Investigation of Bicyclist's Death May Take Another Month

A traffic homicide investigation into the death of Andres Ortega is due in June but may be earlier.

It could be more than a month before troopers are finished investigating the death of a 43-year-old Land O’ Lakes man who was killed while riding a bicycle near the Suncoast Trail last month.

The Florida Highway Patrol’s deadline for the investigation into the death of Andres Manuel Ortega is June 10, said spokesman Sgt. Steve Gaskins.

Ortega was killed about 6:30 a.m. on March 12 while trying to ride the bicycle across State Road 54 at the Suncoast Trail which runs parallel to the Suncoast Parkway, the highway patrol said in its initial review of the accident.

Ortega has been riding north on the trail and was crossing where the trail intersects State Road 54 when he was hit by a semi-tractor trailer hauling rock, troopers said. He died at the scene.

The intersection has a traffic light.

Investigations of traffic deaths are detailed and take time, Gaskins said.

“It is a very thorough investigation. They interview witnesses and look at everything,” he said.

No charges have been filed and the investigation is considered pending.

The investigation includes blood and toxicology tests. The report could be done earlier and will be reviewed, Gaskins said.

The Tampa Bay Times reported the day after the accident that the truck was driven by 60-year-old Patricia Helen Li of Brooksville.

Investigators said at the time there were trying to determine whether the truck driver had a green light, the paper reported Gaskins as saying.

Terri Dusek May 03, 2012 at 05:07 PM
I made a comment on this story when the accident first occured. There was also an article on the national news regarding bicyclists on our roads. From the bicyclist point of view, they have every right to ride on the road but they are very hard to see sometimes (dusk and dawn especially) and I know that if i hit and killed ANYONE it would be devastating for me for the rest of my life. From recent experiences, these people act if they have the right of way no matter if you see them or not and on one recent occasion (Collier PKY & SR 54) I had a pedestrian just step right out in front of me with the attitude that I had to stop with no guareentee as to whether or not I saw them. I'm thinking that first of all, the bicyclist should be able to ride facing oncoming traffic so at least they can see if there is any potential danger. Second, I feel it should be mandatory for them to wear EXTREMELY bright reflective clothing. They should also be a bit more mindfull of the time of day they are out on main roads. Make no mistake that I agree pedrestrians and bicyclist should have every right to be on the road but they should be mindful of the dangers as well. I don't know all the details of the accident but this could be turned around to the drivers point of view. How do you think she feels knowing that she just happened to be the one at that spot at 6:30 am that morning? It is sad and unfortunate for both sides.
Sherri Lonon May 03, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Very good points, Terri. Thank you for sharing them.


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