Man on mountain bike near UT injured in hit-and-run accident

By Times Staff Writer
Published March 25, 2006

TAMPA - Matthew Haggerty played a pickup soccer game Friday and began his ride home on his red Trek mountain bike. Southbound on North Boulevard, near the University of Tampa, a car hit him from behind and fled.

The bluish-green Toyota left behind one of its silver hubcaps - and Haggerty lying on the road - before it disappeared past Kennedy Boulevard after witnesses said the driver ran a red light.

Haggerty, 30, was the victim of a hit and run, said Tampa police, who searched for the driver Friday. Haggerty, who was not wearing a bike helmet, suffered minor bruises and a gash to his left arm that may require stitches.

But he said he felt okay otherwise and declined an ambulance ride to a hospital. He said he did not get a good look at the driver.

The accident took place outside the Bob Martinez Sports Center near a student crosswalk clearly marked by a neon yellow street sign that calls for drivers to yield to pedestrians under state law.

Tampa Master Patrol Officer Edward Bowen said most drive slowly and watch for bikes and students in the area, but that car seemed in a hurry. The driver, heading south on N Boulevard, illegally went around a car in its way before striking Haggerty.

If found, the driver will face the charge of leaving the scene of an accident, Bowen said.