Cyclist Community Expected to Fill Courtroom for Fatal OWI Trial

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Jury selection began Monday for the man accused of killing a well-known cyclist.

Jonathan Leyva Rodriguez, 32, is charged with vehicular homicide by OWI. He has pleaded not guilty.

Police say he was nearly three times above the legal limit when he got behind the wheel and ran over cyclist Wade Franck last August along Grand Avenue.

Franck was well known to the cycling community for working as a manager at Kyle’s Bike Shop in Ankeny.  We first met Franck when we interviewed him about RAGBRAI in 2014.

“I think RAGBRAI is one of the most single things in Iowa that has made cycling popular and has driven the bike trail movement here,” Franck said.

Many from the cyclist community are expected to crowd the courtroom this week.

In the weeks and months following Franck’s death, the cycling community came together to show their support for him. Several memorial rides were held in Franck’s honor.

“The High Trestle Bridge is iconic to central Iowa. Wade was iconic to this movement we’re seeing in our cycling community right now. It’s powerful. It’s sad at the same time but it’s neat to see the cycling community come together for one of their own,” said Scott Sumpter, founder of BikeIowa.com.

“Hopefully, some positive change comes out of this. It’s a terrible thing, it’s a big loss to our community what happened to Wade, but I really hope something good comes out of this,” said Josh Jones, another cyclist who attended the August 2015 Ride for Wade event.

Both sides worked on selecting a jury Monday.

Jury selection began at 9 a.m. at the Polk County Courthouse. Opening statements could begin as early as Tuesday. The trial is expected to last 10 days.

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