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Cyclist Struck, Killed on Elwood Road

Man pronounced dead at the hospital after being struck by a pickup truck Tuesday night.

Suffolk County Police Second Squad detectives are investigating a motor vehicle crash that killed a bicyclist around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday night.

Buenaventura Sorto Vasquez was riding his bicycle on the shoulder heading north on Elwood Road when he entered the roadway and was struck by a 1995 Dodge pickup truck, driven by Eric Schmidt, at the intersection with Rocco Drive. The Dodge then struck a pole.

Vasquez, 54, was transported to Huntington Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. Schmidt, 19, of Northport, was not injured in the crash.

East Northport Fire and Rescue also responded to the scene.

The vehicle was impounded for a safety check. Anyone with information is asked to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252.

Leah Bush (Editor) December 14, 2011 at 06:20 PM
What a tragedy. Did anyone see this happen?
Jason Goldberg December 14, 2011 at 06:56 PM
I was unfortunate enough to see the immediate aftermath on my way from work last night. The cops got there about 8 seconds after I passed the scene..
Dan Ciccone December 15, 2011 at 04:09 PM
It is a tragedy and very sad. I am a cyclist and am amazed by how cyclists are under the radar of so many drivers on the road… It has become a dangerous activity to say the least. With that said, cycling at night, after sunset, is a tragedy waiting to happen, and it unfortunately happened last night. Prayers to all involved. Please cycle safe, and drivers please be aware that you are sharing the road with cyclists.
Tyson December 15, 2011 at 05:38 PM
It is very sad, most of these workers don't have cars or driver's licenses to get to work everyday, on the other hand, the last thing you are looking for in the dark is a man on a bicycle, especially on elwood road. I drive many times at night and out of the dark comes a bicycle with no lights or warning and I have been lucky in the past I did't hit one of these people.During the day is one thing but Long Island isn't set up for bicycle riding at night, the streets are too dark. Maybe a better public bus system would be good, I feel bad for these hard working people who are just trying to put food on their table for their familes.
Donna Prianti Lupia December 18, 2011 at 01:38 PM
I have to agree with Tyson. These are not country roads and most roads do not have a wide shoulder or bike lane. I know the law requires bicyclists to ride with traffic but wouldn't it be better to have them ride against traffic? At least they can see someone coming at them. It is dangerous to even walk on the side of the road. If the sun or oncoming headlights are in the drivers eyes, they just can't see very well. I have seen groups of cyclists riding side by side 2 or 3 deep without regard to traffic. This makes me a nervous wreck because I'm afraid to pass them. If we are to safely share roads with bicyclists then either roads need to be widened, they need to be required to wear reflective clothing or be permitted to ride on sidewalks or ride against traffic or all of the above.
Kathy December 18, 2011 at 02:09 PM
Why riding against traffic is more dangerous. 1. Motor vehicle drivers while pulling out of a side road will be looking for cars traveling with traffic and should also spot the cyclist. These drivers are less likely to spot a cyclist coming from the wrong direction 2. If a car is traveling at 30 mph and a bicyclist is traveling at 10 mph the closing speed of a cyclist traveling with traffic is 20 mph, if the cyclist is traveling against traffic the closing speed is 40 mph. Less time to react and a more deadly impact . 3 If hit by a motor vehicle the impact is much greater when hit head on as opposed to being hit from behind.
Dan Ciccone December 18, 2011 at 03:20 PM
Cyclists, while they should be respectful to the flow of traffic to the best of their ability, have every right to be on the road. I am little taken back by any driver that believes that motor vehicles are entitled or have more of a right to be on a road than someone on a bicycle. It is prudent for runners to go against traffic, not cycles (for reasonss stated above and probably a few more)... It is good practice to wear bright clothing and, of course, wear helmets.... It is also good practice for drivers to realize that they share the road and that they need to keep their eyes open. As someone who puts 80 - 120 miles per week (spring throug early fall) on a bike, I can tell you that many drivers refuse to yield to a cyclist and will run you off a road before giving a cyclist the right-of-way... That said, I am not saying this was the situation in this particular sad story, just that it is common.
FYI December 20, 2011 at 01:26 AM
It's extremely rare to see a bicyclist who has proper lights on their bike for night riding. I believe it's also now the law so perhaps a stepped up enforcement of bicyclists and drivers who fail to yield is in order.
Colleen McManus December 21, 2011 at 03:37 AM
Our prayers are with both the Schmidt and Vasquez family. What a terrible accident. We know the Schmidt family are thoughtful, kind, and considerate people especially Eric who looks out for his younger siblings. As an advid cyclist there are many rules to follow and to be cautious about. One of the most important is being seen which cannot happen at 5:45 during daylight savings. NO MATTER WHAT. You cannot ride a bike at elwood road at night ever. You need proper equitment, and refelctive gear. Accidents happen and this was the worst of an accident that can happen. God bless the Schmidt and Vasquez family.

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