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Forbidden ride ends in tragedy

Jonathan Blake Flynn wasn't allowed to ride his bicycle alone in the middle of the night.

But his father said Sunday that the Bayonet Point Middle School pupil had been staying at a friend's house Thursday night when he decided he wanted to go home.

The homesick boy, who had just completed sixth grade, jumped on his three-speed brown bike for the unfamiliar, mile-long ride. He hadn't gotten far when, authorities say, a drunken driver in a pickup truck hit him on U.S. 19 near Gulf Trace Boulevard.

The fatal accident at 1:30 a.m. Friday occurred in the middle of National Sobriety Checkpoint Week, an annual event scheduled for the Fourth of July weekend.

The Florida Highway Patrol identified the 12-year-old late Saturday as the boy who had been riding on the edge of the road when the pickup, going 45 to 55 miles per hour, hit him from behind.

Only minutes later, Pasco County sheriff's Deputy Peter Normandin pulled over Sean M. Holmes, 25, of 4972 Marlin Drive, after he saw Holmes run a red light with his headlights off. Normandin also saw Holmes weave all over the northbound lanes of U.S. 19 just south of Moog Road.

Holmes failed field sobriety tests and was charged with driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license and violating driver's license restrictions. He remained in central Pasco jail Sunday in lieu of $7,000 bail.

When officers first questioned Holmes about damage to the front of his car, he told them he had hit a dog, according to Blake's father, Michael Flynn. But when authorities retraced Holmes' course, the damage to his 1982 GMC truck matched evidence at the accident scene.

It took about an hour for troopers to backtrack Holmes' path and find the boy's body on U.S. 19.

No other charges have been filed against Holmes, and the investigation is pending.

Through tears, Grace Flynn of Port Richey described her son as an athletic child who was always smiling and good-natured.

"He was what you would call a model son," she said Sunday afternoon.

The blond-haired, blue-eyed Blake was a devoted Tampa Bay Lightning fan and enjoyed hockey and racing. His favorite part of school was physical education, because he could enjoy the outdoors and play sports at the same time.

"He had never been in trouble," Michael Flynn of Largo said, "and I've never seen him unhappy."

Bayonet Point principal Tom Rulison said he found out about the accident Sunday morning.

"I was shocked," Rulison said. "He was a very cute little boy. My heart sure goes out to the family."

Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Dobies Funeral Home in Holiday. The funeral will take place at 1 p.m. Friday at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell.