Area man is recovering in hit-and-run accident


Delores Drummer holds back tears as she watches her cousin Noah Bryant cry in a hospital bed at Shands at the University of Florida on Friday. Bryant, of Micanopy, was struck riding his bicycle north of U.S. 441 early Thursday on his way into Gainesville.

(DOUG FINGER/The Gainesville Sun)
Published: Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 1:58 a.m.
Noah Bryant winced, then cried, as he talked about a hit-and-run accident that crushed the lower part of his right leg.
"How can you just hit somebody," and not stop and help, the Micanopy man wondered. "I could have been dead."
Bryant, 47, was left on the side of U.S. 441 in Paynes Prairie after he was hit early Thursday as he was bicycling from Micanopy to Gainesville.
Troopers reported Bryant was not riding on the side of the highway, but bicycling in the left lane when he was hit. He was struck on the right side by a car also in the same lane. He was not wearing a helmet, they said, and was cited for riding in the left lane.
A Gainesville man, who helped Bryant, said he saw the bicyclist cross from the right side of the highway over to the left, apparently heading toward the median. Looking back, he saw another car behind him swerve. Unsure if that driver had avoided the bicyclist, the 35-year-old said Friday that he went back and found the injured Bryant.
Bryant said he saw two cars behind him and had moved close to the edge of the road before the crash. "The next thing I know, I was going in the air," he said.
The accident occurred at about 1:30 a.m., troopers said. Bryant said he was riding into town, where he planned to look for a construction or temp job later in the day.
Bryant had a small reflector on his bike, troopers said. He also said he had a flashlight with him and that he tried to use the lights to flag down help.
The Florida Highway Patrol is searching for the driver who struck Bryant.
The car is described as an older model vehicle, light-colored or white. Troopers believe the car lost a piece of black molding from the front left bumper. The witness said the car may have been an 1980s model vehicle, possibly a Grand Marquis.
FHP Lt. Mike Burroughs said it's likely that the car would be damaged on its front and left side.
Bryant's mother, Alease Cobarris, of Micanopy and his cousin Delores Drummer of Gainesville sat with him at Shands at the University of Florida Friday afternoon. Due to his injuries, his foot had to be amputated, troopers reported. Doctors planned to perform more examinations and tests on Bryant, who was complaining about back pain and in stable condition.
"It don't make no sense how somebody can just come and hit some person," Drummer said. "He could have bled to death."
"He'll make it," she said about her cousin. "It might be a difficult change in his life, but he'll make it."
Troopers are asking that anyone with information about the crash contact investigators or Crime Stoppers at 372-STOP.
The stretch of highway over the prairie is a popular route with bicyclists who use it to reach low-traffic country roads through south Alachua County and northern Marion County. Four cyclists have been killed on the two-mile passage since 1992.
Lise Fisher can be reached at 374-5092 or fisherl@ gvillesun.com.

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