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WATERLOO — A Waterloo man was sentenced to 50 years in prison in the vehicular homicide death of a competitive cyclist and for selling meth.

Joshua Ray Summerhays, 39, of Waterloo, must serve about eight years in prison on the drug charge before he will be eligible for parole.

The charge — which stems from the crash in which he struck and killed Connie Inks, 54, while he had drugs in his system — doesn’t carry a mandatory minimum.

“The defendant took out a wonderful person in this case. She was a world-class athlete,” said Assistant Black Hawk County Attorney Jeremy Westendorf, who prosecuted the case.

Summerhays was sentenced Monday to 25 years each for charges of homicide by vehicle and conspiracy to deliver meth following a plea. Both sentences were stacked consecutively for a total of 50 years behind bars.

He was also ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to Inks’ estate, and fined $5,000 plus costs and surcharges for the meth charge.

“I apologize for what happened. … I feel terrible, so I apologize to the family,” Summerhays said.

Inks’ relatives didn’t attend the hearing, and Westendorf said family members wanted to see a harsher punishment.

As part of the plea arrangement, the state agreed not to forward the drug charges to federal authorities, who had prosecuted other conspirators as part of the sweeping Operation Ice Pirates investigation.

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According to court records, agents intercepted more than 500 drug-related conversations involving Summerhays over the span of one month in 2015 with the help of an FBI wiretap. Officers searched his home in July 2017 and found a digital scale and meth, but he wasn’t arrested at the time.

Inks, a tool designer at John Deere, started out competing in body building, and she took up competitive rowing after recovering from an illness that sidelined her for a year. After another injury, Inks found cycling — road racing, mountain bike racing and time trials — which is what she was training for when she was struck.

“She would compete in 40K time trial races, and she competed nationally,” Westendorf said.

According to sheriff’s deputies, Inks was pedaling south on U.S. Highway 218 just outside of Washburn around 6 a.m. July 2 when she was hit from behind by a Ford Edge driven by Summerhays. Inks was pronounced dead at Covenant Medical Center.

Summerhays told deputies he didn’t see the bicyclist and was having a problem with glare. But his passenger told police Summerhays had made a comment about the bicyclist while he was driving, and even noted she was wearing something reflective, according to court records.

The passenger said she had been playing country music on her tablet, and Summerhays wanted her to play something else and glanced over to show her a playlist, according to court records. That’s when the crash happened, according to the account the passenger gave investigators.

Black Hawk County sheriff’s deputies noticed signs of intoxication during field sobriety tests. Westendorf said chemical tests showed Summerhays had methamphetamine in his system.

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Police and Courts Reporter

Cops and courts reporter for the Courier

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