a car as he was completing the final leg of that year's fundraiser.

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