By Dave Moller
Senior Staff Writer
The California Highway Patrol is investigating whether the use of a cellular telephone was involved in the death last weekend of a popular Nevada County bicycle racer and family man.
In addition, a Valentine’s Day weekend of remembrance has been set for crash victim Jim Rogers.
Rogers, 53, of Chicago Park, was killed just after noon Sunday on Highway 174 while riding near Colfax. He had been struck from behind by a vehicle being driven by Patricia Hernandez, 55, also of Chicago Park.
“The investigation should be completed by the end of this week or the beginning of next week,” Gold Run CHP Commander John Arrabit said Wednesday.
Investigators are trying to find a reason why Hernandez was distracted before her vehicle struck Rogers, he said.
“We’re not ruling out cell phone use,” Arrabit said Wednesday. “We’ve also had a couple of witnesses who called, thanks to the newspaper stories.”
Anyone who might have witnessed the accident or has information about the crash on the winding grade between the Bear River and Colfax is encouraged to call Arrabit’s office at (530) 389-2205.
Meanwhile, friends and relatives are looking to Valentine’s weekend to fete the beloved Rogers.
“We immediately chose Valentines Day because Jim was a symbol of love,” said his wife, Carolyn Jones-Rogers. “He wasn’t famous or anything, but he was special, and I want him to be honored.”
The honors will begin with a fun bike ride in Rogers’ honor tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, according to family friend and fellow Sierra Express Bicycle Team and Club member Craig Lindberg.
The ride is expected to start and end in the Safeway parking lot at 867 Sutton Way, in Grass Valley’s Glenbrook Basin. There will be a 10-mile beginner ride with some hills and an intermediate local loop of 20 miles.
For details on the event closer to the date, visit the bike club’s Web page about Rogers at SierraExpressTeam.org/Jimmy.htm.
“We’re trying to get a CHP escort so that nobody gets hurt,” Lindberg said.
Services for Rogers will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 14, at the Sierra Presbyterian Church, 175 Ridge Road, Nevada City.
That will be followed by a public reception at 4 p.m. at the Miner’s Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring Street, downtown Nevada City. The reception is a potluck, and those attending are asked to bring a beverage and a dish.
Those wishing to extend their thoughts to the family can send cards or letters to Rogers’ parents, Allan and Betty Rogers, 210 Spring St., Nevada City, CA 95959.
In addition, a college fund has been established for Rogers’ son, Nate Rogers. Contributions may be sent to the Nate Rogers Fund in Memory of Jim Rogers, c/o Wells Fargo Bank, 757 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945.
“We’ve already received donations,” Lindberg said. If readers want to add to Rogers’ memory on the bicycle club’s Web site, send stories and images to Lindberg at Craig_Lindberg@Yahoo.Com.