Bradenton man dies in scooter crash, may have been ill

rdymond@bradenton.comJune 27, 2013 

MANATEE -- A 40-year-old man died in a motor scooter accident Thursday afternoon when he fell off his bike in the 2900 block of 26th Street West.

Raymond Russ may have had medical issues prior to the crash, said Cpl. Ron Highsmith of the Florida Highway Patrol.

A witness told FHP the victim was driving a yellow Renegade 50 south on 26th Street West near St. Joseph's Catholic Church and veered slowly off the road, ran into a school crossing sign and fell into the street as his bike continued 50 feet more before stopping.

He was not wearing a helmet, Highsmith said. The victim appeared to die at the accident scene, Highsmith said.

"It definitely had something to do with him physically," said Jonathan Mooney of Bradenton. "They aren't saying, but it had to be a heart attack or he blacked out or fell asleep. There was no other reason to veer. There were no other cars around."

Mooney and his wife, Desiree, were heading north on 26th Street West to a barber shop when they saw the accident.

They immediately stopped their car and ran over to the victim.

"He wasn't conscious," Mooney said. "He had a gash on his chin. His neck started turning purple. It was terrible. I never want to see something like that again."

Sgt. Mike Kenyan, leader of the Manatee County Sheriff Office's day shift traffic unit, stopped to lend Highsmith his crash expertise.

"I see guys tooting around all day on these, but I have enough problems in traffic with my big motorcycle," Kenyan said. "These little scooters can be squirrelly."

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