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Teen driver cited in cyclist's death

Published Oct. 1, 2005

Each night in their sleep, Amir L. Fouad and his younger sister relive a nightmare that happened on their way to Lakewood High School on Wednesday.

Amir, 16, told police the blinding sun that morning kept him from seeing Fred Rosenberg, 85, who was riding his bicycle east in the 3200 block of Pinellas Point Drive S. The Toyota that Amir was driving struck Rosenberg from behind at 7:25 a.m. and Rosenberg died later at Bayfront Medical Center.

For Amir, the nightmare became more horrifying Friday morning when St. Petersburg police homicide investigator Pete Foreman delivered paperwork citing him for careless driving.

"The bike was in the road, but there was still room for the guy to get over," said Officer Lilla Davis, a police spokeswoman, adding that Amir was driving the speed limit.

Amir, of 7432 Sunshine Skyway Lane S, will be required to appear in court, and his family has hired an attorney.

Amir's father, Lotfi Lotfi, said Friday that his son has trouble talking about the accident and has seen a counselor. His 15-year-old daughter, Yasmine, is still upset.

He described his son as an honors student who attends church every Sunday and has made few friends since the family moved to St. Petersburg from Cairo last year.

"If my daughter couldn't see him, then my son couldn't see him," he said. "It was an act of God. It could have happened to a grown-up."

Rosenberg, 85, learned to bicycle 10 years ago and immediately incorporated pedaling into his rigorous exercise regimen that began at 4 a.m. and included 3 miles running or walking and 15 miles riding his bicycle.

Rosenberg, who lived across the hall from his younger son at Sky Harbour condominiums, did not wear a helmet. But he was no stranger to accidents: Just last week, a woman pulled out of a parking space at his building and hit him.

Several years ago, a car knocked him off his bicycle. Rosenberg's son, Calvin, said Friday that his father was careful to ride as close as possible to the side of the road and was leery of drivers.

"We make mistakes _ all of us _ from time to time," Calvin Rosenberg said. "Sometimes those mistakes are tragic. We would not bear him ill will if it was an honest mistake."