NEW RUSSIA TWP., Ohio – Troopers are seeking tips that could help track down the driver in a deadly hit-skip that left a 70-year-old cyclist dead. Investigators said Charles Startup, of Oberlin, was riding his bicycle eastbound on Butternut Ridge Road just before 5 p.m. Saturday when a dark-colored Ford hit him from behind.
Joshua Perry was driving in the opposite direction and witnessed the crash. He said the driver who hit Startup slowed down and started to pull over before speeding away.
“It was just so surreal to see,” Perry said. “He was like a rag doll being thrown through the air.
Perry called 911 and stopped to help.
“There may have been other circumstances involved, but to me it just looked like a horrible, tragic accident, and I don’t know why somebody wouldn't have stopped,” Perry said. “The driver absolutely knew they hit him. They absolutely knew he must've been injured, and I just can’t imagine leaving somebody like that on the side of the road.”
Startup was flown to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Friends and family described Startup as a careful and experienced cyclist. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and typically used mirrors on his bicycle along with a flashing red light, even during daylight hours, friends said.
“It was totally unexpected because he was an experienced biker. He wasn’t someone who took chances,” friend Nick Ivancic said.
Investigators are searching for the driver of the vehicle, which they said is possibly a 2012 Focus model. They asked anyone with information to contact the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Elyria Post at 440-365-5045.
“We just want to know the circumstances that led up to the accident,” Highway Patrol Lt. Carlos Smith said. “We're not placing any blame on either the bicyclist or the motorist. We just want to complete our investigation and bring closure to the family.”