Car hits teen on bike in Port St. Lucie, in critical condition

Teen heading to Port St. Lucie High School

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.- A 16-year-old Port St. Lucie teen is in critical condition after he was struck while riding his bike to school Tuesday morning.

 

Hunter Henry was hit from behind while he was riding with a friend on Tiffany Avenue just before 7 a.m.

 

It's a ride Ciara Cogossi makes twice a day.  1.3 miles from her home, to Port St. Lucie High School.

 

She rides on Tiffany Avenue instead of the busier Walton Road.

 

She deals with traffic all the time.  Tuesday morning was no different.  She was riding with her friend Hunter.

 

 "We heard the vehicle coming.  Didn't think much. They always go around or they'll honk at us and get mad," said Cogossi.

 

But on this morning, there was a collision.

 

Traffic homicide investigators are still looking into this case, but no charges are expected to be filed against the driver, 82-year-old Robert Swenson.

 

"He was not slowing down.  We did not see him from behind and I just looked out of the corner of my eye and I just saw Hunter fly," Cogossi added.

 

The impact sent Hunter Henry onto the roof of the car.  His head struck the windshield.

 

"I started screaming.  I went down next to him.  Saw he was still breathing luckily," Cogossi said.

 

At the point of impact, Cogossi said Henry was riding closer to the center of the road.  According to Florida law you are allowed to ride your bicycle two abreast in the road, if there are no bike lanes or other places to ride.  However, if you are impeding traffic, at the point you have to pull over and ride single file.

 

"Whenever he's next to me and the car passes by and they're mad, I'll yell at him you need to get in front of me or behind me," said Cogossi referring to Henry.

 

Mike Vigilante lives across from the crash scene.  He's always known there was the potential for an accident.

 

"We have to be careful when I go out in the morning, it's still dark and there are no lights on the street, no sidewalks.  So every morning when I get up, I see kids riding their bikes on the road," said Vigilante.

 

But Ciara Cogossi won't be making that ride anymore. Not after what happened Tuesday.  She said she saw Henry in the hospital and he was in a coma at the time.

 

Henry was not wearing a helmet, but under Florida law that is not required once you turn 16.  Bicyclists 15 and under must wear helmets.

 

 

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