ST. PETERSBURG — Bicyclist Steven Weldon extended his arms out in annoyance — the universal sign for “what are you doing?” — when he saw a vehicle drive through the flashing lights of the bike crossing as he pedaled toward 49th Street S on Nov. 1.
“The vehicle in the far lane was just speeding up," he said. "I was like ‘Oh, so you’re not even going to stop?’”
He wasn’t watching the white sedan in the inside lane, though, and that turned out to be his real problem.
The sedan also kept going and crashed into Weldon. The impact sent the 42-year-old — arms still raised — tumbling over the hood and roof while crushing his bike.
“Once the other car blew by him, he just hit the gas and didn’t even pay attention to the flashing yellow lights and he just hit me,” Weldon said.
Now St. Petersburg police are looking for the driver of the car that hit Weldon in the area of 666 49th Street S.
The unidentified driver stopped and helped pull an injured Weldon off the roadway. He also moved the bike out of the road.
There’s a reason for that, police said: The driver got back into his car and drove off. Now it’s being investigated a case of hit-and-run.
“He stopped and helped me out of the road,” Weldon said. “But it never crossed my mind that he was getting ready to leave, too.”
The incident took place in the morning, Weldon said, while he was biking along the Pinellas Trail to his job as a cook at Dead Bob’s, 6717 Central Ave. N. Now he has a broken left wrist in a cast, a fractured right wrist in a brace and a severely sprained left ankle that are keeping him from returning to work.
He expects he’ll be out of work for six to eight weeks. He doesn’t know how he’ll provide for his 7-year-old daughter Holiday, who he said is autistic. He’s figuring out how to set up a GoFundMe page.
Drivers are pretty good about obeying the flashing lights at that crossing, he said.
“I have never had a close encounter like that at all,” he said. "Usually everyone abides by the rules. I hit the flashing lights and everyone stops. This day was just something different.”
Anyone with information about this incident or the driver of the white sedan is asked to call St. Petersburg police at (727) 893-7780.