PORT RICHEY — B.J. Walter, 42, was at home Saturday night when he heard the scream. He said he ran from his house in the Port Richey neighborhood where he saw a boy on the ground and cars slowing, but not stopping.
Though the boy was a neighbor, Walter said he hadn’t seen him before. Still, he said he performed CPR until a trauma nurse took over.
On Sunday, he made a cross, brought a teddy bear and showed up to a candlelight vigil in the same clothes he ran out in on Saturday.
”I’d never done CPR on a kid before,” he said. “I was scared.”
Family members embraced Walter, in tears, and thanked him for jumping in to help. Dozens gathered for the vigil Sunday for a 7-year-old boy who died Saturday evening after he was struck by a motorcyclist who fled the scene.
Shaun Elliott Wyrich, 19, of Port Richey presented himself at the Port Richey Police Department on Sunday and surrendered to Florida Highway Patrol troopers after admitting his involvement, according to authorities. He faces charges of leaving the scene of a crash involving a death and not having a motorcycle endorsement. Authorities recovered the motorcycle at a residence on Fox Hollow Drive, not far from the scene.
The crash occurred just before 9:30 p.m. in Port Richey’s Jasmine Estates neighborhood, near the intersection of Regency Park Boulevard and King Arthur Drive, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The agency’s spokesman, Sgt. Steve Gaskins, confirmed Sunday that the boy had gone out for a walk with his mother and siblings that night to look at the Christmas lights in the neighborhood. The family was heading west as they attempted to cross Regency Park Boulevard at the intersection of King Arthur Boulevard, Gaskins said.
But as the family walked into the roadway, Wyrich was heading northbound on his motorcycle at a “high rate of speed,” Gaskins said. His orange and black Kawasaki Ninja 400 collided with the 7-year-old child in the middle of Regency Park Boulevard. Then, troopers said, Wyrich got back on his bike and fled the scene.
The child was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
The agency did not release the boy’s name due to the department’s interpretation of Marsy’s Law, a voter-approved amendment to Florida’s constitution that’s meant to protect crime victims but deprives the public of information that had long been available under the state’s public records laws.
Shards of plastic that fell off Wyrich’s motorcycle during the collision helped troopers identify the make and model of the motorcycle involved, the agency said.
By Sunday evening, nearby residents and others who heard of the boy’s death placed crosses, flowers and stuffed animals at the site of the crash.