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Man pleads guilty to leaving scene of accident that killed tandem bicyclists

Christopher Weed pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to leaving the scene of a Clearwater accident in which he struck and killed a couple on a tandem bicycle.

Weed, 30, is scheduled to be formally sentenced next month to 11 years in prison, followed by three years of probation.

Robert Lemon, 25, and Hilary Michalak, 27, of Largo were riding their bike in September on Memorial Causeway when a vehicle struck them. The impact splintered the bike and threw the couple feet apart. They were wearing helmets but died of their injuries.

Weed did not stop. Assistant State Attorney Scott Rosenwasser said Weed later told a friend he had blacked out, and thought he might have hit something on his way home from his job at Shephard's Beach Resort.

But there was nothing to indicate Weed had a medical condition that caused him to black out, Rosenwasser said. Witnesses said Weed drank alcohol after his shift at work, and surveillance cameras showed that, Rosenwasser said.

Family members of the victims will be allowed to speak at the sentencing next month.

On Wednesday, Weed answered questions from Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley, indicating he understood that he was giving up his right to a trial.Weed could have received 30 years in prison if convicted. A lawsuit related to the crash is pending.

Man pleads guilty to leaving scene of accident that killed tandem bicyclists 04/16/14 [Last modified: Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:18am]
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