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Bicyclist killed in crash with deputy had high blood-alcohol level

MANGO — A 26-year-old man with an elevated blood-alcohol level was killed Sunday night after veering his bicycle into the path of a Hillsborough County sheriff's car, the Sheriff's Office said.

Deputy Michael Hannaford, 27, was heading west on U.S. 92 near Mobile Villa Drive when Jonathan Lee Loschen of Seffner pedaled his bike into Hannaford's path. The deputy couldn't stop in time and crashed into Loschen, the Sheriff's Office said.

Loschen died at Tampa General Hospital.

Deputies said Loschen's blood-alcohol level was 0.27 at the time of the crash, more than three times the level at which the state presumes a person impaired.

Hannaford was not injured. He has been with the Sheriff's Office for eight years and will remain on duty, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry McKinnon.

Loschen's grandmother, Charlene Berkley, said Loschen, nicknamed John Boy, was on the way home from his father's house when he was hit.

On Saturday, Loschen got his own place on Falkenburg Road and was moving out of his dad's place on Hillside Drive.

Loschen, who has been arrested four times in Hillsborough County on burglary, theft, drug and battery charges, was trying to turn his life around, Berkley said.

He had been going with Berkley to the Quest church on Kings­way Road and giving her all his paychecks from construction work for safekeeping.

"He has had problems, but everybody does," Berkley said. "He was doing much better."

Berkley thinks Loschen's troubles are rooted in his mother's death when he was 4 years old. After she was killed in a car crash, Loschen went to live with Berkley. She said he seemed to constantly struggle to understand why his mother was gone.

Berkley said it got worse in Loschen's teenage years, and he turned to alcohol. "He got bitter," she said.

Loschen's uncle, Richard Loschen, said he was a hard-working kid who liked to play video games and fish.

He said his brother, Loschen's father, Lee, "hasn't said a word yet. He's just in shock."

Berkley is at a loss about what to do. Neither Loschen nor his father had any insurance, and she doesn't know how they'll pay to bury him.

"I've been up all night walking the floor and walking around in our yard just trying to figure out what we can do," Berkley said. "I have no idea where to go next."

Seffner man dead after crash with deputy

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Bicyclist killed in crash with deputy had high blood-alcohol level 11/02/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 2, 2009 11:10pm]
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