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Pedestrain trying to cross U.S. 19 is struck, badly hurt

Traffic yielded to him, but then one car used a turn lane to pass, police say.

A man was seriously injured Wednesday when he was struck by a car as he crossed U.S. 19, Clearwater police reported.

The man, whose identity police didn't release Wednesday evening, crossed U.S. 19 from west to east about one block south of Enterprise Road about 5:18 p.m., said Clearwater police Sgt. Robert Wierzba.

Traffic was heavy and cars in the northbound lanes stopped to let the man cross. But the driver of a 1984 Thunderbird used a turn lane as a passing lane and struck the pedestrian, Wierzba said.

The pedestrian was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in serious condition, Wierzba said. His shoes and jeans remained in the middle of the road after a Bayflite helicopter took him from the scene.

The impact cracked the Thunderbird's windshield. Police didn't release the driver's name Wednesday evening.

Clearwater resident Mark Sturm was walking to his car at the nearby Cypress Point shopping center when he heard what he said sounded like two cars crashing. He walked out to the pedestrian and called 911 on his cellular phone.

"I just heard a thump. Then I went out and he was breathing and conscious," Sturm said.

"I hope he's going to be all right," Sturm added.

Police drew blood from the Thunderbird driver to test for alcohol, but Wierzba said it did not appear that alcohol or drugs was a factor in the crash.

He said both the driver and the pedestrian face citations.

"There will be citations," he said. "Both the pedestrian and the driver were at fault."

The crash backed up traffic on northbound U.S. 19 to Sunset Point Road. Police detoured traffic through the Cypress Point shopping center around the crash scene as officers investigated.

Police opened one lane of northbound U.S. 19 about 6:25 p.m.