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New Port Richey motorcyclist dies after popping wheelie just before Tampa crash, troopers say

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Published Mar. 21, 2019

TAMPA — A 36-year-old New Port Richey man died Wednesday after he popped a wheelie on his motorcycle and was then cut off by a car, resulting in a crash that threw him from his motorcycle, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The crash took place at about 8:20 p.m. Tristan Velez was riding a 2018 Kawasaki motorcycle north on N Florida Avenue, approaching Celestial Oaks Drive when he elevated the front wheel of the bike and started riding on the back wheel, pointing the headlight skyward, troopers said.

Approaching the motorcycle from the opposite direction was a 2006 Chevy Cobalt driven by 26-year-old Jean Rony Jean Jacques. It was headed south in the inside lane on N Florida Avenue.

The Chevy changed lanes to get into the continuous left hand turn lane, and then turned left — crossing into the motorcycle's path. The Chevy driver did not see Velez's motorcycle, troopers said,

The motorcycle collided with the car and Velez was thrown off the bike and into the car, the Highway Patrol said. He later died from his injuries at AdventHealth Tampa hospital. He was wearing a helmet.

The Chevy driver, who was using his seatbelt, was taken to the same hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

No charges appear to be pending in this case. Alcohol was not a factor in the crash, troopers said. In Florida it is illegal for motorcyclists to operate "with one wheel off the ground at any time," according to state law.

Contact Tony Marrero at or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.