Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Few clues emerge in pursuit of driver who killed cyclist Sept. 12

Investigator Mike Jockers says St. Petersburg police need help to solve the Sept. 12 crash on Fourth Street near 73rd Avenue N.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Investigator Mike Jockers says St. Petersburg police need help to solve the Sept. 12 crash on Fourth Street near 73rd Avenue N.

ST. PETERSBURG — A few sketchy witness accounts, a mangled bicycle and some paint chips in a plastic bag are all police have.

It is not enough to find the driver who fatally struck a bicyclist last week and fled the scene, said traffic investigator Mike Jockers, who has become increasingly frustrated by the lack of leads.

On Wednesday, Jockers stood near the site of the Sept. 12 crash that killed 49-year-old Neil Alan Smith and issued a public plea. Standing near Smith's mangled bike, he held up white flecks of paint and photos of Smith.

"We've gotten no phone calls," Jockers said to a throng of news cameras. "We need help."

Smith was just blocks from home when he was hit as he pedaled south on Fourth Street near 73rd Avenue N about 11 p.m., police said.

A motorist, a pedestrian and two patrons at nearby Brandy's Lounge said Smith was struck from behind by a white, mid 1990s Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable with tinted windows. Smith was thrown from the bike into a metal pole. The car sped away.

Smith's heart stopped on the way to a hospital, where he was revived but was in critical condition. He died six days later. He had no relatives locally but police reached a sister in Haverhill, Mass.

A dishwasher at the Crab Shack Restaurant, 11400 Gandy Blvd., Smith was riding home from work when he was struck. He worked there for about 12 years, manager David Rupp said, and was dependable and "never had an attitude." He kept to himself at his dish-washing station and listened to sports radio.

"He was a quiet guy, a nice guy," Rupp said. "He certainly didn't deserve the cards he was dealt."

Rupp said Smith had bought the mountain bike just three days before the accident.

Smith "was doing everything he was supposed to do" that night, Jockers said. He had no alcohol in his system. He was wearing light-colored clothing, and his bike had a light in front and a flashing light on the back. He was not wearing a helmet, Jockers said, but it likely would not have helped because the base of his skull struck the pole, causing internal decapitation.

Jockers said he has investigated only a few hit-and-run accidents in the past decade or so that went unsolved. Usually a family member or friend of the hit-and-run driver steps forward, he said.

But in this case, police have had little or no help.

The car would have been damaged in the front, Jockers said. The sidewalk near the pole still has faint circles from where the white paint chips landed.

Police did get two tips, but they led to two cars that didn't fit the crime, Jockers said. One was a tan Chevy, the other a blue Honda.

Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8452.

>>FAST FACTS

Unsolved bike fatalities

2009: Alfred Abrams, 52, ran a stop sign with his bicycle at 18th Avenue S and 18th Street. A vehicle struck his bike, killing him. Police have no leads.

2004: Cynthia Elias, 41, was attempting to cross 34th Street S from east to the west in the 1600 block when she was struck by a white vehicle heading north. The vehicle struck Elias and carried her briefly and then she was thrown to the roadway. She later died. Police have no leads.

2001: Sherry Evans, 54, was attempting to cross Ninth Avenue S near 16th Street when she was struck by a car and killed. Police have no leads.

Police seek tips

Anyone with information about the case can call St. Petersburg police at (727) 893-7780.

Few clues emerge in pursuit of driver who killed cyclist Sept. 12 09/22/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 23, 2010 12:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs' Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson kneel during national anthem

    Bucs

    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings, two days after President Donald Trump made critical remarks about NFL …

    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Man dead, 4-year-old girl critically injured in Clearwater Beach boating crash

    Briefs

    A man was killed and a 4-year-old girl is in critical condition late Saturday after their personal watercraft collided with a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Clearwater Beach just before 5 p.m.

  3. 'If anyone can hear us … help.' Puerto Rico's mayors describe 'horror in the streets'

    World

    SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - In the northern Puerto Rican town of Vega Baja, the floodwaters reached more than 10 feet. Stranded residents screamed "save me, save me," using the lights in their cellphones to help rescue teams find them in the darkness, the town's mayor said.

  4. My AP Top 25 ballot: FSU out, USF, Florida Gators back in

    Blogs

    Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher still thinks he can have a good team, as I wrote in today's Tampa Bay Times. Maybe he's right.

  5. Forecast: Scattered thunderstorms in Tampa Bay; Maria could affect Carolinas

    Weather

    Scattered thunderstorms will threaten the Tampa Bay area Sunday, but most of the area will see sunshine.

    Scattered thunderstorms threaten Tampa Bay on Sunday. [Courtesy 10News WTSP]