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Pasco motorcyclist: ‘I couldn’t live with myself knowing what I had done’

Shaun Elliott Wyrich, 19, told investigators he “got scared” and fled after hitting a 7-year-old boy who crossed the street while looking at Christmas lights.
Shaun Elliott Wyrich, 19.
Shaun Elliott Wyrich, 19. [ Pinellas County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Dec. 7, 2020
Updated Dec. 7, 2020

PORT RICHEY — His first instinct was to flee — and fast.

Shaun Elliott Wyrich, 19, knew he wasn’t licensed to legally drive a motorcycle Saturday night, let alone race down residential streets at a dangerous speed in the Port Richey neighborhood where he shared a house with a handful of roommates. And when he crashed into a boy who was out looking at Christmas lights with his family, Wyrich told investigators he “got scared and just decided to leave.”

In the 24 hours that followed, as news broke that 7-year-old Marquel Anthony McClendon had died, Wyrich told investigators his guilt finally got the better of him.

“I couldn’t live with myself knowing what I had done,” he said in a post-Miranda interview Sunday afternoon after walking into the Port Richey Police Department and surrendering to Florida Highway Patrol troopers.

According to newly released court documents, Wyrich faces a felony charge of failing to stop/remain at a crash involving death and a misdemeanor charge of operating a motorcycle without a license.

Wyrich, whose family home is in Tarpon Springs, was released from the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center Monday after posting $20,500 bail. In an arrest report, investigators detailed their attempts to locate him after the crash.

Marquel McClendon, who would have turned 8 on Dec. 20, wanted to go for a walk with his mother and siblings to look at the Christmas lights in their neighborhood, troopers said. The boy and his family were heading west as they attempted to cross Regency Park Boulevard at the intersection of King Arthur Boulevard at about 9:20 p.m.

According to the documents, Wyrich was heading northbound on his 2019 Kawasaki EX400 motorcycle at a “high rate of speed” and crashed into the child in the middle of Regency Park Boulevard. After, Wyrich got back on his bike and fled, leaving the screaming boy and his family behind.

Related: Port Richey motorcyclist turns himself in after hit-and-run crash kills Pasco boy, 7

According to the report, multiple residents in the neighborhood provided home security camera footage of the crash to investigators. Shards of plastic that fell off Wyrich’s motorcycle also helped troopers identify the make and model of the motorcycle involved, giving the agency enough clues to issue a “Be On The Lookout” report to the public for the wanted driver.

Tom and Lisa Zieger visit the site where a candlelight vigil was held by family and friends after the loss of a 7-year-old that was struck and killed by a motorcycle leaving a community in shock on Sunday in Port Richey. Lisa brought a teddy bear to leave at the memorial site as they live one street down from the family.
Tom and Lisa Zieger visit the site where a candlelight vigil was held by family and friends after the loss of a 7-year-old that was struck and killed by a motorcycle leaving a community in shock on Sunday in Port Richey. Lisa brought a teddy bear to leave at the memorial site as they live one street down from the family. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

By about noon Sunday, Wyrich turned himself in to authorities and admitted to willfully leaving the scene of the crash. Wyrich told investigators he managed to flee by continuing to drive north on Regency Park Boulevard, then pushing his motorcycle westbound on Castanea Drive, turning on to Palm Avenue and going back north to his home on Fox Hollow Boulevard.

There, he hid the broken bike inside his house, the report said. Wyrich showed investigators where it was after his interview Sunday, and after documenting the damage to the bike, he was placed under arrest.

Residents and family members gathered in the neighborhood intersection Sunday to hold a candlelight vigil for Marquel McClendon, leaving handmade crosses and teddy bears at the scene.

Friends of the family have created a Go Fund Me page to help cover funeral costs. By Monday afternoon, the online fundraiser had collected $6,580.

According to court records, Wyrich was arrested in May by Tarpon Springs Police on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge. He was released on his own recognizance.