HUDSON — Justin Dawson was on his Huffy, less than half a mile from his home, when he was hit.
Dawson, 19, was riding his bicycle south on Hicks Road near Bert Street when a red pickup truck hit him from behind. The accident happened about 5:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 2009. Dawson died the next day, according to his obituary, which said he was survived by his mother, his father and three sisters.
Now, more than a year later, the driver of the 2001 Dodge Ram pickup has been charged in Dawson's death.
Joshua Aaron Fieger, 20, of Hudson, was arrested Monday. He is charged with DUI vehicular homicide, DUI and DUI with damage to property or person.
Fieger was high that evening on marijuana and a cocktail of prescription pills — Oxycodone, a pain reliever and Xanax, Valium and Nordiazepam, all anti-anxiety drugs, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Fieger stopped his truck and parked after hitting Dawson. He stumbled and slurred his speech, a report says.
Fieger was released on $10,500 bail from the Pasco County jail a little more than three hours after being booked. This is his third arrest in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
His previous arrests were for resisting an officer and disturbing the peace at a school in 2003 and resisting an officer in 2005. Dispositions in these cases were not clear.
Neither Fieger nor Dawson's family could be reached Tuesday.
Sgt. Larry Kraus, spokesman for the FHP, said Dawson followed the rules — he rode his bike on the edge of the pavement. It was up to Fieger to see him and go around him, Kraus said.
"Fieger failed to observe Mr. Dawson, and struck the rear end of his bicycle with his front end," the report says.
Kraus said homicide investigations usually take a long time — such as in this case, 13 months — because of blood tests to determine the type and amount of drugs in a person's system. And investigators work with the state attorney's office to make sure nothing has been missed.
"These are not simple cases," Kraus said. "This is something that's going to send someone to prison for 10 to 15 years.
"We don't want to lose a case because we rushed it."
Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6229.