The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 4, 2013

Woman, 22, is hit by a pickup, killed

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — A young Mormon missionary was killed Friday in Woodward when her bicycle was struck by a pickup.

Alesa Smith, 22 was riding her bicycle single file with another woman — Valerie Wendel, 19, also a missionary — at about 8 p.m. Friday when she was struck.

According to a Woodward Police Department report, the woman was doing missionary work for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Detective Lt. Chuck Wheeler said Monday Smith and Wendel had walked their bikes uphill eastbound on Hand’s Trail, a narrow two-lane street on Woodward’s south side, between 22nd and 34th.

They got back on their bikes and were riding single file along the roadway, when they were approached by a pickup driven by Dexton Grunewald, 18, who also was eastbound. Grunewald met a westbound vehicle, was blinded by the headlights and did not see Smith, Wheeler said.

“It was very unfortunate. We don’t anticipate any charges,” Wheeler said.

Nolan Taylor, an Oklahoma City-based official with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Smith had been working in several cities throughout Oklahoma for the past 10 months.

Serving on a mission is a rite of passage for many young Mormons, who serve at hundreds of missions throughout the world.

Taylor said Smith’s parents were making funeral arrangements.



The Associated Press contributed to this story.