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16-year-old bicyclist seriously injured in Pinellas County hit-and-run

Posted at 6:36 AM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 17:12:32-05

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Deputies are searching for the driver of a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run that seriously injured a teenage bicyclist Monday evening.

It happened a little before 6 p.m. at County Road 1 and Country Woods Lane in Dunedin.

According to investigators, 16-year-old Ibrahim Paul of Palm Harbor, was crossing County Road 1 on a bicycle eastbound from Country Woods Lane when he was struck by a vehicle.

Witnesses say that vehicle, described as a black Jeep Wrangler with a dark colored soft top, did not stop or take any action to avoid the crash. It's unknown if the driver knew they were involved in a crash.

Deputies say they did not find any car parts on scene and they believe the Jeep may have had large tires.

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Paul was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital via Bayflight with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Deputies say Paul was not wearing a bicycle helmet, there were no lights on the bicycle and he was not in a crosswalk at the time of the crash.

Investigators do not believe speed or impairment were factors in the crash.

Dean Lavas, who works at the Pro Karate Center near the crash site, immediately dashed out to help.

“I heard a big boom," he exclaimed.

Lavas found Paul on the ground and his bike in pieces.

“He wasn’t moving. It was sad. You could tell he got hit pretty hard,” Lavas added.

The parent of one of Lavas’ students, who is also a doctor, jumped in to help.

"Our concern was taking care of the young man and getting an ambulance there quickly. We were surprised that we didn’t see a vehicle at all,” Lavas said.

Detectives say Paul is expected to live. Lavas hopes the driver who hit him follows their conscience.

“Admit to what you did. If you knew it. If you didn’t know it, just come in and be accountable for your actions,” Lavas plead.

If you witnessed Monday’s crash or have any information about the driver, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office wants you to call them immediately at 727-582-6200.