LARGO — Sydney Pender, 27, loved riding her motorcycle, even though she knew the dangers. Three years ago, her friend said, a delivery truck hit her. But she kept riding. On Thanksgiving, it was a crash with a taxi cab that killed her.
Pender, a St. Petersburg native and Gibbs High School graduate, was riding a 2012 Yamaha motorcycle southbound on 66th Street about 10:30 a.m., according to a Largo Police Department release.
At the same time, Gregory Church, 51, was driving a 2006 Ford taxi cab northbound and tried to turn left onto 142nd Avenue. Pender struck Church’s car, according to police, and died at the scene from the injuries.
Neither Pender nor Church appeared to be influenced by alcohol, officers reported. Largo police are still investigating the collision.
Pender was riding home from a new boyfriend’s house, said her friend Maggie Cleary, 27. She and Pender’s family were supposed to meet him for Thanksgiving dinner later.
Cleary said she and Pender were "sandbox buddies," who knew each other since they were 4 years old. She said Pender had just gotten a tattoo of a shovel to mark their friendship, and Cleary was about to get a corresponding sandbox tattoo.
She said Pender was a science fiction fan and hardcore gamer, who "could out-game any dude on a PS4."
And though she had been hurt in a crash on her motorcycle before, it didn’t deter her.
"She’s one .?.?. tough cookie," Cleary said.
Pender worked as a server at the Conch Grill & Raw Bar in North Redington Beach, according to her Facebook page.
Contact Langston Taylor at [email protected] or (727) 893-8659.