A campus already reeling suffered another blow Sunday afternoon, as a popular member of the McPherson College Men's Tennis squad was killed in a vehicle vs. bicycle accident.
A campus already reeling suffered another blow Sunday afternoon, as a popular member of the McPherson College Men's Tennis squad was killed in a vehicle vs. bicycle accident. According to the McPherson County Sheriff's Department, Paul Ziegler, 19, Elizabethtown, Pa., was southbound on his bicycle .2 of a mile north of Frontier Road on 18th Avenue at around 12:45 p.m. Sunday when the accident occurred. Capt. Joe Hoffman said a 17-year-old rural McPherson male was northbound on 18th Avenue and swerved into Ziegler's path as he was reaching for something he dropped. Ziegler was declared dead at the scene. Ziegler was a freshman majoring in Business who was loved by many on campus, McPherson College President Michael Schneider said. “He was a long way from home, but loved the community,” Schneider said. “And he got love and respect back.” Jeff Benito, head men's and women's tennis coach, said in a press release from McPherson College that Ziegler's death has been particularly hard on his fellow teammates. "Words cannot express how deeply saddened our team and our campus community is regarding the loss of such an extraordinary individual as Paul Ziegler," Benito said. "He exemplified the best in all of us with his fierce passion for his teammates and to the people he knew and loved. Paul was always so excited to be at practice and worked harder than most to improve every day. He loved being a part of our team and we will greatly miss him. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, friends and loved ones." In addition to the tennis team, Ziegler also worked in the sports information office alongside Dusty Kitchen, a 2012 McPherson College alumus, director of student activities and resident director of Dotzour Hall, who said it was like learning of the death of a little brother. “He was the best of us,” Kitchen said in the press release. “Everything that was a good human being, he was.” This is the second death in as many weeks that has rocked the small, liberal arts college. Alton Franklin, 19, Dallas, Tx., stands charged of Aiding and Abetting Second Degree Murder in the death of Tabor football player Brandon Brown. Brown, 26, of California, was found near the street in the 400 block of North Carrie suffering from unspecified injuries. He was pronounced dead at 10:16 p.m. Saturday. Franklin was suspended from McPherson College following a determination of the McPherson College Campus Conduct Committee, according to a news release. The committee determined any student arrested and charged in connection to the incident would be immediately suspended. The atmosphere on campus Monday was somber in the wake of Ziegler's death. “We're devastated with all the loss,” Schneider said. “Students have been coming together for daily prayer vigils, mostly just in small groups.” Classes seem to run the gamut from emotional to stunned. According to Cheyenne Browning, Fr., Business Management, her classes have only been covering the bare minimum during their sessions for the last week. “People cried in my class twice (Monday),” Cheyenne Browning said. “It's been like this pretty much all weekend.” Faculty and staff have been made available to those students wishing to speak about the events of the past couple of weeks and Schneider is confident the McPherson College community will come through their trials of the past week. “You've got to feel good about the work being done to not only get through this,” Schneider said, “but to make (the students) stronger individuals once they do get through this.” No service arrangements for Zeigler had been announced as of Monday afternoon. However, the Ziegler family has expressed a desire for a memorial service in McPherson.