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Fleeing driver causes death of Destin bicyclist

On behalf of Terence Gross of Gross & Schuster, P.A. posted in Wrongful Death on Monday, April 9, 2012.

Anyone who causes a serious accident, whether it involves multiple vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists or what have you, is obligated to stop afterwards to make sure everyone is okay. It’s far more important to protect everyone’s safety than one’s own interests.

Unfortunately, that’s not how everyone thinks. A motorist who caused a bicyclist’s wrongful death over the weekend did stop after the accident — but only to fiddle with the vehicle’s bumper. The driver apparently did not stop to render aid to the victim, instead fleeing the scene at a high speed, according to witnesses.

The accident happened on U.S. 98 in Okaloosa Island early on Sunday morning. According to Northwest Florida Daily News, the driver and bicyclist were both headed west on the road when the motorist hit the bicyclist from behind.

The bicyclist, a 63-year-old man from Destin, was then thrown onto the shoulder, where he sustained fatal injuries. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Witnesses say the driver was in a green van. He or she apparently stopped at the scene briefly, but only to pull the bumper off the vehicle. The driver then took off at a high rate of speed, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Debris from the vehicle was found at the scene, and authorities believe the vehicle was a Chrysler.

The accident happened around sunrise. The bicyclist was not wearing dark clothing; in fact, witnesses told Northwest Florida Daily News that he wore bright-colored shorts and a blue shirt.

Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, “Cyclist dead, driver flees after Okaloosa Island hit and run,” Justin Heinze, April 8, 2012

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