A Lake Wales bicyclist was struck by two cars from behind and killed on an unlighted street before daylight.
The Polk County Sheriff’s office reports that deputies responded to a crash on North Galloway Road in Lakeland, involving two vehicles and a bicycle Tuesday morning, July 16, 2019. The crash occurred around 5:23 a.m., when the bicyclist was struck by the two vehicles.
The bicyclist, 35-year-old Mitchell Johnson of Lake Wales, is the latest casualty in the number one state in the country for bicyclist deaths. Johnson suffered head trauma from the crash, and was transported to Lakeland Regional Health. He passed away shortly after arriving.
The two drivers involved in the crash were 24-year-old Hilda Sanchez-Matos of Lakeland, who was driving a black 2008 Lincoln MKZ, and 47-year-old Eric Partlow of Lakeland, who was driving a gray 2005 GMC Envoy. Neither driver was injured.
According to the preliminary investigation, Johnson was riding his bike on the far right of the northbound lane of Galloway Road near Apollo Court, when he was struck from the rear by the Lincoln driven by Ms. Sanchez-Matos.
Johnson was ejected from the bike, rolled across the hood of the Lincoln, and fell into the southbound lane of Galloway Road. Mr. Partlow’s Envoy was travelling south on Galloway Road at the time and struck Mr. Johnson.
Neither driver showed any signs of impairment. Speed nor driver distraction are believed to be a factors in the crash, but the investigation is ongoing.
The area of the road has no street lighting. Mr. Johnson was wearing dark clothing and had no lighting on his bicycle.
The death rate among Florida bicyclists age 20 and older have tripled since 1975, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.