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Teen in fair condition after being hit by squad car

A girl is in the hospital after being hit by a sheriff's detective's car while riding her bike. Witnesses say she swerved into traffic.

By LEON M. TUCKER

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 22, 2000


LARGO -- A Pinellas Park High School student remained in fair condition at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg Thursday after being struck by a Pinellas County Sheriff detective's car.

At 1:22 p.m. Wednesday, Charlotte Bupp, 14, of 6063 136th Ter. N in Clearwater, was traveling east on her bicycle along the right shoulder of Ulmerton Road. Just as she rode past 60th Street, police say, she made a sudden left turn into the stream of traffic.

Witnesses say one car swerved and missed the girl, but Charlotte was hit by Detective Lawrence McLean, who was driving east at about 40 mph.

The impact tossed Charlotte up onto the hood and windshield of the car. She then was thrown onto the street, where she remained until she was flown to the hospital.

Charlotte, who was wearing a helmet , suffered a broken arm, scrapes and bruises.

"She was seen by witnesses darting in and out of traffic before Detective McLean made contact with her," said Greg Tita, sheriff's spokesman. He said an investigation is continuing.

McLean declined to comment about the accident pending the outcome of the investigation.

In 1997, the most recent year statistics were available, seven bicyclists were killed on roads in Pinellas County, and there were 539 bicycle injuries. That year, Florida led the nation with 114 bicycle fatalities, according to the state Department of Transportation.

A May 1997 study by two public-interest groups in Washington, D.C., found the Tampa Bay area is the most dangerous metropolitan area in the nation in which to ride a bicycle.

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