Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 12, 2020 – A 28-year-old bicyclist died in a hit-and-run accident with a pickup truck on a major Tampa roadway. The Florida Highway Patrol charged the truck driver with leaving the scene of a fatal accident and destruction of evidence.
Jacob Weinert was traveling southbound along U.S. 301 on his bicycle when he was fatally struck from behind by a two-door pickup truck. The crash occurred early morning near the Sligh Avenue intersection. Weinert was on his way to a warehouse where he worked as a forklift operator.
Police identified Steven Duane Baker, 61, as the truck driver. More than 24 hours after the crash, Baker called the Florida Highway Patrol and said he had hit “something” at the location of the hit-and-run accident that killed Weinert. He claimed he did not know what he had struck.
“If the driver had stopped after the accident and called for help, the victim may have had a chance to survive,” commented Robert Joyce, a Tampa personal injury attorney with Joyce & Reyes, who was not involved with the case. “Instead, the driver is now facing a felony charge that carries a potentially lengthy prison sentence, and the bicyclist’s family is left dealing with a tragic loss.”
Baker was arrested at his home within hours of calling the authorities and taken to Orient Road Jail. Investigators found that the front of his 2003 Dodge pickup truck was damaged. Baker later admitted to spray-painting the white vehicle.
Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins said Baker’s claim that he was unaware of what he struck “defies logic” due to the damage his truck sustained in the collision. Authorities released surveillance video from near the accident location. They also made public an image of Weinert’s bicycle that showed it had a front light but no rear light. The pedals had yellow reflectors.
Weinert had been planning to move his fiancée and two young children to Tampa from Illinois. His family expressed frustration at the driver’s failure to stop after the collision.
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
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