PASCO COUNTY, Fla — The family of a Pasco County man is devastated after he was left for dead after a hit-and-run. They're pleading for the driver involved and witnesses to come forward with information.
Adam Kaplan, an avid cyclist, was doing his normal long-distance early morning bike ride when someone hit him and then left.
It happened around 5 a.m. on Saturday, March 19. Kaplan's sister, Madyson Pate said he was an experienced bicyclist.
“With that experience, he was wearing the appropriate gear,” she said. “So, he had on his biking gear, he had on a helmet, reflective lights that were flashing red. He knew how to keep himself safe and alert other people that he was on the road.”
But even all that caution wasn’t enough to stop a driver from hitting him that morning and leaving him on the side of the road to die.
“It is very hard for us to understand how someone can know that they hit something, I mean I have said, you know, even if they thought they had a deer as opposed to a human, you would still stop to check to see what you hit,” Pate said.
She and the rest of his family have no idea how long Kaplan lay there before someone finally stopped to help.
“They potentially saved his life because if they wouldn’t have stopped and Adam was still laying there he may not have made it,” she said.
But, they also think if the driver who hit him had done the right thing and called for help as soon as it happened, his brain may not have been denied oxygen for as long, which could have made his recovery quicker. His family visits him every day and leans heavily on their faith that he’ll show signs of improvement.
“Most recently I’ve been sharing childhood memories and stories, we believe that he is still in there and so we want to jog that long-term memory and again hope to bring him back that to that conscious state,” Pate said.
They hope the driver will find it in their heart to come forward because they could use all the financial help they can get which may include insurance money.
In the meantime, Pate hopes to push local leaders to extend the bike lane north. Kaplan was in the far right shoulder and was hit just before the bike lane begins, where U.S. 41 and Dale Mabry split. She thinks if there was a bike lane to the north, it would provide more space for bicyclists and possibly prevent this from happening to someone else.
“My brother was, he is a hard-working man like I said he was waking up early in the morning to go for his bike ride, he was still going to work that same night, he worked nights as a truck driver,” Pate said. “He absolutely adored his wife, he adored his son. His son misses him very much.”
FDOT said it's currently in the design phase of resurfacing that area but it could still take a few years and added that the railroad offers challenges but its “team of engineers is exploring opportunities to provide greater accommodations for cyclists.” FDOT also said it will work also with the county on options.
If you saw what happened that morning and maybe know who the driver was please call FHP at *FHP or Crime stoppers at *8477.
The family has started a GoFundMe.