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Cyclist killed in crash is identified

The motorcyclist who was killed Saturday when he crashed into a car that pulled in front of him has been identified as a 39-year-old Beverly Hills man.

Robert Russell Markus, who was better known by his nickname "Mouse," died about 7:10 p.m. after a car heading east on Avocado Street pulled into his path as he and his fiancee, Donna Zeltner, were heading north on Dunkenfield Avenue.

Zeltner, 36, was flown by helicopter to Shands Teaching Hospital in Gainesville where she was being treated for multiple injuries. She was in good condition Monday.

The driver of the 1992 Pontiac that pulled in front of the two bikers was William K. Mauney, 33, of 986 N Lyle Ave., Crystal River. Mauney and his wife, Amy, were not seriously injured, Florida Highway Patrol officials said.

FHP authorities have issued no charges in the crash. Investigators said the Mauneys stopped for a stop sign on Avocado Street, but they did not see Markus' 1973 Harley-Davidson motorcycle until it was too late.

"He had just put that motorcycle back together after he'd spent a whole year rebuilding it," said Scott Walldeck, 35, a close friend of the couple. "He was real proud of what he had done to that bike."

According to Walldeck, Markus had gone to the Two Guys From Italy restaurant to pick up Zeltner, a bartender at the club, at 6 p.m. The couple then had dinner at the club with two other bikers before they left to go home.

"Mouse had called me about 6:30 p.m. to see if my daughter could babysit for them so we could all go cruising our motorcycles down Fort Island Trail," Scott said.

"He put his heart and soul into that bike and he rode it every chance he got. He was real excited," Walldeck said.

The accident occurred about 7 miles from the club. Markus, a telephone wire repair worker, and Zeltner were parents of a 9-month-old son, Toren Markus.

"Everybody liked him," Walldeck said. "He was just a regular, laughable jokester, a real prankster. He was just starting to settle down and become a good family man."