BRADENTON -- A 41-year-old Bradenton man pedaling a small BMX-type bicycle died Monday afternoon shortly after he was hit by a car in the northbound lanes of First Street East at 10th Avenue.
Grieving family members who rushed to the crash scene said the victim was Brandt "Jepp" Fergerson, but the Bradenton Police Department Monday night was still in the process of notifying relatives and could only confirm the crash victim had died, Capt. Warren Merriman III said.
Shortly after 4 p.m., Fergerson and his brother, Abram Byrd, both riding bicycles, attempted to cross First Street from the east side to the west side.
The men were headed to Byrd's home in City Walk, Byrd said.
They were crossing at 10th Avenue East, which does not have a signal.
"All the traffic was stopped at a red light," said Byrd his voice cracking. "Jepp looked back to see if I was OK. That's when it happened."
A Chevrolet four-door sedan in the turn lane for Manatee Avenue West struck Fergerson, Byrd said. Police later interviewed the driver of the Chevrolet but have not said whether there will be any charges related to the accident.
Chad Davis, a Manatee County resident, was stopped for the red light in his car and saw the tragedy enfold before him.
"My brain screamed out, 'Stop! Stop! Don't go' because I saw the car coming up," Davis said.
"I saw him impact the car and I saw him fly high up and land. It was tragic. I will never forget his face as he was crossing the street. He had a smile on his face. He looked happy."
Michelle Dawes, a resident of 11th Street East, said city officials need to do something to discourage people from crossing First Street East in the middle of the street.
"I keep telling people they need to go to the light to cross," Dawes said. "First Street East ain't nothing to play with."