Man Biking Across Country To Combat Poverty Meets A Tragic End In OK

The biker wanted to “fix systemic inequities” in America and fight poverty. But his life’s journey ended in Oklahoma.

Patrick Wanninkhof

A bicyclist from Florida was killed and another injured when they were hit by a car on Highway 152 in western Oklahoma.

25-year-old Patrick Wanninkhof of Key Biscayne, Florida, was dead at the scene of the accident, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol after Sarah Morris, 34, of Cordell allegedly struck him.

Authorities say another biker, 22-year-old Bridget Anderson of Port Orange, Florida, was hurt in the same crash. She was hospitalized in Oklahoma City with a leg injury.

Wanninkhof was riding with Bike & Build that organizes cross-country bicycle trips which benefit affordable housing groups. His profile on the group’s website states he wanted to “fix systemic inequities” in the U.S.

“We need a systemic approach to fighting poverty. Education reform will be fruitless if we cannot guarantee that every child can return to a safe home in the evening," he wrote. "The quest for affordable housing for each American runs parallel to my dedication for bringing each student an excellent education. Only by simultaneously addressing both these issues can we guarantee the prosperity of each person in our nation.”

Wanninkhof graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida in 2012 with a degree in materials engineering. He later worked for Teach for America, teaching physics and computer science at a public performing arts school in the Bronx for the past three years. He recently earned a master's in teaching adolescent physics from Fordham University in 2014.

According to the highway troopers, Morris was distracted by looking at her phone when she hit the bicyclists. She wasn't hurt. Their report did not indicate whether Morris will face any charges.