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Killed in traffic accident, Manatee man, 23, never got chance to finish ‘checklist’

MANATEE — The checklist he created was simple and succinct:

n Start school in August.

n Earn a business degree.

n Open “Dean’s Marine” and offer charter fishing and diving trips.

Jason Lloyd Dean, 23, had big plans and even wrote them down on a piece of paper and framed it as a reminder to make sure they happened.

But those dreams were extinguished this past weekend when the 23-year-old Bradenton resident’s life was tragically cut short in a two-vehicle crash just blocks from his home.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers say that at about 11 p.m. Friday, Dean was struck and killed as he rode his 2009 Yamaha motorcycle into the intersection of 18th Avenue West and 51st Street West. Dean’s family says the vehicle was a mo-ped, not a motorcycle.

According to an FHP report, Dean, who lived on 18th Avenue West, pulled into the path of a 2007 GMC pickup truck after failing to stop at a stop sign at 51st Street West.

The driver of the truck, Nicholas W. Dominis, 24, of Bradenton, and his passenger Samantha Klepek, 21, of Bradenton, were not injured, troopers say.

During the crash, Dean was thrown from his mo-ped. He wasn’t wearing a helmet, according to the FHP report.

He was taken to Blake Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at about 11:30 p.m., said FHP Lt. Chris Miller.

“It’s just horrible,” his stepmother, Susan Dean, said Monday. “He lived on that road ... traveled that road everyday. I can’t believe he’d run a stop sign.”

Although Dean purchased his mo-ped in May, it was not the first time he had driven one.

“He had one before that, so it’s not like he hadn’t driven one,” his stepmother said.

His roommate, Christine Stumpf, 40, said she was home sleeping when the crash took place just a few blocks from their house.

She didn’t hear a thing.

A 1:40 a.m., a phone call from Dean’s stepmother woke her with the bad news.

“She was hysterical. I just said, ‘No, he’s not, he’s here,’ ” Stumpf said. “But I got up and started looking through the house and he was gone.”

Stumpf described Dean, who she had known his entire life, as a loving person. He recently joined Harvest Chapel church in Bradenton.

“He loved going. He was always willing to help out,” she said. “He had a great spirit.”

His neighbor, John King, 50, said he and Dean were fishing buddies.

“He liked the water,” King said. “He was just a very outgoing kid, just starting out.”

Born and raised in Bradenton, Dean loved motocross, boat racing, fishing and tennis.

At his grandmother’s Bradenton home, where he was raised, his grandmother, Judy Leetzow, and his father, William J. Dean, glanced through photos of him Monday.

“He was basically part of his uncle’s boat racing team,” Leetzow said. “Traveled all over — Key West, the Bahamas ... Europe.”

Ironically, his uncle, Jeff Dean, died in a traffic accident in 2003.

As they prepared for his funeral scheduled for Wednesday, family members looked over his framed checklist with his plans to start school and open Dean’s Marine.

“He wanted to do a charter out of it for divers and sell boats ... the whole nine yards,” his stepmother said. “He was a beautiful boy with an infectious smile, He was outgoing and loved life and never took anything too seriously.”

Dean leaves behind other family, including his mother, Rosa Farmer, and grandfather, Larry Leetzow. In addition: his mixed golden retriever, Leo, and his tabby cat, Orangey.

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