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Charles City woman killed in bicycling accident Sunday; memorial service planned

By Bob Steenson,

A young Charles City woman died Sunday evening as a result of a bicycling accident south of town.

Ellen Bengtson, 28, was riding her bike southbound on Shadow Avenue when she was struck by a 2017 Ford F150 pickup driven by Colby Elliott, age 43, of Clarksville.

Charles City woman killed in bicycling accident Sunday; memorial service planned
Ellen Bengtson

A report by the Iowa State Patrol said Elliot failed to see Bengtson and ran into her. The accident occurred on Shadow Avenue north of 240th Street, about 7:40 p.m., and is still under investigation, the report said.

Bengtson was transferred by Mercy Air Med helicopter to MercyOne-North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City, where she died from her injuries.

An outdoor memorial service will be held to celebrate the life of Ellen Bengtson at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, at Bethany Alliance Church’s Center located at 807 S. Main St., Charles City.

The service will also be live-streamed via Facebook.The church asks that all those attending bring a lawn chair, practice social distancing and wear a mask “to show respect and care for others in attendance and to minimize the spread of COVID-19.”

Bengtson was an environmental engineer at Cambrex Charles City Inc., having earned her Bachelor’s Degree in chemical engineering from Yale University and her Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University in New York.

She was originally from Richland, Washington, where she graduated from Richland High School. She was salutatorian of the class, having missed being named valedictorian because she received a B in an online multivariable calculus course through Stanford University that she took while still in high school.

She is the daughter of Peter and JoAnn Bengtson of Richland.

Bengtson played bass in the Charles City Community Chamber Orchestra, and was a member of the Charles City Rotary Club.

Bob Krueger, a local bicycle enthusiast who organizes the annual Ride of Silence to draw attention to bicycle safety, said there will be a special socially distanced “Ride of Silence for Ellen Bengtson” taking place Tuesday evening.

Those who want to participate should gather at The Pub on the Cedar at 6 p.m., Krueger said.

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