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Bicyclist, 16, dies in collision with truck in Odessa

ODESSA — A teenage bicyclist 20 miles from home was hit on a dark Odessa road by an 18-year-old driver who tried to swerve, but was too late, sheriff's deputies said.

Anthony Greene, 16, died at the scene Monday night.

On Tuesday, grief counselors visited his school, Middleton High, and family gathered at Greene's home in East Tampa. His younger brother played outside with Duke, a pitbull terrier, while older family members grieved inside.

According to deputies, Greene was riding a black bicycle south on Gunn Highway about 8:30 p.m., headed home after spending time with a friend.

A 2002 Dodge truck approached from behind near Jana Drive, traveling about 45 mph. The driver, 18-year-old Christopher Griffith, saw the bike and tried to veer out of the way but ended up hitting it, deputies said.

Greene was thrown off the bike.

He was not wearing a helmet, deputies said. His bicycle did not have lights.

Sheriff's officials noted that the accident happened in an area where there is no bike lane or paved shoulder. That particular stretch of Gunn Highway is narrow, as the road curves around Lake Calm.

Griffith of Carrollwood was not charged or cited in Monday's crash.

In May, he was cited with careless driving for a different crash with property damage, state records show. He cut off a car as he made a right turn on red, a sheriff's report states.

Deputies said Griffith appeared "devastated" at the scene of the crash.

Griffith's father, also named Chris, picked up the phone at the family's home Tuesday morning. He said his son was upset and told a reporter, "We're very sympathetic to the young man's parents."

When asked about the crash, the father said, "That's really all we're going to say at this point."

Greene's death is the first bicycle fatality in Hillsborough this year.

Times researcher John Martin and staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3433.

Bicyclist, 16, dies in collision with truck in Odessa 01/07/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 10:56pm]
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