The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a driver who ran down a bicyclist and took off. And, deputies are trying to right the wrong by giving the victim a new ride.
John Read had been riding his bike along South Pasadena Avenue. The 65-year-old says a driver about to cross his path saw him because he made eye contact with her, but she plowed him down in her Jeep, hurting him, crushing his bike and leaving him bleeding on the sidewalk.
“She just slams and it hits me, and I go down, and then she hits her gas again and almost goes over me totally. I’m sitting there looking at the underside of this Jeep, maybe that far from the tire. I have a big gash in my leg and it's spurting blood all over the place trying to stop the bleeding,” says Read.
Read is recovering from the rough ride. His bike did not survive the hit-and-run crash. “It was mangled, this way and that way, and the tire was bent over. It was totaled,” says Read.
“He had access to bikes that have been abandoned or something, and he offered to get me this bike,” says Read.
The deputy got Read's new wheels through the Explorer program that takes in lost-and-found bikes left in the sheriff's office evidence for up to 90 days.
“He called me and asked me if I wanted it, and I said, ‘Well, sure. I can't really afford to replace it right now.’ I was very surprised and amazed people still have a little bit of kindness in them,” Read says.
The 65-year-old insurance retiree is on a fixed income and biking is his preferred way to get around.
“I think it's a great way to get where you're going, and it's ecology conscious,” says Read.
He was knocked down, but with help from deputies is back up and pedaling.
“He kind of restores my faith in humanity after that person just ran me over and took off. She's going to be living with this for months and months. Driving around having it on her conscience, saying what if someone sees me turns me in. I think she got the worst of the deal,” Read says.
Read describes the black Jeep as an 80's or 90's model with a winch crank on the front. He tells 10News that it was a woman driving with brown, chin-to-shoulder length hair. He says she did get out for a brief second, then took off when a witness called police.